Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Achren - The Forgotten King & Impaled At Bloodstock DVD

Ceol Dorchas Productions 2011

1. Impaled 2.The Way Of The Twilight...Or The Aura Of Flies
3.Bastards On The Gallows Or Bastards On The Rack 4.F*ck It Hard
5.Fury Of The Northmen 6.The Forgotten King 7.Darkest Day 8.Manuel's Mile
9.Wings Of War 10.Pestilence

Achren make a statement from the outset, their thrashy death metal laced with groove crushing everything before it. ‘Impaled’ shows a variety of influences, everything from thrash through to black metal. There’s a cohesion to these influences which stops their sound becoming a mess and sounding cobbled together and shows the strength in their song writing skills. ‘The Way Of The Twilight…Or The Aura Of Flies’ shows even more groove, the song bouncing along in a mid-paced frenzy, vocals both scathing and guttural, the usual combination as so heavily used by every band nowadays. A good combination nonetheless.
‘Bastards On The Gallows Or Bastards On The Rack’ opens up in a haze of Swedish Death / Thrash inspired riffing which is used as a chorus and when accompanied with the vocals really gets the toe tapping. Not overly convinced when the guitars drop out and the bass, drums and vocals are left to their own devices. Sounds a bit dated and doesn’t do the rest of the song justice. ‘F*ck It Hard’ sees a simplicity to the bands song writing which actually makes things sound more brutal – no need for over complicated riffing or drumming, letting the ‘fist in the face’ metal show the way. ‘Fury Of The Northmen’ passes by offering nothing new but the simple song structure and drum patterns actually threaten the song, for although its adds to the raw energy, it never really feels anything but safe, never venturing from the security of slow to mid paced normality. The slow fast slow fast structure starting to sound overused and lacking originality.
However ‘The Forgotten King’ stands out, catchy and brutal and a real sense of urgency to the track and ‘Darkest Day’ continues this theme, the paced upped, again Swedish style Death metal riffing setting the tone perfectly and a welcome relief from the normality of the previous tracks. Rescuing the cd somewhat. The bands sense of melody on show on ‘Manuel’s Mile’, catchy lead guitars giving the track an epic sound, the bass really punches through here, thumping along with the drums, the rhythm section adding some heaviness under all the melody. When Achren speed things up things get interesting, the songs gaining a sense of urgency, a sense of purpose. It’s just unfortunate that many of the songs on offer slip into a mid-paced nothingness. That aside, the majority of the songs are well structured and well played, nothing we haven’t heard before but if you like good solid death / thrash metal with a heavy dose of melody, then you could do a lot worse than listen to this. Not going to set the world alight, but worth a spin.
6.5 out of 10

Impaled at Bloodstock Open Air 2010 DVD

1.Wings Of War 2.Blood Soaked Banner
3.The Way Of The Twilight...Or The Aura Of Flies
4.Fury Of The Northmen 5.Forgotten King
6.Bastard On The Gallows Or Bastard On The Rack 7.Impaled

Professionally filmed and with a direct live recording, this DVD features the bands set at Bloodstock 2010 which eventually earned them the ‘Metal To The Masses UK Metal Initiative’ winners title. The quality is everything you would expect from a pro-filmed DVD; multi angle camera’s catching the band in all of their live glory. The bands brand of mid-paced thrash / death metal coming across better in a live scenario than it does on cd. The band obviously in their element in a live setting, enjoying being on stage and giving a great performance, real effort being put into the delivery of every song. The drums and bass, as with their studio cd, really punching through, at the forefront of the sound and providing a great back up to the melodic guitar work. The energy being pumped out by the band eventually works its way to the crowd, who give the band a better response the further into the set they play. Maybe a bit too early for some to be so enthusiastic as the set was filmed at 12 noon. Hangovers may be to blame.
Achren - Impaled
The band is definitely a better live acquisition when they up the pace, the sound taking on a more extreme edge. If you enjoy Achren on cd, this will be right up your street, seeing the band in a live environment. On offer is a self produced, self released DVD with professional titles, a set that has been professionally filmed and with extras such as photos, biography, discography and links. When browsing the photos sections, tracks from their cd are being played, so you get the best of worlds, hearing live and studio versions of the band on one DVD. An extremely professional release and recommended
8 out of 10

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