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Beastwars: Blood Becomes Fire

These guys are a really heavy band and deserve the comparisons they receive to acts like Mastadon and Unsane, though their songwriting skills are nowhere near as innovative and interesting. To my ears they sound more like Kingdom of Sorrow. The singer is no Jamey Jasta, but he does sound a bit like Kirk Windstein who sings with a strain in his voice, as though performing at the edge of his breath. Just listen to the first couple of tracks and the comparison between the two bands will seem obvious. The vocals here come from that same, stretching, yearning place.

Unfortunately, the vocals aren't always consistently performed with the same intensity from track to track. At times, they are too clean and too soft, ballad-like. I wanted to hear the singer draw more from the power of his voice and not slow things down too much. To me, these quieter moments were less convincing, mostly because the overall heavy core of the music seemed missing.

In their native New Zealand, Beastwars is making quite a splash and this, their sophomore release, has a lot riding on it. Fans and critics alike want to know if their initial praises were well spent. I don't know the first album, but I can say that this is a solid release, if a little inconsistent at times. The first album was quickly heralded both for its music and its killer cover artwork. This album has an equally cool cover and offers up several songs that are heavy, riff-centered, deliberate, and bold. The band doesn't break any musical ground, but they don't generally disappoint. They could stand to beef things up a bit more, to give their guitar parts even more strength. They've got the heaviness, but could add a little more groove. As I mentioned above, the album is occasionally inconsistent, giving listeners some slower, quieter passages that don't quite fit the overall stoner doom mood. Nevertheless, the final track "The Sleeper," makes the most of the band's slower, mellower, moods. For this band a their best, though, check out "Dune" and "Imperium."

Track Listing:
1. Dune
2. Imperium
3. Tower of Skulls
4. Realms
5. Rivermen
6. Caul of Time
7. Ruins
8. Blood Becomes Fire
9. Shadow King
10. The Sleeper

Added: March 23rd 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1257
Language: english

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