posted on 1/2010 By:
You dudes lookin' for that "modern sound" best pack your crappers back into the driver's seat and hit the freeway quick as lightning; Old Season's brand of heavy metal is about as hip and fresh sounding as a pulled-tab on a Schlitz can. But that fact is far from something I'd consider a bane, as I'm a feller who's willingly gone toe-to-toe with a lotta Schlitz cans in my lifetime. I eat up fairly vintage sounding epic heavy metal like this, but I can understand why folks might look at me funny when it's cranked behind the windows of my car in the parking lot. Deeply crooned vibrato vocals such as what Frank Brennan (Mourning Beloveth) belts out ain't exactly fashionable, but then he and we who follow have never really been all that concerned with what's currently in-vogue. As long as the metal at hand makes for a fitting accomplice to our Robert E. Howard visions of triumphantly piking the heads of our foes, the mocking lookie-lou's can crook their eyebrows until the cows come home.
So, does this work admirably fit the "head-piking" bill? For the most part, yes! Although Old Season has more of a mid-paced gallop to their attack, similar to the works of DoomSword or a good portion of Ironsword's material. What sets these Irishmen apart from their peers, however, is the ever-present hand keyboards play in each tune -- an element that serves as both a blessing and a disadvantage at times. They fit snugly when used primarily in the backdrop to help push the grandiose spirit, ala Seventh Son of A Seventh Son, but as a guy who's never considered himself a big fan of overly symphonic keys, they can impede a tune when they take center stage. This is really my only gripe with this fine record as a whole, and I'd love to see future releases employ a few other settings on the ol' black 'n' ivory machine (moog nudge!)
But even as a self-proclaimed symphonic keyboard bigot, this facet doesn't hinder Archaic Creation from being a wonderfully sweeping and epic triumph. Brennan's fluid delivery has a very strong presence on each tune, but really shine when emotions are at their highest (the excellent "At the Hollow," for example.) For reference sake, think Blaze Bayley, Messiah and DoomSword's Vali Deathmaster whipped smooth in a blender and you're essentially there. And although I'd say his voice is obviously the crux of Old Season's sound, one of Archaic Creation's greatest strengths is the stellar guitar work heard throughout. Seriously, there are simply too many savory leads and sweetly melodic dimensions to these songs, pinpointing one or two highlights would be a futile effort. Safe to say, the duo of Doyle/Blanchfield would make Smith/Murray very proud papa's. The aforementioned "At the Hollow" does stand out from the crowd, however, and certainly holds all the necessary elements to qualify it as a bona-fide classic epic heavy metal tune.
Old Season's brew may not be tailor-made for the metal population at large, but if you count yourself a fan of traditional epic heavy metal and like the thought of stoutly delivered lyrics soaked to the gills with keen recollections of Ireland's brutal ancestry and lore, you should probably think about tossing your rucksack aboard as soon as possible. While still a few inches away from a pure kill-shot, Archaic Creation definitely sets the stage nicely for a band quite likely to make substantial waves in the near future. It's hard to believe an album of this caliber is actually self-released, but I'd imagine a suitable label will quickly scoop these dudes up once more folks catch wind of this fine collection of songs.
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