If you're like me, the album cover of Desperate Souls of Tortured Times by Age of Taurus will trigger something in your leathered brain.Your Candlemass sector will light up, you'll start to think of all those early albums, and salivate. You might not even notice till a half minute later that the name of the band on this album is different and this thing came out in 2013.
Said album is the debut from Age of Taurus, and it was meant to be a studio exercise. But I'm sure that when the band heard the dark magic they were making they decided to get this behemoth out of the studio and into the real world, where they can stand on stage and let the music roll over audiences like a tidal wave of tar.
A Rush of Power kicks the album off with drums, but the poor things are quickly set upon by the baying guitars of Toby Wright and Alastair Riddell. Their six stringers wail for a bit before they lock into a groove that can't scare away the bass guitar of Richard Bruce, who gallops along his slender brothers into the muck and mire. Sinking City is next up, and it manages to be heavier and slower than the track that came before. The vocals are clean, like the NWOBHM bands, (but not operatic) and two songs in you know you're listening to a classic record in the best possible sense. This isn't a derivative album, this isn't simply a slightly altered copy of the classics you have in your collection; this the rare new album that can stand next to them and not be nervous.
I've included Embrace the Stone at the bottom of this page, which is a stand out track. Coming in at a little over eight minutes, the tune walks a slinky baseline and boasts monkish chanted vocals. There is a choir in there too, who float upon the riffs when the mad monk isn't doing his thing.
This is a great headphone album and the fact that the album was intended as a studio project is evident in the choirs and the spoken word pieces that pop up from song to song. Those of a psychedelic bent or who enjoy a bit of prog now and again will appreciate the clear sounding but complex lyrics and the simple flourishes added to the voices. There's a story in here somewhere, like the concept records of yore, but I'm in no shape to go down that path. Check 'em out. ---And because I didn't mention him elsewhere, Daurius Claydon on drums! Well done!