четвъртък, 18 юли 2013 г.

Realmbuilder - Fortifications of the Pale Architect (2011)

Realmbuilder is a rather strange band whose music style I won't try to define, but as far as I am concerned, the epic metal tag fits them the best.

What do I mean by 'strange'? While most epic metal bands I can think of have either very high-pitched vocals, very often reaching falsettos, trying to sound as dramatic as it gets with a "don't worry sweet princess in high tower, I am coming to kill this dragon" kind of attitude, these guys sound way more majestic and real-balled. Probably most people's first association with epic metal is also Manilla Road and while I don't find many similarities, Realmbuilder is just like the formerly mentioned - one such band that bears the flag of the genre without pissing on it.

As you would suppose, everything in the world of this album is imaginary. Your modern world doesn't have a place in it. From the very introduction of the album you get a horse galloping together with a fast melodic guitar and a marching drum. The soldiers are riding behind their commander on a quest. Seriously, I have no idea what the song is about, but this is how it sounds to my ears. Its music exists in its own empire created by the band. The overall sound of the album is rather quirk and not absolutely to my liking. It smells like low budget production, but in a bad way. While sometimes this gives a more romantic old-school sound to a record, the guitar here sounds somehow "cut". I don't pretend to understand a lot from production and all, but it sometimes bugs the whole experience of the fortifications of the pale architect.

Another plus for these guys is that they don't have heart-melting, cheesy ballads. The whole record is more about weaponry, iron sieges, savage man attacking one another rather then pink-coloured love stories. And while the band consists of only two man, it does sound full-blooded. Of course, if you forget the weird sound, which is kinda hard to forget, because it clings to your ears the whole time. I was recently thinking of what to listen to while I read some of the epic Robert Howard tales I found lying around and now I know. This album is great soundtrack to anything that you would need if you want to pretend you live in another world. The great guitar solos are also a huge helper to get soaked in the old-day like atmosphere. Also, while many might dislike the vocals, I do dig them. Not all epic/power metal has to be fronted by someone whimpering. The powerful riffs are strong and convincing. I don't want to evaluate their originality, but they sound brave enough for me to believe the guys.

It's good to hear some good epic metal these days, as most musicians tend to waver towards the clean production and generally appealing power-pop metal bullshit that big companies would sign.

вторник, 16 юли 2013 г.

Reverend Bizarre - Thulsa Doom (2006)

Firstly, the sad news. I don't believe that any doom metal band that is about to be formed would ever be good enough to reach the rectory of the Reverend Bizarre. This EP is a perfect example of how the purest doom does sound in its finest moments. Whoever finds "Thulsa Doom" sucky can just get out of my sight. Unless you're Conan the Barbarian, of course. I could buy that.

A lot of doom has been passing by my ears these days and finding bands that are worth the listen gets tougher each day. I needed just one listen of Thulsa Doom to distinguish its quality from the litter. These two songs on it are just miles ahead, not only of most doom that is produced these days, it is just better than most doom metal ever recorded by someone.

It is totally out of question whether to listen to this if you're already into Reverend Bizarre. And even if you're not, I think this EP is a good way to start with the band as both tracks are not longer than ten minutes, very well-packed and absolutely finalised. The only material that is more catchy in my opinion is on "Crush the Insects". Nota bene - maybe my scale of catchiness is not very proper for a general use. If I could remove or change something about this record, I wouldn't touch a single note. It's just damn perfect.

Everything here seems to me like a reference to Robert Howard's most famous work. "The tree of suffering" starts with the agonising cries of a man being nailed to a tree. The cries are accompanied by the pounding drums of Void, which prove to be the actual hammer nailing. One of my favourite Reverend Bizarre riffs crushes in, strangely melodic and perfectly harmonised with the monologue of the tortured subject. The man tells his gruesome tale and unfortunate destiny as the guitar towers higher and higher. It's hard to define the actual guitar rambling as a solo, but it sure as hell is fucking good.

Lee Dorrian once said that for him doom metal is not depressing, just the contrary, uplifting and majestic. I really loved that as I've always felt the same. "The tree of suffering" is one of these especially epic and heroic tales that really strikes a chord with me.

Albert is one of these vocalists that always presents music in a very realistic manner. It just never sounds fake. I can hardly think of any other man that could sing those lines like that, as righteous as it gets:

"I feel like I'm drowning in my own bloody sweat
Well, I used to love sunlight, but now it's peeling my head"

Favourite lyrics are favourite lyrics.

Side B, "The Children of doom" (I should make a survey on how many doom songs actually bear the same name) is the weaker part of the EP, if there is something weak. I'd rather say, less awesome. The songs structure is like the one of many Reverend ones - very slow begging, a lot faster second part. The drumming at the beginning is so slow, it will make most of you change the song. What should be noted is the main riff, which is unusually mythical about the band, or maybe let's say exotic. Maybe because I've seen the setting of the Conan movies many times, but the first association I get is about sitting in a blurred room filled with candles, many people dressed in ceremonial gowns passing around. Even if you don't read the lyrics, you know that this song is a serious ritual of blood. Into light comes once again the ability of the guys to present musically what they want to present verbally.