Homicide Black: Homicide Black
From the sleeve art of Homicide Black's self-titled debut, you might be led to think they're one of the many new bands in the still up-and-coming United States black metal (USBM) scene, what with the decrepit church and ominous orange sky that envelops it like a growing flame. Surprisingly, though, they're just the opposite, based both on their traditional metal sonic and the cynical view of metal they espouse. According to the band, metal has—until their appearance, of course—lacked "the epic stature it once had," due in large part to the "musical wasteland" that is metal current. The goal of Homicide Black is to thus "revive the generation that was left for dead."
Now, it's true that traditional heavy metal isn't as prevalent as it once was; with the rise of progressive rock in the '00's and the continual growth of black and doom metal, it's understandable that it appears dwarfed in comparison. But to say that old-school ways have been left in a "wasteland" is a little disingenuous; after all, one of 2012's best metal LPs was Dawnbringer's Into the Lair of the Sun God, and other well-received albums by groups like Grand Magus are evidence enough that traditional, NWOBHM-inflected metal are far from dead.
Still, despite the crotchety old man apocalyptic rhetoric of their press materials, Homicide Black clearly love and are devoted to the cause of traditional metal, which they perform with gusto on this record. Fans of Iron Maiden, Dio, and Black Sabbath will have a field day with this one; while groups like Dawnbringer and Hammers of Misfortune are of much higher caliber as far as traditional styles are concerned, Homicide Black is a thoroughly fun affair, chock full of galloping riffs, shred-heavy solos, and plenty of macabre imagery. The vocals here are also worth noting; though it's easy for any singer labeled "operatic" to give in to very un-metal showboating, the vocals here are likely to appease any fans of Ronnie Dio or Bruce Dickinson, and they are performed without excessiveness or tired pastiche.
So while Homicide Black's conservative view of the way metal is may be groan-worthy, their music certainly isn't; if anything, it's how successful they are at traditional metal that proves it never died in the first place.
2. Spirits of the Dead
3. Sinner or Saint
4. The Tower
5. Church on the Hill
6. Fairies Wear Boots
8. Serpent's Dance
10. Wheel of Time
11. Well of Souls
Added: January 11th 2013
Reviewer: Brice Ezell
Related Link: Band Website
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