|Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
January 29th, 2013
Release length: 47:59
Since this is a self-released album, the production isn’t that top notch, but it’s still pretty solid. The music as a whole sounds like something out of the mid-2000’s, being a little rougher as the digital technology became more widely used and fine tuned for clarity. The guitars have a nice mixture of cleaner leads and noisy, somewhat sharper distortions, and the bass guitar is a decent level against them with a somewhat deeper tone that can easily be picked up on. The snares of the drums have a tight snap to them, and the cymbals are pretty crisp, as well as loud, crashing well above the rest of the instruments, including the clickingh of the bass kicks. Finally, the vocals come through above almost everything, showing some range between a harsher performance, and some cleaner segments.
Right away, you can pick up on a strong Shadows Fall influence. It’s simply undeniable. But, that doesn’t make it a bad thing. In fact, some of the songs here end up a little more aggressive, and even catchier. This is something that greatly benefits the obvious war theme of the album. “Seventh Weapon” introduces the listener to faster material full of catchy riffs and intensity, the double bass kicks pounding like machine gun fire, eventually giving way to infectious hooks and melody through the chorus that doesn’t let the pace up for a second. “Collapse of an Empire” does try to change things up a bit with a more epic stance. The six plus minute song is still rather catchy, though not afraid to throw some colder atmospheres at the listener. There’s a good couple of impressive solos, and an extended breakdown style passage towards the end that just makes things a bit burdening. The length also doesn’t pose a problem, as there’s still plenty going on through the track, as well as enough enthusiasm to keep you attentive, even when it suddenly stops and slams right into the start of the eighties Heavy Metal introduction of “Red Skies,” an atmosphere that doesn’t last long at all, which is a real shame.
There’s no denying Tides of War is also heavily patterned: Aggressive verse and/or bridge, highly melodic chorus, varied breakdowns and solos but largely in similar spots. There’s actually few songs here that don’t follow that template, and they are during the three part set about half way through. “Revillusion (1905)” starts things off with a march to war in the drumming, eventually shifting to an aggressive, somewhat chugging approach that has some chanting here and there. The chorus is a bit melodic, but only in the lead riffs, using the machine gun-like bass kicks to set up a darker tone compared to others. There’s an instrumental next with “Snow Falls on the White River (1914),” which acts as a reflectve piece before “Severing the Bloodline (1917),” another somewhat darker track kicks in, but also a more generic one. There isn’t much that stands out here, just being a slower paced song with a slightly epic atmosphere thanks to the leads, which are pretty cliche. This set, however, sticks out like a sore thumb, having an obviously different atmosphere than the rest of the album, and when “Collapse of an Empire” kicks in, you can immediately tell things have reverted back to the start.
Let’s just face it, Tides of War is basically a new mid-2000’s Shadows Fall album, right down the production detail. But, even though this isn’t that unique a recording overall, it’s still one of the best Melodic Death Metal/Thrash Metal albums to come out in recent years. This recording is nothing but energetic, hook-driven songs that have a good deal of intensity and aggression here and there, all working together to make almost every song stay lodged in your brain just as long as the album will stay lodged in your car stereo, or repeat on your MP3 player. And, if Tides of War is any indication of what Chariots of the Gods are capable of, it’s easy to say that this band is going to make it big, so keeping an eye on this group is pretty much mandatory starting right now.
01. Overture – 1:19
02. Seventh Weapon – 3:43
03. Blind Assassin – 3:21
04. Ambrosian Wings – 4:14
05. Tides of War – 3:20
06. Revillusion (1905) – 4:26
07. Snow Falls on the White River (1914) – 1:39
08. Severing the Bloodline (1917) – 3:31
09. Collapse of an Empire – 6:14
10. Red Skies – 3:10
11. Nebula – 0:59
12. Starborn – 3:24
13. Unbound (feat./ Aleksi Sihvonen) – 3:54
14. Annihilation of the Gods – 4:45
|Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10