Review Roundup: Ana Kefr, Eyes of a Traitor, Hate, Talons, and Until Your Heart Stops

Ana KefrThe Burial Tree

I’m not entirely sure what the exact opposite of a black metal purist is, but I’m pretty sure they would have Ana Kefr‘s newest release, The Burial Tree somewhere in their catalog, next to their Medieval Weapon Replicas, Emperor CDs and Drake and Josh DVDs or something equally awkwardly eclectic. Basically, the driving force on this album are harmonies of the tremolo-picked variety and shrieks, yet they find their place in a Metal Party Favor bag of sorts. Don’t get me wrong; this is not really a black metal release. It is complete with many varying influences that would move it far from this distinction, yet the writing seems to show a tendency of returning to the aforementioned harmonies and usually at times when the song is at its peak. I received an unmixed version, so it is difficult to comment on the production, but what I have now creates a raw, yet clear and powerful mood throughout. In its quieter moments, The Burial Tree is successful in building suspense and some of the arrangements are pretty moving. Still, you have to question the inclusion of some of these interludes. At times the band is less effective at creating atmosphere, and the record seems to go from “soloing in a lightning storm on a mountain” to “buying peanuts at the fair” with no warning or apologies. There are a handful of pretty uncreative breakdowns throughout this record that can be tedious to sit through, yet it still offers enough variety that it is worth listening to.

(8.0/10)

The Eyes of a Traitor – Breathless

The Eyes of a Traitor‘s second release, Breathless is a difficult one for me to talk about. It feels like a well put together album, yet it’s in a style that I’ve grown out of long ago and is marketed using the “This is good because they’re young” metal cliché that record labels love so much. There are some cool grooves and some melodic riffs that work well for what they do, yet it inevitably falls back into some pretty bland territory time and time again. There are some odd-timed breakdowns that offer a change in pace here and there, and actually add to the experience, but they’re nowhere near elaborate enough to consider mathy, especially with how they fit into the songs. It feels like a modern take on the popular metalcore of yesteryear, yet its insistence on a percussionist sense of groove actually sets it apart from many of those bands for the better. This groove-based attack isn’t limited just to chugging, and is actually pretty effectively used even at points where the band chooses to take a more melodic approach. The production is solid throughout, and there are some pretty cool tempo changes that keep things fresh. Though I wouldn’t listen to this album religiously by any means, it further proves that for fans of this style, there really is no reason to listen to Bring Me the Horizon.

(7.3/10)

HateErebos

Hate‘s newest release of blistering blackened death is not vastly unlike the newer sound that Behemoth have been tampering with. It’s tight, well-structured, and dark (and Polish). The pacing is varied enough for it to be a enjoyable album to listen to. Though it may not bring anything entirely new to the table, it’s a solid release, and it has some very cool guitar and drum work that seem to grind against eachother in the mix at times. Erebos should leave anyone who enjoys post-Demigod Behemoth pleased with the first listen, and with the uncertain future of Behemoth right now, Erebos fits nicely into the void.

(7.9/10)

Talons – Hollow Realm

Talons is one of the highest energy post rock outfits I’ve heard. Rarely relenting in pace, with strings added to musical vocabulary similar to that of Russian Circles, complete with a affinity for tapping sections, Hollow Depth is a promising release. There are some serious jams on this CD, most notably the opener “St. Mary Will Be the Death of Us All” and the title-track closer, which makes the entire album seem to fall into place. This album is for fans of post-rock who are sick of sitting through long-winded passages to get to the climax, but it’s fast moving pace might seem a little aimless at times for some. Whether this release is for you or not, you still have to acknowledge the potential shown here. This release was a pleasant surprise for me.

(8.5/10)

Until Your Heart StopsErrors

Errors is a hardcore record in the most straightforward sense of the word. If you’re okay with that, this release has a lot to offer despite not really bringing a whole lot of novelty to the party. It’s got some cool composition, s and really strong production for a hardcore record. The vocalist has a lot of energy and his vocals are evocative, although you might not be able to pick out his voice in a court case. Overall, the album is solid from start to finish, and is recommended for fans of Modern Life is War-styled nostalgia-fest hardcore.

(8.0/10)



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