|Folk Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Power Metal
March 20th, 2009
Release length: 40:23
Everything with this release sounds like Children Of Bodom, except for the keyboards which have a slightly folk sound to them instead. Even the vocalist sounds like a fitting replacement for Alexi Laiho. Some of the bridges and keyboard solos on this album do sound different, whether it is because the keyboards are done so fans can do a jig in the mosh pit like on “Allegiance”, or a simple guitar chord that sticks out, like the nicely placed one during the chorus of “Scarlet To Snow”.
There are some songs on here that seem as though Blackguard is trying to establish their originality, like “I Demon”, but fail. But with that, and everything else, being said about this release, we should concentrate on some positives here. The music is actually really good, the best way to describe it would be around the era of Follow The Reaper by Children Of Bodom. The keyboard solos are good, but, surprise, not the greatest. Sure some of the may cause you to suddenly break out into a pirate jig, but other then that the keyboards are more for a symphonic background feel then for a solo. The drumming, however, is easily the best aspect of the CD. Songs like “The Sword” definitely benefit from the rapid fire double bass, and some of the guitar riffs are rather impressive as well.
One turn off on the release is the vocals. While the higher pitched, rhaspy shouts work with the music, it seems the vocalist enjoys to mix things up sometimes. Take “Vain” for instance, not only does the vocalist shout in the aforementioned high pitch, but also concentrates on doing gutteral on an entire verse. While mixing things up is usually a good idea, the gutteral vocals really aren’t all that great. This song also features a keyboard solo that one may expect to hear as background music to a science fiction-based game on the old Nintendo Entertainment System.
Really, Blackguard is just not all that impressive an act. While, yes, the music is pretty good and very catchy, but if you’re looking for something original, this release will be a big let down. The band has talent, but, unless this Children Of Bodom worshipping act is the band members in disguise, it would greatly benefit them to quickly break the mold and create a different sound.
01. Scarlet To Snow – 5:44
02. This Rounds On Me – 4:15
03. Allegiance – 4:33
04. I Demon – 3:14
05. The Sword – 4:56
06. In Time – 3:24
07. Cinder – 3:39
08. Vain – 5:14
09. The Last We Wage – 5:24
|Overall Score: 9.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.