Inspired by death and thrash metal from the late eighties and early nineties, Irish metalers Three Hour Ceasefire have fused those sounds into an impressive powerful entity of their own as proven with their debut EP Cry Havoc. The release does not venture into the creation of new and rigorous realms to play within but instead has revitalised and stretched existing and influential essences with their own invention into a thoroughly compelling and exciting outcome.
Formed in 2008, the quartet from Limerick has emerged through line-up changes to become one of the more formidable and promising bands in the Irish metal scene. They have been compared to a mix of Sepultura and Entombed, something which is as accurate a description as any, though there is a distinctive breath permeating the sound which sets the band apart. Arguably the band do not stand aside of others as widely as one feels they are destined to as they evolve further, but within the at times familiar feel there is a fresh and pulsating heart of invention emerging.
As the six tracks within Cry Havoc rampage upon the senses there is a strength and defiance to the sound and intensity which reflects and comes from, as their bio states, seeing and being directly affected by the decline of the industrial and building trade across not only Ireland but their hometown. The release, through Savour Your Scene Records, is definitely a confrontational and provocative slice of fury and one which enflames the senses from first track to last.
The EP is opened by the spiralling spite of Time Of The Empty Throne, a song which soaks the ear with malevolence like an insatiable tempest. Its energy is a slow invading storm which corrupts each and every pore whilst being speared by sharp guitar play and riotous riffs. Its heart is unrelenting, an insistent burrowing sonic presence providing a malicious canvas for the guttural expulsions and destructive rhythms. More than a mere intro it effectively does draw one into the eye of the storm, the following excellence of Behold, Rejoice.
The track is a rolling thunder of inciteful riffs and barracking rhythms enclosed in a heavy oppressive intensity. The song twists within its umbrella weight to keep the senses unsettled but deeply occupied whilst the melodic grind and shadowed flourishes capture the imagination unerringly.
As the next track Trial Of Wounds continues the eager and irresistible blackened contamination the one and only criticism towards the release is taking shape. The track itself is another shifting animal of unpredictable ideas and striking imagination, a song which does not quite leave one open mouthed with originality but ignites every spark within for a satisfied raging fire. As it departs after another mere two minutes that one thing which inspires a moan is wild, the tracks are so damn short. Normally not something which bothers but the pleasure given by the songs makes it a real disappointment when their final notes scarper so soon.
When Prophecy Fails is a song which does stay much longer within the ear but actually does not have the same deep infection as found in the other songs, though the length has no bearing. It is a strong and combative track with vision and expertise rife within its heavy walls, the guitars alternately a melodic stroke and caustic rub whilst again vocally the ear is given an abrasive dose of raw throat expulsions, but it does not manage to trigger anything more than good appreciation.
The remaining tracks Trench Knife and Fall Under Foot return to the high grade quality, the first and best track on the Cry Havoc, a festering bruise full of aural colour and sonic addiction. The thrash air of the band is present in every song but is unleashed for a full throated rage across this and the closer. The track bleeds into Fall Under Foot to allow no time to take a breath before the final rampage of creative violence and annihilatory abuse wages invention upon the ear. It is a masterful and thrilling end to an equally impressive debut and sets Three Hour Ceasefire up as one of the bands to watch very closely.
Though one cannot say Cry Havoc is the best debut to emerge this year it certainly is one of the most promising and pleasing, and gives evidence that Three Hour Ceasefire has the armoury to become a very important band for metal.
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