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All Hallow’s Evil – No Gods, Only Monsters

All Hallow’s Evil
No Gods, Only Monsters
by Santiago Puyol at 20 April 2019, 4:59 PM

ALL HALLOW’S EVIL is an American one-man band that surely goes well with that kind of moniker. Everything might be written, sung and played by Jay G, but the whole thing feels like a communal effort; something that merits extra credit. The music is surely eclectic, taking from several Metal scenes and eras, all with an Experimental vibe at its core.

Distorted guitar and deep bass serves as a brief intro before chaos ensures on opener “No Gods, Only Monsters”. Jay G’s vocals are certainly dramatic in nature, evoking classic Heavy Metal singers, although his devilish harsh vocals and the pulsating, chaotic rhythm of the song put it right into the twenty-first century without a doubt.“In Your Name” brings more dynamism with layered soft, clean guitar sections. It’s a cool track with a memorable chorus and an almost-punky urgency that also brings to mind some GHOST songs.

“Two Graves” soft verses are menacing in nature. The depth of the basslines and the theatrical vocal work build tension before the release on an explosive chorus. A synth melody contributes to the eerie vibe. The last third of the song is some glorious, heavily textured Post-Metal. “Year of Our Lord” is a blast beat fest for at least half its length, yet it never feels inaccessible, in a way because of the powerful vocal melodies and the catchy riffing. The bass anchors the song once again, keeping it always moving even when the drumming gets less intense.

Things get a little crazier with “Road to Ruin”. This song is the harshest on the album from a vocal viewpoint, although the riffing gets more classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal inspired, giving it a more traditional edge. There is a little moment of lovely nylon guitar playing amid it as well as some effect-laden vocals, adding some Prog undertones. “Road to Ruin” ends up being tied with “Let’s Clog Their Streets with Our Dead”as the most seventies-inspired track, bringing to mind bands like LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH or JUDAS PRIEST in the instrumental work.

Meanwhile, the other three tracks on the album are the closest ALL HALLOW’S EVIL gets to writing ballads on “No Gods, Only Monsters”. “A Dark and Starless Heaven” has some beautiful piano and synths providing some light on the beautiful chorus; it’s almost Gothic in nature. Its “we’re all dying just to see how it ends” line, followed by the most passionate guitar solo in the album, is one of the highlights here.

“Yes, I Am Afraid” is another winner, an example of a poppier approach to songwriting that works perfectly. The thumping of the drums, vulnerable singing and beautiful clean guitars provide a melodic counterpoint to the heavier moments of the record. There’s still a dash of heaviness in the distortion of the bass or the gritty, emotional belting Jay G. does in the chorus and bridge of the song.

Closer “Only Shadows” follows a similar pattern, but it’sproggier than the previous track, with a few shifting moments in tempo. The METALLICA-ish, acoustic-led break a little over half the song works magnificently and crescendoes to an epic guitar fest. It happens to be an outstanding closer, with a dark, almost depressing tone that still manages to find light among the darkness.

The album seems to move from heavier, faster and shorter tracks on its first half to slower, longer and more melodic tracks on its second half, something that I truly appreciated. It fit the record, which could have a better flow if some transitions weren’t that rough, but still the tracklist makes a lot of sense. As the album grows softer, it seems to get more introspective too, and emotional; a clever trick to get the listener in a specific mood by the time “Yes, I Am Afraid” and “Only Shadows” arrive. That’s an example of a perfect one-two punch album closer.

The production isn’t an aspect of the album that I’d probably highlight, but it’s still really good. I love the bass mixing on the slower songs mainly and the presence of the drums on “Yes, I Am Afraid”.

“No Gods, Only Monsters” is a great album to listen in the dark, with eyes closed and a good pair of headphones. It’s certainly an album you can get lost into, even on its faster, more aggressive moments. There’s a lot of beauty in it, as well as a lot of pain.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. No Gods, Only Monsters
2. In Your Name
3. Two Graves
4. Year of Our Lord
5. Road to Ruin
6. A Dark and Starless Heaven
7. Let’s Clog Their Streets with Our Dead
8. Yes, I’m Afraid
9. Only Shadows
Lineup:
Jay G – Vocals, Multi-instrumentalist
Record Label: Independent
     


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