IX Review (Stu’s Review)

The Wakefield band formed in august 2004 have so far notched up 4 demos, 2 ep’s and one album ‘Rites Of Passage’ which got a 9 out of 10 from me in september 2011 (though not actually released till feb 2012).

The new album is the bands most experimental release to date as well as their most diverse. “We are extremely proud of what we have acheived with the new album.” comments guitarist Steve Blower. “There was a great feeling going in to the studio. We’d learnt a lot from ‘Rites Of Passage’ and we believe we’ve improved on every aspect of recording and had room to experiment a lot more.”
Much thought and work has gone into the cd’s packaging as well and will be released as a special 6 panel digipak featuring a large amount of artwork painted by James Mullet throughout the packaging.

The album opens with the instrumental ‘IX Circles’ with some nice keyboard and synth mixed in, this then leads straight into ‘The Life Of Death’ taking its inspiration from Clive Barkers short story from vol 6 of books of blood, telling the story of strange things in a church crypt.
This one has a great NWOBHM feel, sounding like one of those classic albums from 1980, a strong vocal performance as well as some maidenesque guitar work outs.

‘Inferno’ has a real “proto-doom’ feel with a ‘heaven & hell’ styled bass line, sweeping doom laden chords and another superb vocal and a shout it out loud backing vocal.

Picking up the pace with some mid paced thrash, ‘Edge Of Madness’, about half way through the speed picks up for that “Mosh Pit” frenzy moment and ending with a riff heavy solo.

Echoes of early thrashers Virus throughout ‘The Extremist’ an almost crust-punk vocal gives this an interesting edge.

Now the next track ‘Mortuary’ has a really familiar riff in it’s intro, kind of like Armoured Saints ‘Can U Deliver’, whatever lonely brain cell of memory it has nudged, the song is really catchy with a great chorus, the same with ‘The Stranger’ great, catchy, excellent guitar work and another half remembered riff from the past!

Full on Thrash assault with ‘Descent Of Angels’, punchy as hell with an agressive snarl from the vocalist.

And now an 11 minute epic…… ‘The Night Of Samhain’, starts with acoustic guitar, wind f/x and bells, when the band kicks in the sound returns to that early doom but with some great keyboards giving a darkened ambience.
The vocalist seemingly pushed to his limits pulls off a near perfect performance, though one thing its pronounced “souwain” not “Sam Hain”.
Thrown in solid drumming, bass and guitar riffs in perfect harmony and this one lives up to the term “Epic”.

Finally some nice orchestration on ‘Still The Wall Remains’, a semi-acoustic ballad, the backing vocals just seem slightly out of sync in places but all in all a great way to end a very diverse and well put together album.

This is a huge leap forward from their previous album, musically more advanced, definately more experimental, improved vocals and better production, this one is a must have for your collection.

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Amulet, Witchfinder General, Elimination, Viking Skull

Stu Tovell
Stu’s Reviews

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