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Greybeard - Oracle

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 July 2020, 8:56 AM

From their promo sheet, GREYBEARD is “a thunderous machine, pumping as much old-school groove as modern musicianship, GREYBEARD weaves roaring riffs and slithering solos, while tales of tyrants and tragedies spew forth. “Oracle” is a concept album that spins an epic story about cowardice, betrayal, relentless pursuit, and vengeance. A village oracle makes a deal with a dark, supernatural power and when he can't keep up his end of the bargain, the dark power seeks him out… this is a Dungeons and Dragons adventure, in song format. The album contains eight tracks.

“Vision” leads off the album, with thick and weighted guitars and bass. Dissonant tones abound. I wasn’t expecting the harsh vocals, but there they are. Rhythmically, it is a mid-tempo song without a lot of melody. It slows towards the end, with bass guitar and a lead guitar solo done with dexterous fingers. “Unspeakable” is another mid-tempo song that pays homage to the giants of yesteryear. But, the harsh vocals give it an edge. The riffs however are just a bit too predictable. “Craven” brings a little more of the same, though the guitars do have a little variation. About a minute in, double bass drums rumble like thunder in the sky. They are very good about the power in their music, but not so much the melody.

“Truth” is yet another mid-tempo song. Too many of these in a row can cause the “mid-tempo blues” as I call it. You get a little variation from the guitars here, but not much else. They lay on the main riff for the most part, but the female vocals add a nice touch. The guitar solo is almost there. “Solitude” is a short instrumental, consisting of clean, doleful guitars and an overall somber feeling. The quest is stuck, with no way out. They lay down their weapons and wait for a sure death. “Eternal” is another track stuck in the mid-tempo blues. This can really kill an album from the start, because what you get is eight tracks without much variation. One thing the band is short on is imagination.

“Vengeance” opens with clean vocals, then comes the harsh vocals. This song definitely has an element of sadness to it, but also determination. The contrast between the clean vocals and the harsh ones give this song at least something a bit different, but again is dragged down by the mid-tempo pace. “Heiress of the Night” closes the album, at close to nine minutes in length. It’s a little faster in pace and the guitar solo is a little better done here, but again, just repetitive riffs and the moments of melody don’t last long enough. The ambient passage is nice and it does build to a crescendo. It might be the best song on the album.

Melodic Death Metal, huh? I’m not so sure. Perhaps not in the most modern definition. There were some strong moments here, and I love the clean female vocals, as they keep the songs from falling completely flat. But too many mid-tempo songs mire down the album as a whole into a forgettable experience. They have the talent to do so much more but they first need to establish their identity…are they comfortable just being another run-of-the-mill Melodic Death Metal band? Or, do they want to reach out brazenly and establish a new path? These questions must be addressed first before the band can be spoken about as standing out in the genre.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. Vision
2. Unspeakable
3. Craven
4. Truth
5. Solitude
6. Eternal
7. Vengeance
8. Heiress of the Night
Amanda Bourdon – Bass, Vocals
Casey Rogers – Drums
Guy Onreat – Guitar
Ross Andersen – Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 30 November 2022

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