Release DetailsLABEL Diminished Fifth Records
RELEASED ON 8/25/2009
posted on 7/2009 By:
A few months ago, someone in the MetalReview forums started a discussion about a similarly named, similarly very young band apparently "playing traditional metal better than most traditional metal bands." As someone who grew up in the heyday of elder metal, this naturally peaked my interest. I headed over to the band's website to get some samples, and lo-and-behold, yet another flimsy disguise was very quickly annihilated and the true colors of Black TIDE were exposed: candy-coated Nickelodeon-metal meant for bubblegum-brained suburban kids.
Roll forward about six months later and yet another very young, Black [enter word here] band with their sites set on "tradition" slid under the MR door all the way from Nova Scotia. Needless to say, I approached with extreme caution, and my torch gleamed with a condemning fire brighter than a thousand suns. But you've seen the movies, and you've watched the after school specials: what ended up crossing my ears that day was far from anything I'd consider disappointing. Black Moor's interpretation of the style is infinitely more genuine than the aforementioned band, and the boys have obviously been studying the heavyweights of the genre intently. I guess some homework really does pay off.
According to the band's bio, Black Moor's sound is often compared to "a cross between Iron Maiden and Megadeth." The Maiden comparison obviously stems from the heavy use of melodic twin axe attacks -- they're all over this record, and they're polished and definitely give the songs a sweet hook -- but pushing it over the edge is bassist Rob Nickerson's distinct nod to the Steve Harris school of play (check the Seventh Son moment by the 1:00 mark of the closing track as ample evidence). The kid's got chops, and the production on The Conquering rightly gives him the chance to shine throughout each and every tune. The rest of the Black Moor foundation is firmly set in a relatively safe brand of melodic thrash. I say "safe" not necessarily as an insult, but as an important distinction for those whose taste is more closely aligned with the "crueler" end of the thrash spectrum. Think more in terms of a Paradox/Malice/Flotsam & Jetsam approach that favors melody and more of a mid pace as opposed to the more throat-cutting delivery of classic Kreator. Liberal use of bright leads, cleanly sung background chorus', acoustic guitars and even bits of (admittedly sappy) piano all help drive the melodius point home.
Those who live in fear of shrilling falsetto's or corny crooning can breathe easy here as well. While guitarist Eric Hanlen's voice certainly gives away the band's youthfulness, he adds just enough grit to his chords to land him squarely within a camp sharing bunks with an adolescent Hetfield or Mustaine (with less of a nasally delivery). It fits the music well and appropriately lets the musical skills take center stage on the record.
The Conquering is a solid record from a young band that's obviously spending a great deal of time honing their chops. It's not as explosive a debut as, say, The Ultraviolence, nor is it all that concerned with innovation, but it definitely delivers an enjoyable punch and paints a bright future for four up-and-coming metal musicians. I hope these guys stick it out, and I hope they stick it out together, because I'd love to see what they come up with next.
Up with the Moor! And to Hell with the Tide...
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