It’s releases like this that make me glad I took up a position here. That little fuzzy feeling you get when you might be amongst ‘the first’ to make a discovery that, given time, may well develop into a fully fledged and welcome addition to the music scene; that ten years from now this demo might be sought out as a collectors item for some fanatic to proudly display on their shelf. Despite the folk-sounding name – I blame that umlaut – much of this can be said to fall squarely into the ‘Progressive Metal’ category, with all the catchy chorus lines and neo-classical speed of Power Metal and maybe just a dash of folk; somewhere between the tried and tested “Dream Theater,” framework with a dollop “Rhapsody” and a dash of “Equilibrium” thrown in for good measure.
But first let me talk about the elephant in the room. No it’s not that they’ve misspelt “Requiem” in the title track, it’s the vocals. For an artist with any semblance of power metal in their sound the vocals will always carry a greater burden than in many other forms of metal, and a lack of vocal power can severely hamper an artists performance, but sadly in this case the issue doesn’t just end there. All too often he comes across flat, even off-key during certain passages, reaching it’s problematic peak when he hits the higher notes in the aforementioned title track, stretching his vocal range beyond the point of comfort and leading to an at times cringe-worthy performance. As the demo progresses the issue does become less noticeable (the deeper tone of the slower passages in the final track showing him at his best), but never to the point of failing to give the tracks a disappointing amateurish gloss.
And it is genuinely a disappointing result from an album that otherwise manages to impress on a number of levels; there’s enough speed and energy to the performances, quick bursts of guitar fire amidst a myriad of other folk influences and a varying tone and pace that lend flavour to the proceedings, no two tracks sounding quite alike. The fact is, they’ve succeeded where many established bands stumble; in not only creating a sound of their own but in varying themselves within that; in displaying impressive compositional harmonies between the different instruments without sounding overly complex. There is still room for improvement, certainly; the folk elements could be more consistent throughout the tracks and the guitar solo’s focussed less on neo-classical speed and more on their composition, but there is also the potential here for something genuinely incredible, and that’s always exciting.
Highlight: Song for the Lost
About the Author
Position: Reviewer, Ranter, Reluctant Co-Editor
Location: London, England
Genre Preferences: Progressive, Avant-Garde, Experimental, Technical, Djent, Trad, Black
Favourite Artists: Adagio, Anthem, Baroness, Chthonic, Death Angel, Decadence, Fjoergyn, Gargoyle (Jpn), Haken, Kalevala, Leprous, Lucifugum, Pin-Up Went Down, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, Project Hate MCMXCIX, Redemption, Sigh, Sikth, Tesseract, Thy Catafalque, Von Hertzen Brothers, Zigoku Quartet
Having held an internet presence using this alias for over a decade now, odds are if you've come across the name in the past it was myself. As for my musical history I suppose it's appropriate to say I arrived on my obsession backwards, for years holding little more than disdain and derision for a genre so seemingly obsessed with pointless brutality over composition; the likes of Deftones, Korn and Slipknot that serves as an introduction for so many flooding my musical palette, deterring my interests and yielding my only interpretation of what the genre involved. Ironically, it was Cannibal Corpse's “Vile” that first corrected me; played at high volume at a youth club by an elder metal fan angrily pushing the bleeding ears of the Green Day fans away from the stereo. I left that day clutching borrowed copies of Children of Bodom's “Hatebreeder,” the aforementioned Cannibal Corpse album, Metallica's “Cunning Stunts” on VHS and a whole new musical interest.
Arriving at a number of forums, I soaked up knowledge like a sponge, progressing through the stages of opinionated idiot to an arrogant elitist on a crusade before finally calming down, chronicling the last four years of my journey of discovery with self-published reviews. In the decade since my initial discovery, my tastes have mellowed and expanded to encompass most of the metal genre and beyond, constantly in search of something new and exciting, always seeking to expand my own musical knowledge. Black Metal with a Didgeridoo? Death Metal Disco? Trance Metal? Sign me up. I also have a strange obsession regarding the music of Asia, but I can't explain that one.
I have long since devoted far too much of my time writing - much to the amusement of my family who note the science-obsessed child now does far more writing than the English Lit. student - and have been self-publishing reviews since 2008; archives of music reviews can be found here and Film can be found here, though since joining Axis both have largely become defunct. I'm a keen globetrotter and, too, document my travels here, on an old blog originally designed to publish a novel that was abandoned due to time constraints.