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Spreading Dread - Age Of Aquarius

Spreading Dread
Age Of Aquarius
by Lauren Fonto at 29 September 2016, 8:53 PM

“Age of Aquarius” is the second album of underground Czech metallers SPREADING DREAD. They explore the themes of societal degradation, as well as cosmic cycles of creation and destruction. They combine the genres of thrash metal, death metal, and rock; I was interested to hear if they managed to maintain coherency throughout the album.

Overall, the mix of genres blends well, but at times it felt as though the band was trying to do to many things within the confines of one song. As a result, some of the tracks felt too long, even when they were under six minutes in length. A notable example is “State of the Art”, which feels somewhat incoherent. “Conspiracy” had some great ideas, but felt like it dragged on. And while the “explosion” motif makes more than one appearance, it’s used judiciously and so doesn’t become gimmicky.

A strong suit of SPREADING DREAD is their ability to interweave melody with the heavier elements. Miroslav Korbel brings some good guttural vocals to the mix, but he also does some great clean vocal harmonies (presumably joined by Simon Ktorc on backing vocals). “Karmic Wheels” has a slower interlude which ushers in some harmonized clean vocals; the cleans have a distinctive feel – somewhat hazy, like a noxious cloud slowly enveloping a dying world (the destruction of the Earth is a prominent theme on the album). Lukas Fujan does some engaging clean riffs on the album, and sprinkles in some interesting effects which add texture to the riffs. His solo on “Prayer for the Living” is beautifully done, with good use of reverb.

Fast, frenzied passages are handled well too, and contrast nicely with the slower, more melodic passages. “Devolution” literally explodes into being, and is a catchy number which will probably get heads banging. “Karmic Wheels” had me unable to resist tapping one foot in time with the bass drum. Speaking of drums, Karel Safarik is adept at transitioning between heavier and melodic passages with his well-placed drum flourishes. He also adds in lighter percussion on “State of the Art”, which adds interest to the quiet interlude on this track.

This album has many of the things I like in death metal band, namely a bit of melody and progressive elements. I feel that SPREADING DREAD is on the cusp of becoming something special, but unfortunately there were moments on this album that I couldn’t fully get into. I think that this a band with great potential, and I look forward to hearing their future work.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7




3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Birth of Consciousness
2. Devolution
3. Oil-stained
4. Conspiracy
5. Karmic Wheels
6. Prayer for the Living
7. State of the Art
8. Salvia Divinorum
Lineup:
Miroslav “Mirac” Korbel – Vocals (lead)
Simon Ktorc – Guitar, vocals
Lukas “Fuga” Fujan – Guitar
Tomas “Zaki” Zak – Bass
Karel “Safa” Safarik – Drums 
Record Label: Bret Hard Records
     


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