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Blackstar Halo – Siren

Blackstar Halo
Siren
by Sergio Andrés at 31 October 2019, 10:39 PM

This new wave of Scandinavian Arena Metal delivers a pleasant amount of sensory delight. What most surprises me from this unit, is their voice, I can hear glimpses from almighty late singers like David Bowie and Warrel Dane.

The overall production has some minor flaws, like the snare tone and loudness war on the mastering process, but the songs are so prolifically crafted, that the small detail here and there doesn´t overshadow it.

“The Queen” starts with a typical fade-in effect (reminding some MNEMIC moments), but after that gruesome detail, we have a massive groove (open and closing hi-hat), and the Bowie above mentioned vocalizations. The chorus has some hooky lines with the likes of DISTURBED. The atmospheric keyboards inserted in some passages are very Brian Eno / Flood reminiscent, lovely arrangement. The final modulation on the chorus suggests that this is their radio-friendly track.

“Remedy” has that intercourse between raspy and growl vocals, which serves the sense of tension of the tune. Again, the chorus has that nu-something aura of the early '00s. The not-so-pleasant mechanized drum sound doesn´t do justice to this track. But besides that, it contains a wicked bridge with open A on the seven-string guitar. Again, another modulation towards the end. Whoever is in charge of the artistic direction of this band knows how to master every trick in the book.

“The King” sounds SO much like Warrel Dane material; I just googled to find out it if he sang here. Whoever sings it, gives the tune a gothic touch, very akin to people like SISTERS OF MERCY on steroids. “Wolf the Mender” is a skull crusher tune. Has every element that a hooky song should have, balls of steel riffs, a pounding groove (solid in the bass drum department), subdued yet crucial melodic keyboard arrangements, a classy chord progression and most importantly, a pitched vocalization. All those melancholic Gothic elements I praised before, are evident here. There are earlier ENTWINE elements, some BLACK melodies, even some mid-nineties TEARS FOR FEARS innuendos are displayed. Bottom line, this is an outstanding track.

“Downfall” rules out every doubt about how heavy these guys could be. Vicious drums and again, some DISTURBED detouring. “Intruder” goes under the same umbrella, but unfortunately abuses of the David Drainman influence, which is not a good thing, having this gifted Bowie-Esque singer wailing like a maniac.“Perdition´s Air” rocks almost in an illegal way. We have the baritone Geoff Tate voice, the drag-you-down riffs, the growl (correctly spotted), and abrasive double bass drums arrangements, results on a creative track. More modulation towards the end. Excellent anthemic guitar motif at the end. Lovely.

“Less than you” keep the bar raised, great vocal melodies, and creative MAIDEN influenced Aeolian themes. “The Other Side” is the muscular sledgehammer cut, and gosh, does close the record in a brutal fashion. With all the musical elements shinning here, I would have preferred a much crystal precise mix, but a great song is a great song.

This offering is one of the top records of the year, these guys deserve a chance on the big mainstream world, forget SLIPKNOT, get BLACKSTAR HALO.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Bleeding Red Door
2. The Queen
3. Remedy
4. The King
5. Wolf, The Mender
6. Downfall
7. Intruder
8. Perdition´s Air
9. Less than You
10. The Other Side
Lineup:
Ville Hovi - Vocals
Henri Rantanen - Bass
Dino Kullberg - Drums
Timo Eskelinen - Guitar
Dino Kullberg - Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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