As a reviewer, it's always a good thing to pass on press and PR material and simply give a new album a first listen, especially from an new artist. First, doing so allows you remain, generally, unbiased. Second, once you read the press material it can reveal some pleasant surprisse. With new American metal band Habitual Sins that surprise was that they hail from Pittsburgh, about four hours west of Dangerdog HQ. It's always good to give a Pennsylvania band some press. Personal Sins is their first album, releasing through Germany's Pure Steel Records.
In a nutshell, Habitual Sins plays old school heavy metal, yet touched with a darker doom metal tone. The band references Coronor, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, and Mercyful Fate as influences. I would say the influences of the latter two loom large here. There's definitely a deeper and darker, heavier, even plodding, motif across this album. You can hear it profusely within Watch The Fire Rise, Down Here In Sodom, and I Pray For You, by example. Alternatively, taking a cue from Iron Maiden, Habitual Sins works from twin guitar harmony and leads, with the solos tapping into lines neo-classical to more straight forward classic metal leads. The guitar work is one the premium features of the band and their songs. Vocalist and principal songwriter Matthew Bizilia has a scratchy to screamo to snarling voice. While he sings melodic, I think he wants to come across sound foreboding and demonic. Which makes sense as his lyrics point to dark arts and demons, the occult, religious hypocrisy (When the Inquisition Calls), and general blasphemy (I Pray For You, Down Here In Sodom). It's not my shot of bourbon, but I understand the heavy and doom metal genre Bizilia and company are drawing from. Personally, I didn't care for his vocal style, but it sure fit the music and the lyrical themes.
In the end then, if anything, give Matthew Bizilia and Habitual Sins large kudos for re-interpretating the classic Eighties heavy doom metal genre for the new century. If that's your thing, you will probably enjoy this album.
If anything, give Matthew Bizilia and Habitual Sins large kudos for re-interpretating the classic Eighties heavy doom metal genre for the new century. If that's your thing, you will probably enjoy this album.
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