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Vela - Cult of the Mountain Award winner

Vela
Cult of the Mountain
by Ross Donald at 04 August 2019, 9:03 PM

VELA are a melodic death metal band from Baltimore, Maryland and this is their second full length album. This follows on from their self-titled debut all the way back in 2013 and they’re back to show the world what they’ve got. For a specific sound to the band, they do have similar elements to bands like Parkway Drive and Whitechapel but sticks to the heavier parts.

The album starts off with “Terminus” and is a great opener as it shows you what the band has to offer while keeping you hungry for more. The vocal sections are excellent as the harshness just hits you right in the damn soul, and every other instrumental section just gleams with harmony. I’m liking what I’m hearing.

Next up is the title track and goes for a bit of a twist from what you’d expect from these kinds of bands as the lyrics go for more fantasy styled lyrics that you would expect more from a Dio release. It’s a fun track that even has a groovy bass solo and an awesome riffing guitar solo. An album highlight.

The highlights really don’t let up as this record continues with “Purge” and “Battle Cry” bringing the goods as the former starts with some eerie chanting before slamming us another hard hitting but shorter track, and the latter starts with a soft piano before diving into another big track that reminded me of classic Opeth in places. The vocals are really on point with a nice mix of harsh and clean vocals that never contradict each other.

“The Otherside” comes across as a more ballady style of track but don’t let that fool you as the harsh vocals haven’t gone anywhere and this can be one heavy ass track at points with guitars almost aiming for the doom metal style of heavy riffs. A great track with a real unique feel to it. After passing through the less unique but still rifftastically awesome “Death Knell”, we hit the longest and best track on the album: “Necromantic”. The song features a necromancer trying to sell his soul to a demon two minutes in. The softer middle section is so atmospheric and creepy as the necromancer is regretting his decisions before we’re taken back to the heavy stuff. I’m loving this album.

Sadly the next two tracks come across as a bit of filler after all this greatness. They aren’t bad at all but do feel like they could have been left out without sacrificing much on the album. Thankfully “Ezra” is a fine track to end things on with more outstanding instrumental moments and some sweet vocal harmonies, and even one last nice big guitar solo to send us on our way.

Overall I had so much fun with this album. There are so many highlight tracks with unique sounds and it would have been practically perfect if not for the filler tracks at the end. Still this is a band worth checking out with their unique sound and excellent songwriting. One of the best albums I’ve listened to this year.

Originality: 9
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Terminus
2. Cult of the Mountain
3. Purge
4. Battle Cry
5. The Otherside
6. Death Knell
7. Necromantic
8. Anarchy After All
9. Shift the Tides of Destruction
10. Ezra
Lineup:
Tim Bubb - Lead vocals, Bass
Eric Ferguson - Guitar
Nick Budosh - Vocals, Guitar
Scott Ferguson - Vocals, Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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