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Bakken - This Means War

Bakken
This Means War
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 11 April 2020, 12:18 PM

BAKKEN is a 5-Piece Power Thrash Metal band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is their second full-length album and first since 2012. They did however release an EP back in 2014 called ‘’Worldwide Genocide’’ and they have been at it since 2011. I do believe this is the first album to feature Frank Levi as lead singer.

The band combines fierce aggression and the first traces of early era Power Metal. There is a lot of common Power Metal guitar techniques shown in the guitar solos like neo-classical-esque SYMPHONY X. They are used remarkably well here yet you have those classic Thrash Metal riffs and guitar solos as well. It’s pretty much the best of both worlds. This is arguably closer to the aggressive edge of Thrash Metal than any Power Metal influences (yet quite present nonetheless) and it’s a full-on assault from the rhythm section.

There are riffs upon riffs upon riffs on this an album, an obvious indication of the direction of the band going forward. They are certainly some of the tightest I have heard since the early ICED EARTH days. They are the type of band that sometimes go under the radar, which is a travesty because this is a solid Thrash Power Metal album. The singer sounds a bit like a mix of Gene Adam (formerly of ICED EARTH) and Russ Anderson from FORBIDDEN. He channels his rage yet he has that Power Metal energy in his voice. His voice compliments the rest of the music quite well.

The angst driven message from beginning to the end is very obvious. Northern Ireland are fighters, that haven’t had It easy and have had to show a lot of fighting spirit. It was a territory and religious war for a long time and some people were raised to hate the other part of Ireland. I know it’s a rough upbringing, so they did channel their rough times and yet you can feel the greater importance of the powerful message throughout this album. It’s an aggressive album with a lot of unbridled energy and profound depth. It’s a a nice balance and nothing is left to randomness. They have incorporated an impressive amount of melodies and dynamics into the songwriting yet spreads harsh riffs and hammering choruses.

The production is fine, nothing fancy, straight to the point and you don’t need something overly produced. Everyone’s performance shines through, both in terms of clarity and sheer passionate fury. If you like old school HELLOWEEN mixed in with ICED EARTH, this is a must have!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. This Means War
2. Cold Blooded Murder
3. Star Machine
4. Evil Walks This Way
5. In Requiem
6. Two-Edged Blade
7. We Fight
8. Storm Angels
Lineup:
Niall McGrotty – Drums
Thomas Alford – Bass
Simon Pickett – Guitars
Frank Levi – Vocals
Shaun Nelson - Guitars
Record Label: Independent
     


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