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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Reviews: Follow The Cipher, Summoner's Circle, The Great Electric Quest, aAnd?

Follow The Cipher: Follow The Cipher (Nuclear Blast)

Coming from Falun (city of Sabaton, Twilight Force & Billion Dollar Babies) Follow The Cipher are the latest in long line of Scandinavian power metal bands that use heavy orchestrations and electronic beats. Guitarist Ken Kängström has had a close friendship with and has co-written for Sabaton, most famously Carolus Rex, which is where the inspiration for Follow The Cipher came about. Carolus Rex is included as a cover here and while not the original it serves a purpose as the basis for Follow The Cipher’s sound, much like Amaranthe the scything Swedish death metal riffs are fused with EDM beats and boops and some symphonic swathes.

While the record musically is good, it’s the vocals of Linda Toni Grahn I struggle with. She’s got an excellent range and a dramatic theatrical delivery, I just can’t seem to get on with them. It’s only on tracks like Starlight where this band impress me as it’s primarily a harsh/clean dynamic that nods to the anthemic Gothenburg sound of In Flames. It might just be personal to me and someone else may love her operatic delivery so I’m not saying to avoid this record, if you like Sabaton or Amaranthe then pick it up but for me it doesn’t do much. 6/10

Summoner's Circle: Tome (Self Released)

Pitched as theatrical, epic doom metal, Knoxville residents Summoner's Circle certainly make a statement with their cloaked, cult-like imagery but it's their music that gets you interested, their live performances are referred to as Summonings and I can imagine they are site to behold if their NSFW videos are anything to go by. Tome their debut full length is over and hour of extreme doom metal that has oppressive organ stabs, lumbering rhythmic fluctuations mixing with classical metal leads and harsh black metal vocals. Using the pseudonyms of Y'takt (bass), BG Scios (drums), Gog (lead guitar), Abasalon (rhythm guitar), Sol (keyboards), Blind (vocals) the members of this band cast mysterious spells that are drawn into long form doom metal anthems, most of the tracks come in at over 8 minutes long and the relentless surge of riff after bowel shaking riffs is only offset by the keys and searing solos. It's not an easy release you have to commit to it due to the duration of the album but it grows on you infecting your soul with it's mythical lyrics (based around the story found here: http://www.summonerscircle.com/bio) and punishing cinematic heaviness. If you like your doom in the style of Electric Wizard or Cathedral but with a wider soundscape added to it then you'd be wise to pick up Tome and kill the old gods! 7/10

The Great Electric Quest: Chapter II (Totem Cat Records)

Firstly this record has an awesome cover, for rock n roll dudes wielding axes on their intergalactic motorcycles, produced by members of Duel and Mos Generator this record has some big, ballsy rock riffs crossing the Rubicon into proper heavy metal. It’s the San Diego space adventurers second album of sonic storytelling and once again thick doom, stoner and proto heavy metal riffs are on offer as the epic fantasy of the albums concept are laid down through the medium of groove-laden music ala The Sword. There are numerous risks taken here, Of Earth I has a freaking drum solo in it which in turn leads into a guitar solo and the 8 minute Of Earth II creating one big progressive stoner epic, although The Madness is driven by the trademark Thin Lizzy sound. This quest seems set to continue for a while yet, Chapter II is a great album of galactic stoner rock. 7/10

aAnd?: Wwoof (Self Released)

We try to be as positive about albums we really do, but I can only describe Wwoof the second album by quirky deathcore band aAnd? as pure dog shit. It's about as exciting as stepping on a plug. 0/10

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