December 20, 2006

CD Review: The Accursed - Seasons of the Scythe

Melodic death with touch of black and thrash pepper this debut release from Massachusett's own The Accursed. Unfortunately, it is not an album that stands out, but it does sow the seeds of future potential.

Seasons of the Scythe is an album that has a definite streak of darkness through it. If you didn't get the hint from the name, just take a look at the track listing which includes titles such as "I am Famine," "Land of the Dead," and "Slaughter the Gods." It was also stated in their press release that they signed their contract with Screaming Ferret Wreckords in their own blood. Yes, you read that right, after using the supplied pens, they pulled out knives to cut themselves and seal the pact.

This is definitely a band that believes in what they are doing. They have been together for a number of years honing their craft and perfecting a live show that I have heard some good things about. The music captured here puts a magnifying glass on their dedication to the craft. The Accursed definitely know how to deliver driving tracks that blend the old and the new in a way that makes you bow down before their sincerity.

The Accursed are putting it all out there. This disk captures a raw and primal sound that pays notice to their melodic/technical abilities as it displays an energy that is intimate and unproduced. There is a distinct lack of that "studio" sound that can cover up mistakes or create a sound that cannot be reproduced live. The production quality of Seasons is definitely above that of the typical demo, but it also has a "live in the studio" feel. This is the sound of a band that itches to take it to the stage.

While I love the energy that permeates every track, I was not blown away. There is definite ability in their twin guitar harmonies, searing leads, solid bass and drumming, and impressive vocal delivery, but there is something that I am missing. I am heavily reminded of early Slayer and a touch of Testament in the sound blended with a more current sound of black metal creating this black thrash. Perhaps I am looking for too much, but I cannot say that this is a great, or even very good album. They just aren't quite there yet, and with some more time under their belts, they could very well develop into something much better, the ability is there.

Seasons of the Scythe will grow on you after a few listens, and the songs get stronger the further in you go. The album ends strong with the speed riffs of "The Black Thrash" and the bleak darkness presented in "Aramageddon Eulogy." Most impressive are the guttural growls and shrieks from Jonathan Helme while the guitars of Timothey Giblin and Chris "Loki" Ellingsen ripping behind him.

Bottomline. All told, this is a good debut with a promise for the future. It has that old school feel to it that doesn't go retro, and a dark edge that soaks through and permeates everything with a heavy dose of black. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the fantastic cover/title art, this is one eye grabbing CD.

Mildly Recommended.


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