Friday 26 January 2018

Review: Blame - Almanac

Among the new wave of European tech death, the sensational Ukrainian outfit Blame has definitely stood out since 2014’s debut EP Dark Eyes; their fanbase keeps expanding meteorically. While Dark Eyes was quite uniform in style and relied heavily on minor chords and progressions, the execution was just good enough to make it a great listen.

And now they're back with their sophomore EP effort, Almanac, managing to address the uniformity complaint, for one thing. This time around more melodic styles and progressions were experimented with, while song structures were made simpler and more predictable, which resulted in a considerable shift towards melodic side of death metal. The chaotic meter and tempo shifts of Dark Eyes have given way to a more concentrated approach to songwriting, creating songs that are easier to digest but every bit as, if nor more enjoyable than those from the debut. Probably the best example of this focused approach is the fantastic opening track, “War,” basically written around two riffs, though full of tasteful transitions, subtlety, attention to detail and artfulness. “Chalice” shifts between moods, dropping a huge wall of sound which barely makes you move. This sentiment can be extended to the entire EP.

As for probably the biggest point of interest - the bass - Valeri Golub, who is the songwriter and guitarist here too, does not disappoint in the slightest. Better even, special care was taken with the production this time around so that the bass is perfectly audible, but not overbearing — a great highlight of his bass work is the title track.

Nile drummer George Kollias, as expected, delivers fantastic work here, providing a perfect backbone for the guitar and bass parts of Golub, and vocals courtesy of Anich Andrew. 

Overall, fans of technical/progressive death metal should not be by any means disappointed. This EP is of comparable quality in all respects, even better in some. Blame are as strong as ever and it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon.

Get Almanac from Bandcamp here.

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