Pure Steel Records
Words: Craig Hartranft
You know they're out there. Traditional heavy metal bands from within America. Lurking about in the deep forests of the underground metal scene. You just have to find them because you sure as spit aren't going to get any help from the mainstream American music industry. Thankfully, our wiser European cousins are keeping watch. Pure Steel Records, Germany's purveyor of "true" metal, has found Connecticut's As Darkness Dies.
The band arrives with their self-titled debut of traditional American melodic heavy/power metal. The band is built around some New England heavy metal vets and, curiously, includes a jazz drummer in Harry Blackwell. His father, and teacher, Ed Blackwell played with Ornette Coleman, the notable American jazz saxophonist. That's enough to impress me. Be sure to expect some press rhythm and groove in ADD's tunes.
And that's just the start. Being old school from the start, As Darkness Dies's heavy metal begins with the fundamentals of melody and harmony, notably in the twin guitars and solid vocal harmonies (provided by music veteran Martin O'Brien). Then there's the pace of speed for some generous galloping power metal. That's not to say everything's a bullet train. Searching For Life, High Road, or better Other Side, are songs dailed back to a moderate pace. The latter a metal anthem. Additionally, to the trad metal mix, there's the brisk dueling guitar solos. That, of course, is the stuff that makes classic heavy metal both true and legendary.
Then, in the best classic metal tradition, there's also the tried and true attempt at an epic song arrangement. You know, the kind that opens nearly solemnly than rises to bombastic portions. That song would be World Of Decay. It begins with a bristling guitar solo over lighter rhythm, but also a smooth clear bass line. Then it kicks with speed and riffs of thunder. For good measure, about six minutes, toss in a sweet drum and bass breakdown and let give way to more epic soloing. Did I mention the choral-like vocal harmonies? All good stuff. I've given it away, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Life Incomplete is another song made successful by the pairing of vocal harmony with guitar harmony. Alternatively, if just want to get rousing and charging, with bracing riffs and rumbling drums putting the heavy into your metal, Black Death and Demons are spot on and fierce, yet still in the wrapper of melody and harmony. Indeed. As Darkness Dies' debut album is pretty much exactly how classic American melodic power metal should be done. Call it a textbook example for the tradition well-appointed for this modern age. Recommended.
As Darkness Dies' debut album is pretty much exactly how classic American melodic power metal should be done. Call it a textbook example for the tradition well-appointed for this modern age. Recommended.
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