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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Reviews: Painted Black, Blood Red Saints, The King Lot, Desolate Pathway (Reviews By Paul)

Painted Black: Raging Light (WormHole Death Records)

Painted Black, the Portuguese quintet who released their debut album in 2010, deliver their latest opus which is a confident, eclectic and mature hour of lengthy, intricate death and doom melancholy which immediately provides the listener with comparisons with Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Swallow The Sun. Three years since their Quarto Vazio EP, Raging Light is a contrast of twists and conflicting moods, with progressive undertones which spar with heavier and more base instincts to superb effect. Crammed full of shade and light, crushingly heavy mixing with a fragility which also brings German maestros Ahab to mind, the title track and the following Dead Time both capture the attention immediately.

The guitar work of Luís Fazendeiro and Gonçalo Sousa is elegant and at times stunning, underpinned by a solid rhythm section. Vocalist Daniel Lucas has an impressive range, wandering between furious death metal roar and the heartfelt, clean melodies, which drip with sorrow and melancholy. Each track contains something different whilst retaining the essence of the band and the astonishing closing Almagast, a 17-minute behemoth of a track, is just stunning. 8/10

Blood Red Saints: Love Hate Conspiracies (NEH Records)

Newcomers to the AOR scene, (as a band although they are all veterans of the scene) British outfit Blood Red Saints have put together a rather neat release. Crammed full of the melodic rock that is more polished than my forehead, this is a classy release which will go down superbly well at HRH AOR. With perfectly crafted harmonies, and the vocals of Pete Godfrey providing a cross between Jon Bon Jovi and Steve Overland, every track just ticks the AOR boxes. It’s smooth, stylish and doesn’t overdo it. The power ballad Wake Up hits the spot, whilst pacier rockers like opener Another Freak allow the harder edge of the band to cut through. At 48 minutes it might be a little too long, but other than that if you like your rock with a poodle perm, faded denims and the best of Def Leppard is in your album collection, this is for you. 7/10

The King Lot: A World Without Evil (Crown Jewels Records)

This is the sophomore release from Scots The King Lot. The band’s sound is centred in the hard-melodic rock category, with their clean vocals and melodious harmonies combining with radio friendly tracks. The band are a three-piece and make a decent noise for their number, certainly with the fluidity and polish of bands with many more members. It’s not ground breaking or remarkable but if you enjoy music that has a poppy undercurrent but also adds a little steel then this may be of interest. Jay Moir makes a decent debut on guitar and vocals whilst Jason Sweeney and Chris Gillon provide the supportive rhythm section. The songs range from the impressive title track through to the Bon Jovi saccharine coated All I Want, the sleazier Lonely and the traditional melodic blueprint of Hearts On Fire. These guys appear live at Fuel on 16 Feb and at HRH AOR a few days later. 6/10

Desolate Pathway: Valley Of The King (WormholeDeath Records)

This is a re-release of the 2014 debut from Desolate Pathway, the project formed by Pagan Altar’s Vince Hempsted. A classic British heavy doom release, the album is full of melancholic riffs, thunderous drums and a haunted vocal reminiscent of the early works of Swedish Doom fathers Candlemass. With themes of fantasy, magic and adventure, Desolate Pathway take the best of Candlemass, Queensryche, Iced Earth and Manowar and meld them into a majestic opus that at times is crushingly heavy. The title track sets out the stall impressively and the stomp of Forest Of Mirrors conjures up the image of being lost amidst curtains of green nestled within vast mountain ranges. Supported by drummer Mags and bassist Jaeme Somerville, Hempsted created a perfect release full of imagery which most metal fans love. Season Of The Witch and the epic Last Of My Kind (The Ring Keeper) certainly hit the spot whilst the Sabbath pounding of King Of Vultures is immense. Stunning work. 8/10

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