Written By: Jason Coldiron
Label: E1 – Rating:
Track 1: “The Scythe” – The album begins with “The scythe.” It starts with an explosion of drums and guitars and takes off from there. A scream and guitar transition lead into the first verse. The growling commences and the song is off. The chorus brings some solid vocal work. “Reap what you sew, and come back to life.” Smooth, powerful, moving. This gives a good taste of what’s to come.
Track 2: “This Continuum” – A solid and powerful drum beat gets this song kick- started. It brings much more storytelling than I may have expected, but there’s still plenty of screaming to go around. Through two songs I’m really feeling a Slipknot/Godsmack feel to the vocals and guitars.
Track 3: “Tombs” – Begins with some ‘twisty’ guitars, leading into a solid riff with backing drums and bass. An evil, spoken word vocal track leads into the verse. Moving slower than the first two songs, this one is showing some of the band’s versatility. It gets me wondering what to expect from the rest of the album; more over the top metal or more balance? Can’t wait to find out.
Track 4: “The Blinding Light” – The lead in sound, which continues into the verse… I really can’t tell if it’s a guitar, keyboards, or some kind of synthesizer. In any event, it suits the song well. The song is well- paced, speeding and slowing in good time. This is a very moody piece that is more powerful in capturing the imagination than in actual execution. The screaming vocal of, “the blinding light” is the highlight. It’s a little piece that sticks with me long after the song is over. The guitar run at the end is a pleasant surprise.
Track 5: “Widowed” – This is the perfect song at the perfect time on this album. Moody, atmospheric, imaginative. Building in tension and amplitude. It goes a solid two minutes before any vocals come in, which had me thinking it was going to be a fully instrumental piece. When the vocals do come in, they are suited to the music perfectly. The pace picks up a bit, then slows and returns. This has to be my favorite track on the album.
Track 6: “Headed South” – Getting back to basics, the song takes off with machine- gun guitars and drums. Once again, the pace shifts a bit, ups and downs. Not really sure what to make of it, what direction it’s going. The parts that rock REALLY rock, the slower parts aren’t as coherent. That said, it still rocks hard and still keeps my attention. Around the midpoint of the song we get an outstanding guitar solo, followed two minutes later by probably the best guitar solo on the album. In my opinion, this is the best guitar work on the album.
Track 7: “Serpent Noose” – The highlight here is the harmonizing and melody. The pairing of the vocals and guitars together is seamless and smooth. The guitar solo is powerful without being intrusive. All the elements work in blending together.
Track 8: “Ouroborus Rising” – “Somewhere between love and sorrow there’s an ocean of lies. You and I may not see tomorrow, but we will never die.” The lyrics are fitting and at their best in this song. The vocals back them up and it is the lyrics that make this song great.
Track 9: “Skeleton Vanguard” – This song rocks, but it may get a bit lost. I’m not sure what was trying to be accomplished here. As it goes on though, it grows on me. The guitars start to get stuck in my head and the vocal progression is pretty strong. The big (and loud) finish makes the song worthwhile.
Track 10: “Pyre and Procession” – This has a ‘fight song’ feel to it. Bold and aggressive, rocking out. Good stuff here.
Track 11: “Black Vatican” – This is what I have been waiting for. Quick start with the drums. Smart and complicated guitars that chop and power through. Vocals that grab you and scream at you. It all comes together in this song as it kicks you in the balls and offers you seconds. Another ripping solo won’t let me turn away. It is a perfect set- up for the album’s big finish.
Track 12: “Burial at Sea” – Tension is built for the finale with a slow moving guitar opening. It builds and builds. The vocals come in and lead the guitars through their twists and turns. The final touches are put on the album before the guitars gradually fade out. “Burial at sea” is a fitting closer for this album.
All in all, this is a solid metal album. The vocals sound just familiar enough to draw me in and just original enough to keep me tuned in. The guitar work is versatile; simple and powerful at times, slower and more complicated at others. The drum and bass tracks are fitting and suit the music well. If I had one critique of the album I would say that some of the songs start to sound the same as they go on. That said, the album still rocks start to finish.
I give the album a three gun salute.
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