Monday, November 14, 2011

Album Review: Strongblood - The Beaten Paths of Youth

Strongblood are a Black Metal band from Texas. Not much seems to be known about them, apart from the fact that they released 3 demos since their formation in 2009. Although the band name and song titles like The Sword's Gleam, The Storm, etc. might suggest some Folk tendencies, there are none here. Strongblood play Old School Black Metal with loads of Punk influences.

The demo starts off with an intro titled Woodpile, which has a melodic passage played over lots of feedback. What comes next, is completely unexpected. The listener is hit with Punk-ish, mid-paced riff, devoid of atmosphere or ferocity, but sounds evil enough to be mistaken as a Black Metal riff, similar to what was played by LLN bands like Vlad Tepes and Mutiilation. In fact, the whole production and music has a Les Legions Noire vibe to it. The riffing is mostly mid-paced, with sections of tremolo-picked Black Metal riffs. The musicianship is given a much lower priority here, since the focus is on churning out good, catchy riffs. The vocals are screamed out, and have loads of echo/delay effect on it, perfectly imitating the LLN style. Even though the band apes the style to a good extent, they manage to keep up variety in terms of songwriting. While some songs are catchy and heavy, others are dark and atmospheric. You'll Never Walk Alone stands out, being an Atmospheric song, as opposed to The Sword's Gleam, which is completely riff-oriented. Others, like The Storm and White Roses, combine both aspects in a nice way. Apart from consistently good riffing, the guitarists occasionally throw in simple, but melodic guitar solos, which is a welcome addition, since the music isn't really focusing on being savagely destructive a la old school Black/Death Metal bands. The drumming is sloppy, and is completely Punk Rock based. There are no blast beats, or double bass drumming involved here. Instead, we have drums playing in a regular pattern through most of each song, making the music as simplistic as possible. The bass is almost inaudible, and that probably makes no difference, since such simplistic music will certainly have an uninteresting bass line. (On a personal note, I never really cared about bass in Black Metal.) As mentioned earlier, the production is similar to what LLN bands had in 1990s, which is saying a lot. The guitars are laden with more feedback than Grief, and vocals have as much echo as Belketre. the production results in a hateful, but not remotely grim or evil atmosphere, but that is probably what Strongblood intended in the first place.

The demo is 40 minutes long, which is as long as a full-length album, and by the end of it, the listener might feel he's had enough. It isn't hard to tell one song apart from another, since the band ensures variety in each one's sound. There are no particularly memorable moments in the album - it just comes and goes, leaving the listener rather unscathed and unaffected, but like a lot of other demos, this one is enjoyable while it lasts. I'll probably get back to it in a week or two and enjoy it as much, but this isn't addictive enough to be heard over and over again after just one listen.

Recommended for explorers only


1 comment:

  1. Great reveiw as always........will definitely need to check them out