Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Thousand Year War - Tyrants and Men
Epic. Heavy. Dark. These are all acceptable adjectives when describing Thousand Year War on their debut album "Tyrants and Men." These Alaskan metallers are most often compared to one of the biggest metal acts today: Amon Amarth, and that is not completely accurate. Thousand Year War definitely shares similar traits (melodic tremolos, lyrical content, etc) but for the most part, they retain their own identity, and most importantly, their own sound.
What is this sound? Well for starters, the riffs range from fast, melodic tremolo madness to heavy, crushing riffs, all the way to thrashing riffs and some nice melodic headbangers. Accompanying the guitars, is a savage black metal influenced vocal assault. The vocals do a stellar job of commanding the music and changing the music's direction at times. Even at Thousand Year War's most melodic moments, the vocals can make the music seem heavy. The drums also manage to stand out with some nice fills and they add to the overall heaviness quite well.
The best part about this record, though, would have to be the epic atmosphere and the way that it adds a whole other layer to the music. Normally this isn't something that serves as a selling point (personally), but the ambiance almost appears as another instrument. Songs like "Spartacus" and "The Sea" tend to reflect this the most. The listener can practically visualize the lyrical content perfectly, while headbanging at the same time. But how is this sound achieved? It's basically from the combination of the extreme vocals and the melodic riffs. The heaviness of the vocals with the guitar melodies mix for the ideal sound needed to make "Tyrants and Men" as good as it is.
As for what didn't click so well with the album. Sometimes the sons just seemed bland and lacked inspiration, like the band needed a filler or generic riff to fill a void, or sometimes a whole song was used as a filler track ("The Storm I Ride"). Another thing that could have been improved is the overall song structuring. Almost all of the tracks followed the same pattern or were just plain predictable. There weren't many moments where the listener could say "What's going to happen next?" They already knew what was coming.
Overall, Thousand Year War delivered a solid debut album, but there is definitely room for improvement. If you're in the mood for some cool melodic death metal, then this band should rank highly on your list of bands to check out.
"Thousand Year War"
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Final Rating - 4.2/5 or 84%.