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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Album Review - Blood of the Tyrant: Self-Titled EP

 Chicago's Blood of the Tyrant have created an impressive 4 song EP that feels almost like a full length album, due in no small part, to the fact that 3 of the 4 tracks clock in at over 7 minutes long. Listening to the proggy sludge of BotT, it's hard to believe that vocalist/guitarist Josh Primack, drummer Chris Avgerin, bassist Kevin Emmons and guitarist Michael Galaboff, aren't from the sweaty, Southern confines of Atlanta, Georgia. Their sound bares a striking resemblance to the early work of Atlanta's favorite metal sons, Mastodon, and vocalist Primack is at times a dead ringer for the vocal stylings of Daath, another metal act that calls Atlanta home.

With that said, this is no ripoff, and for a debut EP I have to tell you, I can't wait to see where these guys go from here. "Flaw of the Sentient Being" opens things up with a catchy interplay between guitar and rhythm section before a second guitar joins in to create a maelstrom of heavy goodness. But just when you think you know where this band is headed, they throw you a curveball with Primack's vocals as he enters the fold with strikingly evil audacity...this son of a bitch sounds downright demonic! And that's what sets BotT apart from other prog/stoner/doom bands, even the aforementioned Mastodon. Those vocals will keep the casual fans at bay, ensuring only those with an ear for true metal stick around for the entirety of this EP. Towards the end of the first track, when the band picks up the pace and Primack growls "we are the right, we are the chosen...and nothing will save you now"...I have no idea what he's talking about, but I'm ready to join in whatever fight he's leading. Holy shit this is good stuff!

"The Gunslinger" slows things back down briefly with its classic Clutch-like stoner riff until, you guessed it, Primack's demonic wail reenters the fold to remind you this is something altogether different. By that point you're locked in though and the band takes off behind him, carrying the track to another level. The riffs from the dual guitar attack of Primack and Galaboff sound absolutely majestic on this EP. But something I haven't mentioned yet, which is also prevalent throughout these 4 tracks is Avgerin's drumming. The crisp pop on the snare reminds me of John Stanier's work on "Meantime" era Helmet. As metal as this stuff sounds, there's no double bass to be found, just that nice pop and lots and lots of crash cymbals.

Speaking of Helmet, when track 3, the 10-plus minute "Helena" opens, the vocals even evoke Page Hamilton, albeit briefly, before they quickly shift back to the guttural variety. BotT do an amazing job of using the vocals to compliment the songs, but Primack knows when to step aside and allow the music to take center stage. The band finds that perfect balance of showcasing their instrumental prowess, incorporating the vocals at just the right moments. Expansive stretches of music, sans-vocals are not uncommon throughout these 4 tracks. As a matter of fact, the coda to this collection of songs is an instrumental piece titled "Meteors (Extinction)". The song flows well enough with the rest of the EP, but why the band decided not to add vocals to this particular track isn't obvious as it doesn't appear to be anymore complicated or complex than the others.

With that said, this is a promising start for this Windy City band. It isn't often that a debut EP offers such a fresh perspective on an old style, but BotT have done just that. Call it Stoner Death or Doom Grind, but the mish mash of intricate prog-metal and sludgy doom combined with the roar of the vocals sounds fresh and on time. Check these guys out and you'll see for yourself...nothing will save you now.

Track Listing:

01. Flaw Of The Sentient Being (7:08)
02. The Gunslinger (4:51)
03. Helena (10:44)
04. Meteors (Extinction) (8:45)


Chris Avgerin - Drums/Vocals
Kevin Emmons - Bass/Vocals
Michael Galaboff - Guitar/Vocals
Josh Primack - Guitar/Vocals

Buy Here!

For fans of Mastodon, Baroness, Isis, High on Fire, Zombi and Black Sabbath.

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