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Concrete Age – Bardo Thodol

Concrete Age
Bardo Thodol
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 January 2023, 1:57 AM

From their EPK, “Bardo Thodol, the Tibetan Book of the Dead is a funerary text whose lessons form a pathway to guide souls through death to rebirth. It teaches of a state between life and death, an intermediary realm of essential wisdom, terrors, traps; the potential to ascend to bliss or fall into torment. “Bardo Thodol” is also the name of the new album from CONCRETE AGE, a band that exist between the sub genres of metal, who walk in hidden places exploring musical territories that few can even dream of. They invite listeners to journey with them through the unseen realms, to confront truth, to weigh the questions of life and death in their hands, to peer into the darkness and gaze upon the light.” The album has ten songs.

“Hex” is the first. The opening tones have an Eastern feeling to them. Once the song gets going, it sounds most like Thrash Metal to me, especially in the vocals and the way the guitars are played. The Eastern sounds return again in the chorus. “True Believer” has a deeper and darker sound. The vocals change from shouts to fry, and this gives the song a bit of an edge. Again, those Eastern sounds return in the chorus. “Threads of Fate” begins with more of those Eastern tones and instruments, which appear to be authentic. A heavy and aggressive riff follows, with more guttural vocals. There is an instrumental section of more Ethnic instrumentation.

“Lullaby for a Dream” features a nice mix between the traditional Ethnic instruments and metal sounds, perhaps more so than any other song so far. But the Thrash leanings are keeping the sound somewhat grounded. The title track begins much the same way as other songs have, and the sound is quite similar as well. This is one thing that I often complain about on an album, and typically means that the band is content with doing this. The instrumental section however is very nicely done. “Ridge of Suffering” is a little slower, but still retains much of the same sound. The riffs are quickly becoming elementary and ones that you have heard before. The twist in the band’s sound is interesting, but it’s not enough to overtake the re-hashed riffs.

“Thunderland” opens with heavy and meaty bass notes, leading to a muscular sound. The sound is at least a little different but the bottom end is where the riffing is similar. “Bezdna ot Ludost” closes the album; a short two-minute blast with some fancy fretwork. The band’s all-out display of musicianship in this song is noteworthy, and the timing is excellent. Overall, this is unfortunately another example of how simple, re-hashed riffs can ruin a promising sound. The traditional Ethnic instruments are a change of pace, but aren’t enough to overcome the elementary nature laid down beneath it.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. Hex
2. Purity
3. True Believer
4. Threads of Fate
5. Trite Puti
6. Lullaby for a Deadman
7. Bardo Thodol
8. Ridges of Suffering
9. Thunderland
10. Bezdna ot Ludost
Ilia Morozov – Vocals/Guitars/Ethnic Instruments
Boris Zahariev – Guitars
Giovanni Ruiu – Bass
Davide Marini – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 04 February 2023

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