Upon a tip, I checked out the band’s debut available for free download at their site and found it an ambitious progressive minded piece of heavy metal, that was overreaching in ambition yet showed great promise. I expressed interest, and hence the present promo’s review. Whereas the first album was a concept album based entirely on Dracula, the second has the slightly looser theme of sin, as exemplified by some very famous figures in history (mythological and real). In fact, each song is named after and about one , running the gambit from De Sade (the opener) to Midas, Nebuchadnezzar and Tomas. Between the seven chosen ancient subjects, a wide range of emotions is covered (the seven deadly sins to be exact). Interestingly the band has undergone a number of line-up and sonic changes. Gone are the occasional female vocals which were vital to “Dracula….” and some of the more typical prog metal flourishes. Instead of going further with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, the band has chosen to focus on some aspects of their sound. It becomes apparent from the rocking opener that these chosen elements include first most a basic groove-metal foundation, and a new found ability to let riffs breathe, giving some of the material a near stoner vibe. This basis is augmented with sections of more typical hard rock / metal as well as overtly alternative / progressive rock clean sections.
The mishmash of these selected styles works well in most places, especially with vocalist Marco mostly using the mid-ranged rough semi clean sounding voice so often used by the stoner hordes. There are sections that bring to mind bands like Soil or even BLS, but the unique compositional style and the prog-rock flurries keep this unique. The clean vocals used with the more melodic sections in almost all the songs are more of an acquired taste (coming close to being alterna-metal) but grow on repeated listens. But its the firm, thumping bottom ended groove with the whiskey-cigars vocals that carry you through the many twists and turns, not to mention the lyrics and concept. Very occasionally technical chops are displayed, but the tendency to wank is restrained by a need to rock out. The more cleaner parts have strange melodies, that are normally not heard in this kind of metal and would be more at home on a Gentle Giant record. Maybe as a counter, the band increases the brutality factor of the guitars and drums in a few places, with some quite tasty growls.
In the end, the record leaves you satisfied yet strangely more interested in the band’s future. Will they add some baggage, or shed more weight ? Will they ever get another female vocalist ? What’s the next concept going to be ?
1. De Sade