Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thousand Year War - Tyrants and Men

They come from the land of the ice and snow.  They play melodic death metal with more than a touch of the Viking in it.  But they don’t come from where you think.

Allow me to introduce you to Thousand Year War.  Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, they are something, in my experience anyway, a little bit rare.  They did record the drums in Sweden and had the album mix done there as well, but they are an American death metal band that plays very melodic stuff, and they definitely have a European flavor.  And that is just fine and dandy in my book.

This is a debut album and man, what a debut.  The band has a very polished and professional sound.  Thousand Year War manages to have a unique sound as well, which is not always easy for a young band.  Many times albums in this genre suffer from a lack of creativity, even from the biggest bands in the genre, so that sometimes when you listen to an album, by the time you get to track 6 or 7 you start wondering if somehow the CD started over again.  Absolutely not the case here.  Each song has its own identity and stands out from every other song.  That alone gives these guys high marks.

“Tyrants and Men” starts off with a track called “Defiance”, and if I didn’t know better you might convince me this was a track off of an Amon Amarth album.  A dose of rip roaring Viking metal right out of the gates, “Defiance” is a great start.  Then we move on to “The Sea” and “No Gods, No Masters”, and if your blood is pumping by now you might be dead.  Tracks 4 and 5, “Thousand Year War” and “Open Casket” respectively, are further examples of how this band keeps things moving along at a fast clip and vary things up at the same time.

Next we have “The Storm I Ride”, which mixes things up yet a bit more, being more of a straight ahead rocker, if straight ahead rock had death metal vocals.  Track 7, “Warriors Of Deceit”, slows things down a bit but keeps the vibe heavy at the same time.  But then the final 3 tracks kick in and finish off the album in fine form.

I just cannot say enough about how impressed I am with this album.  The songs are very well crafted and well paced.  Some young bands will fall back on a favorite riff and just vary it up a little, but there is none of that here.  Sometimes bands will over do the double bass gallops, but again, that is all done very tastefully.  The riffs sit well in each song, and they don’t feel as though they are separate song ideas just rammed together.  This is very good stuff indeed and a band worth keeping an eye on.


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