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Blazon Rite - Endless Halls Of Golden Totem

Blazon Rite
Endless Halls Of Golden Totem
by Paul LaPlaca at 04 July 2021, 6:54 PM

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear this band might be, “Holy shit, that guy sounds like Dennis De Young from STYX! That might not be the comparison you want for a traditional/ power metal band but the throaty, low tenor growl of vocalist Johnny Haliday is a welcome relief from the glass-shattering scream of many vocalists in this genre. There is a theatricality and sincere drama to his delivery that will win you over even if this isn’t your particular style of music.

BLAZON RITE pays tribute and honor to a specific style and time in metal and deftly walks a fine line with the production and mix provided by the outstanding Rich Scott at 8th House Recordings. The guitars are dark and oppressive, the drums boomy and drenched in reverb but the sound also has a modern edge with crystal clarity and polish. Formed in 2019, this Philadelphia band is firmly grounded in tradition without sounding dated or trite. Their debut, four-song EP, "Dulce Bellum Inexpertis," received a worldwide release through Gates of Hell Records and was well regarded. They are hoping lighting will strike twice on this, their full-length debut.

The album starts off with the driving yet haunting “Legends of Time and Eidolon” thanks to the tasteful and judicious use of organic, analog synth tones that are peppered throughout the whole track list and are really transportative, bringing you back to the late 70’s. The song builds to a blistering guitar solo and galloping drum beat that will have fists raised and heads bobbing.

This is followed by “Put Down Your Steel (Only for the Night)”, and the verse melody is so catchy and infectious I challenge you not to sing along on the second pass. For as much as some power metal can come across as a bunch of guys trying way too hard to look and sound “tough”, BLAZON RITE more than anything else feels fun. If pushing and shoving sweaty strangers in the first five rows of a pit is your idea of fun that is.

Up next is,  “The Executioners Woe” a straight-ahead banger with a short and sweet lead. There isn’t any fluff on this one. The video for this one is up on youtube but sadly falls short of the high bar the album production has set. The title track, “Endless Halls Of Golden Totem” really starts to lift off as the guitar starts taking on a more melodic role and you begin hearing more orchestrated, call and response parts. There’s a nice synth break in the middle and the guitar harmonies at 4:37 are a glorious lift-off to the stratosphere. This is probably my favorite track. There are so many twists and turns here you would think you were on the Pacific Palisades. This one borders on prog in the best ways with clearly defined sections of different tones and textures.

“The Night Watchmen of Starfall Tower” clomps along like trudging through knee deep snow, the lyrics bringing visions of Game of Thrones and Dungeons and Dragons. At the 2:22 mark, guitarists Kirn and Roe launch into an epic twin harmony attack that is, for me, the highpoint of the project. While the actual lead playing is great, it is when they treat the instruments as melodic storytellers that their parts come alive. More reminiscent of the genius of the late Mark Reale of RIOT than any obvious true metal comparisons, the compositional value of these sections cannot be overstated.

BLAZON RITE is a fine addition to the long legacy of traditional and power metal groups with a focus on battle imagery and fantasy topics. There is a lot here that separates them from the herd from the unique vocals to melodic guitar harmonies - it’s well worth a listen!

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

4 Star Rating

1. Legends of Time and Eidolon
2. Put Down Your Steel (Only for the Night)
3. The Executioners Woe
4. Endless Halls of Golden Totem
5. Alchemist's Brute
6. The Night Watchmen of Starfall Tower
7. Consumed by Glory Light
8. Into Shores of Blood
James Kirn - Guitar
Johnny Halladay - Vocals
Ryan Haley - Drums
Pierson Roe - Bass, Lead Guitar, Keyboards
Record Label: Gates of Hell Records


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Edited 05 December 2022

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