Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Band of Orcs: Adding Heads to the Pile (2012)

Prepare to be Dominated! 4 out of 5 stars.

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

Dear A Band of Orcs. You had me at "hello." Immediately I was drawn to your metal name, redundant as it was. One could ask the question, "How much more metal could your name be?" And the answer would be, "None more metal." (He might also ask, "Why use 'A Band of' and not just "Orcs," but that would be nitpicking and you don't want a relationship with someone who is going to nit). You might have well given yourselves the name "A band of metal". Your point has been conveyed artfully and succinctly, unlike this review.

Not content to simply wow me with your band name, you go ahead and turn on the charm with your album title. "Adding heads to the pile" - glorious. It's new, it's totally something Orcs do, and it's metal. It rules. Throw in a an old fashioned hand drawn/painted cover with two orcs, one using a Dekapitor ax to behead some dude and another orc wielding a guitar ax, and you have won A LOT of points before I've even played a note. Of course the most metal band, album name, and cover art are only going to get you so far. The tunes still have to rock. They have to swagger. They have to metal. They have to rule.

They do. You whip me into shape with a statement of intent - "Prepare for the Domination" (you meakling!). Then its "When the Hills Run Red" metal. Some sweat growled but understandable vocals charge over thrash riffing and death metal drumming. Solos abound and flow, the build to the one in "Wyrd of the White Wolf" evokes a great pay off. Up tempo thrashers like "Lair of the White Wyrm" are balanced by mid-tempo stompers like "Hall of the Frozen Dead". The tempos and riffs are varied within songs as well but without sacrificing the song in the name of "progress." All this metal tuneage has steady doses of thrash and death but there is a modern feel that makes it feel fresh. A minor nit (there I go again) is that as awesome as the 60+ minutes is, you probably could have had a classic on your hands with some judicious removal of two or three of these awesome songs. Keep it shorter and keep me coming back for more. Just sayin. Sacrilege, I know. Behead me now. The closing tracks from "Stormbringer" through to the instrumental closer "A Deeper Evil" accomplish the wanting more feeling, especially "At the Mouth Fire" which is my stand out track.

All Hail "A Band of Orcs" - my new heavy metal crush.

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