|Cover art by Donovan Valdez.|
Like their namesake, Raleigh, N.C.’s Bedowyn takes a nomadic approach to metal, journeying through doom, stoner, death and even a little Southern rock, but never settling down with any particular genre. Following their promising 2013 debut, Wolves & Trees, the quartet has delivered a masterful and extraordinarily well thought-out follow up with Blood of the Fall, a raging battle call reveling in death and despair.
The album opens with (and later reprises) "The Horde". This short instrumental is mostly Sabbath-like wah-drenched guitar, (think Electric Funeral), which then segues into "Rite to Kill". With its rolling, chugging drums, intricate guitar, and strong, angry vocals, "Rite to Kill" gives a serious nod to High on Fire, and sets the pace for the remainder of the album. The mood is one of foreboding and excitement, and you almost feel like you’re galloping into a great and terrible war, from which you almost certainly won’t return.
"Blood of the Fall" features some good clean singing from singer/guitarist Alex Traboulsi, who deftly switches from snarling and angry to melodic and clear. "Cotard’s Blade" begins with an acoustic melody, and for the remainder of the album the acoustic touches are more prominent, culminating in the classically-inspired acoustic interlude "For a Fleeting Moment".
Bedowyn is at its best -- and actually most accessible -- on the melancholic, regretful "Halfhand", with Traboulsi showing his full range and guitarist Mark Peters delivering a soaring solo.
The album comes full circle at the very end with "The Horde (Exodus)", which reprises the opener’s ominous wah-drenched riff, but makes it deeper and more despairing. If the album’s opener was all about riding into battle, this is the song where all is lost and devastation reigns.
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