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Ann My Guard - Innocence Descent

Ann My Guard
Innocence Descent
by Daniel Fox at 29 September 2014, 8:20 PM

Before ANN MY GUARD, the only Hungarian metal musician known to me was MAYHEM's Atilla. One must forgive my ignorance, but Hungary's name isn't exactly 'out there' in the metal world. Nonetheless, this female-fronted quartet have, after 8 years, come out with their first full-length album. Is it another WITHIN TEMPTATION-or-EPICA-or-NIGHTWISH homogenised hodge-podge of self-dubbed Symphonic Rock, the waves of which are drowning out truly talented, lesser-known bands just as worthy of recognition, such as TRISTANIA and DELAIN? Fortunately, not at all. But it remains to be seen if they will 'wow' one enough to make their mark.

Initial impressions of the album were largely pleasant ones. The second track, the first (and most obvious) hint at metal to be found on this album is "Grey Witch". All up, it's an incredibly well-crafted, hard-hitting mix of hard rock and melodic metal with swinging drums and well-placed heavy riffs attacks. The vocals, however, I don't get them. Vocals are typically the selling point of an album for me, and the vocals on this album annoy me. Not because they're bad, far from it. I simply do not GET them. The singer has a pleasant voice in her own right, well-suited for slow and dreamy ballads, but the power needed for the more hard-hitting tracks such as this one, and "HKA Bitch" is almost non-existent. The latter, almost punk-like, contains the music of an angry, teenage Punk rocker, and even they typically belt with more conviction.

I guess, what I am trying to get at, is this album's inconsistency; it is an irritating paradox. Part thrilling and enthralling, part cliche and boring. At least the band's musicians are clearly top notch; "Grey Witch", "Gone" and "Circles" are exemplary of this; not strictly show-offs, but deftly weave subtle and intricate riffs into multi-textured arrangements. That much I must commend them on. The vocals themselves have high points, found especially in the ballady "Hollow Red", and the hard-hitting "Easy", perhaps my favorite track on the album, with very well-crafted choruses and interactions between multi-layered vocals and choppy riffs, with quite the LACUNA COIL vibe.

The best way I can describe this piece is an average album with good tracks, excellent tracks, and nigh-unlistenable tracks. A great album is at least, for the most part, consistent, and I don't feel that this album has attained that level of consistency. Which is unfortunate, because a good number of the tracks on here are excellent.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Enchant
2. Grey Witch
3. Dark Sea Blue
4. Ivory Ballad
5. Crush Honey
6. Morgana's Song
7. Hollow Red
8. My Lullaby
9. Easy
10. HKA Bitch
11. Fallen
12. Gone
13. Circles
Lineup:
Eszter Anna Baumann - Vocals, Bass, Flute, Keys
István Tagcherer - Guitars
Krisztián Varga - Guitars
Joci Vadász - Drums
Record Label: Smash Fabric Records
     


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