Release DetailsLABEL Oak Knoll Productions
RELEASED ON 6/1/2003
A Crisis In The Gray Space
posted on 10/2004 By:
Heavy metal is undoubtedly the most diverse and enduring genre in the existence of music. Trends come and go routinely, yet metal is always a constant. Capable of unifying a sundry of style composites, it has something to offer anyone and everyone from all walks of life. No matter the incarnation that serves each of our own individual affinities, metal is like a magnetic adhesive. Millions, who may have otherwise been foes, have been bound in intercontinental allegiance by this thing we love so much. Though points of view may differ, one fact stands undisputed; Metal is the greatest fucking thing in the world!
On occasion, a certain awe inducing element can manifest from out of nowhere and leave you with one of two emotions. These distinct sentiments extend to the outermost ends of the spectrum. Either a) the experience is so abhorrent that you are left with a feeling of emptiness and a bad taste in your mouth, as if you've been cheated, or b) you are ultimately taken aback by the magnitude of the sounds in which you were fortunate enough to harken, and are unable to suppress the urges that are so desperately demanding more of the same. This day, we address the latter of the two.
Some of the most astounding material comes from the most unexpected and/or unknown places. Places that, without ample analysis, you may have never discovered them. Sadly, such transpires far too frequently. Even if a band is unparalleled in the talent department and proves to be beyond ability, they can still somehow go forever disregarded if they have no ties at the forefront of the scene. Sometimes it could be more beneficial to an act's integrity if they only possess a modest and loyal following. An obscure band is less likely to drift away from the significance of what they do; Play music for the love of music. Not the money!
Lets examine the number of metal bands currently on the market, all attempting to make a name for themselves and be heard. We're talking in the tens of thousands. This is indeed quite the stupefying state, and most people don't wish to put forth so much energy to find worthwhile albums to listen to and purchase. Afterall, music is intended to be fun, not a chore. Enter the writers! Whether you concur with the bulk of our critiques or otherwise, we hold a profound position in the metal community. Relative to a totem pole of sorts, the record labels inhabit the uppermost sections, while the artist resides at the median. At the base, are the journalists and fans. Each of us equally relevant to the other. Eliminate any one of us from the equation and all of the others will suffer in some way.
In an effort to share some of my latest findings with the rest of my metal fellowship, I will be conducting extensive coverage throughout the upcoming weeks on what is hastily becoming one of my most respected indie labels, Oak Knoll Productions, and an array of bands that populate its halls. Like the slogan accurately states, this young New England based company has 'deep roots in extreme metal'. With four acts on the current roster and an assortment in negotiation, it's apparent that the heads at Oak Knoll harbor quite a clear passion for first-rate, unsigned underground bands. They also seem to share a sincere interest in each group and their potential for accomplishment. Never mind all that technical mumbo jumbo, they're about pleasure before business.
As the first band signed to the label, Warblade could very well be New York's answer to Dark Tranquillity and Vesperian Sorrow at once, resulting in a nearly perfect class of melodic death metal with an unyielding penchant for black metal grimness. These Rochester natives initially showcased their talents on the 2002 demo EP Release The Angel Of Death, now available through Oak Knoll distribution. Soon after, work on a full-length offering began, and in 2003, Warblade finally had an official release under their belt with the monumental album at hand, A Crisis In The Gray Space.
Based on the mentioned influences, one can easily envision the quality of music that lies ahead. Naturally, the vocals are of the harsh death/black metal division, and are executed without mishap. Guitar work ranges from mid-paced grooves to lightning fast fret fury, all the while remaining melodic. The proverbial Iron Maiden trademark of dual harmonies are prominent and construct the framework for each arrangement. Typically we find that the bass is the sheep to the guitars shepard, following identical phrases. This is not the case on A Crisis In The Gray Space. The bass here has an identity all its own and really injects each song with a dose of freshness. A remarkable drum assault holds it all together like glue, being varied and, at times fairly complex. Tempo and shape shifting is the name of the game on this album.
Without first knowing a bit of history, Warblade could easily be mistaken for a European act. This only shows their uncanny knack for reproducing and refining the scene in their own style, here in the states. Essentially, each of the nine tracks presented on A Crisis In The Gray Space literally take you by the ear and lead you away from your seat and across vast oceans, to another land. Along with the opening number "The End Unleashed At Dawn", both "Dreamwork And Memory" and the title track transport you to Gothenburg, while "The Scowl" finds you heading further north, into the bleak realms of the Norwegian black metal kings.
Sharing the stage with some of the top names in metal like Cryptopsy, Kataklysm, and Blind Guardian, Warblade is a band on the rise. One should not hesitate to reserve a place among their legions and witness supremacy in the making. Oak Knoll made an invaluable decision when they closed the deal with these guys. Keep an ear out for Warblade and every other band that Oak Knoll is working with. You will not be disappointed!
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