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Bedowyn - Blood of the Fall

Blood of the Fall
by Danny Sanderson at 12 April 2016, 1:58 AM

There are many times, as a reviewer, when you come across a band, hear their music, and immediately ask yourself, "Why the hell are these guys unsigned?"; the music is so unanimously catchy and hook-laden, the production so on point, and even the artwork is mind blowing. BEDOWYN are definitely one of these kinds of bands. The Raleigh, North Carolina based Stoner/Sludge act formed in 2011, and their debut EP, "Wolves & Trees", didn't sound like a debut at all. They'd established their own sound, something that most new bands aren't able to do until at least their second full length. Two years after this killer debut was first aired, they are back with their first album, "Blood of the Fall", and, to put it succinctly, it's fucking amazing.

"The Horde", a short, atmospheric piece made up of some heavily distorted, dark guitar lines and some cool keyboard sections, helps hook the listeners attention immediately and prepare them for the rest of the record. It leads seamlessly into the first full track on the record, "Rite to Kill", an amazing track with thundering drumming, thick, confidently played guitar hooks and some really powerful, bellowing vocals. It's a really strong, impressive opening statement with plenty of great, sludgy music on it, setting a lofty bar for the rest of the record. The third, titular song on this record is characterised by dancing drums, thick, catchy guitars and a nice progressive edge musically. The musicianship on all fronts is incredibly high here, and the soaring, sing along vocals give it a very monolithic sound. "Cotards Blade" makes great use of some cleaner guitar tones and provides the audience with a lot of sweet, melodious guitar licks that sound amazing. The song quickly settles into its own groove and it's hard not to appreciate all of the great music on offer on this particular song. "Leave the Living… For Dead" is another great piece of atmospheric, tar-like Sludge, which dishes out riffs liberally throughout the whole song. The dense, embittered vocal performances on this track compliments the tone and pace of the track perfectly, leading to a really solid, memorable track with a lot of great moments. This is quickly followed by the second of three instrumental tracks on the record, "For a Fleeting Moment", a short, mellow piece based around sweet acoustic guitar lines and some soft, ambient keys. The guitar lines on this brief track shift from a peaceful, melodic affair to a much more dissonant and eerie one as the track progresses, creating a sense of tension and anticipation for the listener that makes what would otherwise me a small piece to break the album up one of the records many stand out tracks.

"Where Wings Will Burn" initially continues in this vein, but very quickly shifts into a much more mid-tempo, melodic song with a lot of cool twin guitar riffs that draw the listener into the song straight away. This is a song where the guitar lines really have a lot of room to breath and do their own thing, and this helps make this a really interesting song that incorporates a lot of different playing styles and tones. "I am the Flood" has a slightly softer tone, and again has a lot of amazing musicianship on all fronts. The drumming at points illustrates a great deal of technical prowess and ability, and there's some very strong, palpable guitar and vocal hooks that make this stand out significantly in this array of already excellent music. "Halfhand" starts on a really atmospheric acoustic guitar line, with the rest of the music slowly building around it. The vocals on this track deserve a mention here, because they are so varied, haunting and sound absolutely incredible. In fact, they are done so well that they carry the song at various points of the track. The clean ones have something about them that brings to mind bands like WOODS OF YPRES, and the harsh vocals, although used sparingly, are thick as tar and dripping with venom. By the end, the music has built to epic climax of confidently performed guitar lines, juggernaut drums and the aforementioned vocals. This is easily the best song on the whole record. The penultimate song on this excellent album, "Lord of the Suffering", falls short of having that amazing, record peak feeling that most second to last tracks should have, but it is nonetheless a really good song. If it were not for the fact that this was preceded by the albums best song, I feel this could have had the desired effect. The final track, "The Horde (Exodus)" is a distortion heavy, morose piece of music that closes this record in style. The riffs and the sound are great, and its got an awesome, atmospheric quality to it that leaves the listener wanting more as the music fades away.

This is a very, very good album, not just from a musical perspective, but also production wise. The production is really crisp and polished, and it really brings out some of the smaller and more subtle nuances in the music. The music has a bit of an air of middle era MASTODON about it, but this is far from a carbon copy or imitation; BEDOWYN have their own distinct sound and style that sets them head and shoulders above many underground bands out there. It's surprising, almost criminal, that this band is, at the time of writing this review, still unsigned. There's plenty of potential for this band to become a great, well loved, internationally recognised outfit, and I sincerely hope that with albums like this, their talent and musical skill will come to be appreciated by a much larger audience.

4 Star Rating

1. The Horde
2. Rite to Kill
3. Blood of the Fall
4. Cotard's Blade
5. Leave the Living…For Dead
6. For a Fleeting Moment
7. Where Wings Will Burn
8. I am the Flood
9. Halfhand
10. Lord of the Suffering
11. The Horde (Exodus)
Todd Parham- Bass
Marc Campbell- Drums
Mark Peters- Guitars
Alex Traboulsi- Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards on "For a Fleeting Moment
Geoff Dean- Keyboards
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 29 November 2022

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