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Halcyon Way - Bloody but Unbowed

Halcyon Way
Bloody but Unbowed
by Eric Poulin at 25 July 2018, 6:21 PM

For one of the rare times I actually know about this band before reviewing their album. They actually have been in Montreal a number of times and opened for bands like EVERGREY and ANGRA. They have a strong following and have been at it for more than 15 years. This is their fourth full-length album and first since 2014. Their sound is a mix of old ELDRITCH and very early EVERGREY. In a sense, they are more Progressive Metal driven than both of these bands but the catchy choruses and overall feeling made me think of these two bands at the beginning. They seemed to have continued in the vein of the previous album, “Conquer”; a lot of the aggressive shredding mixed with some really catchy stuff. It's not for everyone and the evolution isn't quite as present as many fans would have liked, nonetheless. It's more a follow-up than a progression and I consider it as a step down but it still is a very solid effort. The emotional driven vocals of Steve Braun make sure to grab the attention of the listener at the forefront. He bellows and has such passion in his voice, something you come and think of about Progressive Metal. You have to have a very powerful singer to go along with the sound of the band and he is the right fit that's for sure.

I don't know why they started with a song that's not even 2 minutes long and it has some vocals on it. I probably would have preferred an instrumental song to begin the album because I thought the beginning was really good. Made me think about “The Hellion” back in the day for JUDAS PRIEST; it was very reminiscent of this. This album would have benefited from a better opener than this one, unfortunately. My favorite song of the album is by far, “Slaves to Silicon”; it's like an odd to the false prophets, the hypocrites; what's fake about people and society. The message is really clear and I thought it was thought provoking. This song is the perfect example on how the band sounds most of the time on their previous efforts. A bit of PANTERA, mixed with some Prog Metal goodies.  If you like DIGITAL RUIN, I know, I know, it’s an obscure reference but they are pretty much in the same genre but with a better singer. DIGITAL RUIN was standouts in the beginning of the 2000’s for Inside Out but faded away, unfortunately. If you want something in the Progressive Metal genre but isn't overly technical, this band might be a buried treasure for you. If you are more of a DREAM THEATER fan, well, I don't know if you'll find what you are looking for.

The production isn't as good as hoped; I felt the lead guitar was burying a bit the vocals unfortunately. It's not too shabby but I felt some things were quite right and could have been much better. It's still a very good album overall with interchangeable pieces. No real evolution but a continuation of some pretty good Progressive Metal with some aggressive Thrash elements mixed with good ole Groove Metal. Not groundbreaking but I think longstanding fans will get a kick out it nonetheless.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability:   7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Deevolutionize
2. Bloody but Unbowed
3. Blame
4. Slaves to Silicon
5. Superpredator
6. Ten Thousand Ways
7. The Church of Me
8. Cast Another Stone
9. Crowned in Violence
10. Burning the Summit
11. Desolate
Skyler Moore - Bass
Jon Bodan - Lead Guitar
Max Eve - Rhythm Guitar
Aaron Baumoel - Drums
Steve Braun - Vocals
Record Label: Agonia Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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