Monday, August 29, 2011

Balaclava - Just Short of Terrific

Despite the weird and rather unique band name, Balaclava isn't exactly a very unique sounding band. There are plenty of crust bands out there that make music that is similar to the songs found on "Crimes of Faith," but that doesn't take away from the quality of the material to be found here. Aggressive and fast crusty riffs come in abundance here, as well as some nice melodies, great drumming and doom-laden interludes. 

The best part about this record is definitely the way that the all of the instruments and vocals mesh so well together. The vocals are just as heavy as the riffs, which are all backed by some great drumming. Songs like "A Prophet" and "Throne of Grace" are perfect examples of this. The tracks are heavy and can easily get your headbanging, while successfully mixing in melodic riffs and solos similar to those found on Wolfpack's "A New Dawn Fades." The nine minute long "This City" features some catchy riffs as well as some clean guitar parts and doom inspired breaks to deliver another nice song.

But this album is not perfect and can definitely be improved. The main flaw is definitely Balaclava's tendency to drag out songs a lot longer than they need to be. The two near ten minute tracks, "This City" and "A Prophecy" are both victims of this. Both feature some great riffs as well as some nice melodies and breaks, but they are being dragged out for far too long. The doomy interludes could have been shorter and the intros could have also been a lot shorter, making for two much improved tracks. 

Overall, "Crimes of Faith" is a decent seven track crust album, but it could have been better with a few tweaks here and there. It should be no surprise that the best tracks on the record were the shorter, straightforward tracks that hit the listener right across the jaw. Those two tracks are "Throne of Grace" and "A Prophet." If Balaclava can fix these few issues that they had on this record, than they're next can prove to be a fantastic record in the crust realm. 

Be sure to check out Balaclava on Facebook and like their page!

Final Rating - 4.25/5 or 85%

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