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XIII - Helltongue

by YngwieViking at 16 May 2013, 1:03 PM

Everyone here and elsewhere is aware about my passion and even my fascination for all things coming from mighty Scandinavia, for me and in my very humble opinion this northern part of the world is the supreme cradle of all the improvements that I love in Metal, some will argue that bands from Scandinavia are numerous but they never invented anything really new. Maybe, but their dedication and their obvious talent are always uplifting and in constant focus toward expansion and development instead of repeating the same formula over and over.

Formed upon the ashes of Helsinki’s DROP FORGE, XIII is a ferocious vehement bunch of musicians that played some extreme unrelenting crushing Modern Metal. Not my favorite everyday style but once in a while I'm going for that raw type of savage steel with undeniable pleasure. This is exactly what XIII is doing, with a faithful behavior, expanding with respect trying to catch the next level while playing a king of Groove / Thrash Metal that is coming all the way from the American roots but updated and embellished by some Hardcore European flavors and finally the whole is floating into that special intangible Nordic ambient vibe. Think the smuggling Finland version of THE HAUNTED meets DEARLY BEHEADED meets MACHINE HEAD.

It is not exactly that they reinvented the genre, far from that. However, XIII provides enough hooks and finely chiseled elements to keep things interesting throughout, in fact, there is enough adrenaline drenched riffing axe and sick vocals full of anger to satisfy most here. The main issue is that after 20 minutes or so, it became apparent that XIII is constantly playing the same pattern, the freshness of the early tracks is now a bit missing for a quite regular and darker option, but luckily the end of the album is better again with some great moments: the creeping pace of “Demon Avenue” is a good demonstration of that, with a recycled METALLICA’s recipe but clearly modernized and optimized.

3 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Phantom Pain
3. The Circle of Snakes
4. The Last Messiah
5. Gemini
6. Dark Utopia
7. The Valley of Death
8. Iconoclast
9. The Scapegoat
10. Post Scriptum
11. Demon Avenue
12. The Ghost
13. Deathgrip
Kristian Juuso – Guitar / Lead Vocals
Jari Härkönen – Lead Guitar
Simo Partanen – Bass
Petteri Lammassaari – Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records


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