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Blacksword - Alive Again Award winner

Blacksword
Alive Again
by Kevin Lewis at 20 September 2021, 10:49 AM

BLACKSWORD is a Heavy/Power Metal band from Russia formed in 2005 (under the name STORMBRINGER). Changing their name in 2009, they put out a record in 2010, then waited a decade to put out their sophomore effort, Alive Again. Running just short of 50 minutes, Alive Again was released on July 30, 2021, via No Remorse Records.

The record starts with the anthemic song, “Iron Will.” This is a heavy song with fast rhythm and big guitars. The riff is full of great tones and the two guitarists really work well together. The vocals are clean, mostly lower in range, but do occasionally soar. The melodic interlude that feeds into the solos is really well done. This is a song that has a lot of depth, lots of layers and textures.

Cave Of the Witch” is next and it starts slower, but that’s deceptive. The riff kicks in hard and fast, then goes melodic, then back to heavy. The vocals use a lot of distortion here, but it fits with the guitar tones. The rhythm is again complex and shifts around a few times. The bass is spot on, transitioning the patterns at just the right time. This is well written and played.

Moving down to “Long Lost Days,” the tempo slows for the intro. The tuning appears to be the same, but the difference in the speed of the guitars gives a darker feel. After the intro, the song drops out to a slow burn. This is followed by another surge. The chorus picks up and drives the vocals alternate between clean and gritty, sometimes soaring to killer heights.

The Last Viking” reminds me a lot of NWOBHM with a dose of power metal thrown in. This song has a slightly different vibe, and I like it. It is not a radical change, just a different attitude. Then we get to the title track, “Alive Again.” That intro is awesome. It’s more doom-laden, a little sludgy. At eight minutes, this is the epic ending a power metal album needs. The backing vocals add a really nice touch to this one. The song is big, epic, intricate. It’s a full-on tale, taking the listener on a journey.

To finish the record off, the band does an instrumental that ventures out some from their norm. “The Crown of All” is an almost a symphonic piece, complete with sound effects, guitar layering unlike anything heard yet and orchestration woven through the composition. The string instruments are ethereal and haunting. Fading out to rain lets the album finish quietly, giving that sense of closure.

BLACKSWORD may have taken a long time to get their second record out, but the wait was worth it. This is a good album with a lot to offer. The instrumentation is excellent, and the songs are well written. This is a band that has taken the time to hone their craft and put out some high-quality music. I certainly hope the next record gets here faster this time!

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Iron Will
2. Cave of The Witch
3. Immortal Hero
4. Barbarian Born
5. Long Lost Days
6. Darkest Heart
7. The Last Viking
8. Alive Again
9. The Crown of All
Lineup:
Mike Livas – Vocals
Ivan Viking – Bass
Stanislav Volkov – Drums
Artem Omelenchuk – Guitar
Denis Grebenkin – Guitar
Record Label: No Remorse Records
     


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Edited 16 October 2021
 

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