A few days in and the new year gets its first metal treat courtesy of Pakistan hailing Blackhour. The Islamabad quintet unleashes their second album on January 5th through Transcending Obscurity Distribution, and a mighty slab of inventive and skilful heavy metal it has proven to be. Sins Remain offers five rich and imagination fuelled tracks which explore far beyond that heavy metal tag, and such its thick and pleasing impact you wonder how Blackhour has so far escaped the fullest global acclaim.
Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Guns and Roses, and Alice in Chains, Blackhour has certainly teased local and wider found appetites with their music and debut album Age of War which was released in 2011. Fair to say though, that most of us will probably have missed the presence of Blackhour until now but things surely are about to change with Sins Remain.
Straight away the band’s metal bred rock ‘n’ roll shows its adventure and variety with opener Losing Life. An instantly engaging caress of provocative guitar opens things up, the bass of Salman Afzal just as swiftly vocal with its suggestiveness. The tremendous coaxing eventually erupts into a fiery roar of sound with sonic tendrils of guitar veining a tempestuous yet controlled climate of sound and intensity. There is a touch of Disturbed to the track whilst the rhythms of drummer Daim Mehmood almost bully the senses as the bass prowls and growls within their potent web. With vocalist Tayyab Rehman also quickly impressive, the track paints a great provocative and persistently evolving proposal for ears and imagination.
The outstanding start continues with Wind of Change. From the off heavy metal essences steer the persuasion, the guitars of Hashim Mehmood and Mubbashir Sheikh Mashoo flirting with eighties hues to infectious effect. Their hooks and grooves because of it hold a familiarity which only adds to the forceful virulence of the encounter, whilst rhythmically the song nurtures an anthemic rock ‘n roll canter becoming increasingly wrapped in melody rich sonic enterprise. The song is irresistible and more potent with every listen, a quality applying to the whole of Sins Remain to be fair and certainly the following Life Brings Death, Love Brings Misery. The third track is an epic temptation, its nine minutes blossomed on Metallica like seeds but equally casting textures sprung from seventies heavy rock and thrash laced heavy metal. Imagine Reign of Fury and Stone Temple Pilots meets Iron Maiden and you come somewhere near the compelling encounter.
Battle Cry opens with an instantly addictive guitar hook next, one welcoming more militant and aggressive elements to join its tenacious stirring of ears and appetite soon after. It is maybe the least unique offering on the album but the fiercely boisterous song simply whips up a storm of attitude and creative prowess easy to greedily devour and want more of. The individual skills of the band are, here alone, there for all to see and praise but their unity and the powerful songwriting casting their invention is where the album truly wins out, as proven a final time by the album’s title track.
Bringing Sins Remain to a glorious conclusion, the track is a kaleidoscope of imagination, moving through acoustic elegance into Celtic spiced adventure and Eastern majesty across its length landscape. Fascinating and irresistible, the track is a thrilling end to an increasingly impressive album. With moments which stir thoughts of bands from Arch/Matheos and Horslips to Motherjane, the closer is theatre for the ears, a melodic seduction for the imagination, and alone one reason to check out the album.
Blackhour is ready to breach the broadest spotlights with Sins Remain, an album which could also be the key to opening the door to the great metal adventure going on in their homeland and surrounding regions just a little wider for the world.
Sins Remain is out now via Transcending Obscurity Distribution @ https://transcendingobscurityindia.bandcamp.com/album/sins-remain-heavy-metal
Pete RingMaster 06/01/2015
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