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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Reviews: Lamb Of God, Beyond The Bridge, Failure To Follow

Lamb Of God: Resolution (Roadrunner/Epic)

Upon finally hitting the big-time with their previous album Wrath Virginian modern metal kings Lamb Of God have decided to look backward while going forward, the clean vocals are still in place but Randy Blythe can still growl like a demon and does on the majority of the tracks on this new release. The band themselves are saying the album has more in common with their earlier works they have maintained the experimentation that was present on Wrath. This is true but this album is one of two halves, the first half of the tracks pack the old school rage of As The Palaces Burn and Ashes Of The Wake they are a group of fast paced thrashers with blast-beats galore and razor-sharp riffing mixed with groove based hostility. The first second track Desolation has much in common with their previous big track Redneck. The second half of the album is all together more modern separated by the instrumental Barbarossa (the name of their recording studio) the tracks are still super-fast or groove based but has more of the clean singing and guitar solos that featured on Sacrament and Wrath. The final track King Me has a large orchestral backing and is very different to what has come before, a sure sign of a band comfortable with their past. All in all this is a great album that serves as a reminder of past glories and continues the current path that Lamb Of God is taking in a very organic way. 9/10       

Beyond The Bridge: The Old Man And The Spirit (Frontiers Records)

Hailing from Germany this is the debut album from Beyond The Bridge and has been in production since 2005 with the actual first recordings taking place in 2008. All of the band are classically trained musicians and this album is a concept album that deals with the "polarity of human sensuousness and superhuman awareness". Both of these are reflected respectively by the human character of the Old Man who is voiced by vocalist Herbie Langhans who has a rugged middle range and the supernatural Spirit voiced by his female co-vocalist Dilenya Mar who has not got the operatic vocals of contemporise but a very excellent pop/rock style. Both of them sing brilliantly and complement each other and the backing choir very well. The instrumentation is also top class with guitarist Peter Degenfeld and keyboardist Christopher Tarrow the main creative and instrumental force. The guitars are heavy and the keys are excellent but not over-bearing. The whole album flows excellently with all of the tracks featuring time signature changes and classical influences; it is also produced to high level with frequent Sascha Paeth collaborator Simon Oberender handling the production ensuring it is modern and crisp. Overall this is a great album that needs to be heard in one sitting as there are no 'individual' tracks like with most concept albums. The one weakness is that there are many other bands doing this and it will be hard to break out of the European melee. 8/10

Failure To Follow: Wasting Away E.P (Self released/ ITG Records)

Young British band Failure To Follow deal in raging hardcore with melodic touches. This is their first e.p (ever) and it packs in 5 hard hitting, venom spitting slices of prime hardcore with a sprinkling of heavy groove and technical guitar melodies. The band are all very proficient considering how long they have been a band (About 2 years). The guitar playing of Harry and Russell is speedy and technical with rundowns and shredding galore, this is anchored by the hard-hitting engine room of Lee and Ollie who rage with furious rumbling and blast beating coming from both respectively. Starting with the instrumental B.C.H.C the e.p kicks off with a heavy breakdown that roars into 'proper' opening track The Burn on which the band immediately kick off in head-smashing style. The vocals of Tom Williams snarl and roar throughout the album and are particularly great (as are the rest of the band) on No Vision, Strike Back and Wasting Away. The latter featuring some big gang vocals courtesy of the band. All in all this is a great debut e.p from a very young and talented band (these tracks will tracks and destroy live.) Top notch stuff, in a genre that can be a little samey Failure To Follow are a breath of fresh air. 8/10

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