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Tension Rising - Penumbra

Tension Rising
Penumbra
by Kevin Lewis at 02 November 2020, 6:01 PM

TENSION RISING is a Heavy Metal band out of New York. Listing them as Heavy Metal in this instance is more of a catch-all for their overall sound, not just the one genre they fit into. Like many bands in this day and age, they have a variety of influences and it shows. Originally formed in 2008, Penumbra is their second full-length issue, which was independently released on September 7, 2020.

Right off the bat, you get “No Tears Shed”, a heavy, doom laden tune with a catchy riff and some melodic guitar work in the middle. The double bass work by the drummer is impressive. The bass chugs along underneath the guitars, lurking and thudding along like a beast waiting to pounce. This is a complex song that has a bit of a progressive vibe without being a prog song. This is a great opener for the record. It really sets a tone.

“Darkness Returns” is a more subtly heavy song. Still heavy, but with more intricate guitar work that sets it apart from their heavier work, while still crushing you. The vocals again stand out for their almost growl. Chris Garrigan uses that register just above a growl while staying just inside the clean range. It is not an easy line to straddle, but he does it. He also goes into clean and growl at will.

“Getting Out Of Hand” is one of the lighter songs on the record and is notable for it’s choice of going much more melodic than the rest of the record. Then you have “Masquerade”, the song that treads both of those paths. Heavy riff work with a more melodic chorus to showcase two different aspects of this group. “Anxiety” has some cool bass fills that add another dimension to the talent of this band. Alex Repetti is really good at hanging out below the riff and filling the sound out well, but can step to the front and hold your attention as well.

“No More Goodbyes” again goes more melodic before “Doomsayer” turns up the heat again. These guys can pull off both sounds well. It’s a testament to their influences and their talents. Nicky Van Page can shred or hold a tempo, whichever is needed to make the song hit its mark. The rhythm guitar works well with the lead guitar. There is no conflict, only complement. One of the best examples of the rhythm section doing an excellent job is the intro to the last track, “Your Lies Run Deep”. That lead line over the rhythm is awesome.

TENSION RISING may only have two albums out, but they have over a decade of experience. That fact shows with the compositions this band puts together. They are not amateurs trying to grab your attention, they’re seasoned veterans showing you what they can do. This is a really good record, especially for a sophomore effort. These guys should be in a wider circuit than just the New York/New England area. I would love to see them catch a national tour, maybe hit the European festival circuit in the next few years to see where they can take this.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  7


4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. No Tears Shed
2. Find The Betrayer
3. Darkness Returns
4. Knuckle U
5. Getting Out Of Hand
6. Masquerade
7. Anxiety
8. No More Goodbyes
9. Doomsayer
10. Your Lies Run Deep
 
Lineup:
Chris Garrigan – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Nicky Van Page – Lead Guitar
Alex Repetti – Bass/Backing Vocals
 
Record Label: Independent
     


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