Its not often we review new and unsigned artists on the revival, its something we are looking to do a lot more of, there are so many good bands out there just waiting for their big break and good enough to compete with those already established artists.
Stranger in Death, aka. SID, are one such band. An interesting outfit for many reasons, lacking a front man the four piece features three main vocalists sharing the work and the glory. Sounding like the bastard son of a wild night of passion between Mastodon, Black Sabbath and Gojira. In the live we at The Revival have caught them a few times now and in addition to this sound their performances are a show of pure unadulterated eccentric heaviness. A different take on an often stagnant scene helps them stand a cut above the rest.
So when their debut album, Path of the Don, dropped on our desks earlier this week we just had to pick it up and see whether they could translate on stage wizardry into a recording to do them true justice.
The album opens with instrumental Ani Sem, a softly stated number of slow guitars, mild electronica and atmospheric acoustics. There is something refreshing about a hearing an artist sliding their fingers down the strings of the guitar taking the recording process back to its bare bones.
Following straight on, Monks of Varanasi really gets the album going, Rich's throbbing drum beat leads us fast paced into a wonderful chugging riff before Bob's throaty vocals kick in. A dark number lyrically and in sound, not doomy as such, heavy as hell music mixed with Mastodonic concepts.
Berbalang is an interestingly catchy number reminding me of earthtone9 in places, heavy prog meets stoner/doom. The multiple vocalist really highlighted on this track gives the song a schizophrenic feel which works incredibly well to depict the mental image of the song onto the listeners consciousness.
The Mastodon influence really comes across in tunes like Koschei the Deathless, a conceptual masterpiece starting with a slow thoughtful guitar intro and light crashing cymbals, building nicely into a epic tale of dark intentions.
Title track, Path of the Don starts off with a glorious thrashy intro but as the song kicks in the theme turns and the Mastodon influence soon returns. Guitarist Mike providing main vocals on the tune completely contrasting the style Bob has primarily provided so far really in keeping with their influences. Bob's spoken word growl kicks in to accompany fitting in so well with tune and main vocals.
The whole album has an overall feel of dark driven progressive metal, doomy at times, thrashy in places and dripping in groove. Between Scylla and Charybdis emphasises this, a wonderful song which live is incredible but on record is nothing short of anthemic.
Jenny Greenteeth II, which they debuted live earlier this year, is a slow building number, almost like Nothing Else Matters in its intro with its soft bubbling tune and Bobs story telling voice building to the dual vocal chorus. Light on guitars throughout, the vocals drive this number with the music taking the backseat like the soundtrack to a cinematic tale.
Overall the album shows so much promise from a band so young. Guitar work throughout demonstrates the skills both Mike and Bob can wield along with their vocal duties. Rich's drum style, whilst understated in my review, drives the album along with Jim's bass allowing the mythical tales to be delivered with atmospheric ambiance to the listener. For a self released debut album you will struggle to find a better release than this in the genre. If you like the likes of Mastodon, Gorjira, earthone9 and Tool its easy to draw the comparisons musically and this album is one for you!
Path of the Don is available to stream now on all your favorite streaming outlets.