It is fair to say that previous EPs from UK metallers Left For Red, as well as an acclaimed live presence, bred keen anticipation for the band’s debut album in a great many. Now the moment for the band to unleash their first full-length has arrived in the roaring shape of All Things Known And Buried, and a rather tasty and increasingly captivating slab of aural voracity it has proven to be. It is not an album to send the metal world reeling but for a potential fuelled, ear chewing protagonist it leaves a very healthy appetite and rich satisfaction in its wake.
Formed in 2010, Left For Red took little time in raising attention and support locally and further afield with their Black Sabbath/ Judas Priest inspired assault of modern ferocious metal. Live the Stourbridge quintet has drawn potent praise, their aggressively potent performances seeing the band play with the likes of Chimaira, Crowbar, Beholder, Revoker, Evil Scarecrow, Sacred Mother Tongue, and Breed 77 across the years. It was a success matched by the release of first EP Vol 001 – Empty Shell and even more by its 2013 successor Vol 002 – Mercy Flight, an offering luring eager praise from Kerrang!, Big Cheese, and Rock Sound amongst many. It is now easy to expect the same reactions and more with the release of All Things Known And Buried. The album suggests there is plenty more yet to come from the band as their sound and imagination evolves further, much more than the album at times offers but there is no escaping that it grips ears and gives pleasure from start to finish and inspires wave of excitement for the band’s future exploits.
From the brief album intro of Master Call, band and release launch at ears with current single Master Of The Game, a song already sparking plaudits and eager attention from fans and media alike. For personal tastes it is one of the less potent songs upon the album but with vocal roars, crisp beats, and feisty riffs aligned to an infectious weave of enterprise, the encounter awakens ears and attention with accomplished ease. The guitar play of Aaron Foy and Phil Smith slip from impressive to irresistible across the sonic bellow of the song whilst vocalist LC Decoy just demands and receives attention with his great mix of old school screams and ferocious snarls entangled in melodic expression.
Things step up a notch straight away with Crooked Path, Dan Carter opening the song up with a deliciously belligerent and predatory bass line courted by a just as gripping shuffle driven by the sticks of drummer Rob Hadley. It is a superb opening, becoming more flavoursome with guitar lures and tastier again with the emerging of one instinctively addictive groove. Vocals soon blow a dramatic wind into the tempestuous landscape of the song too, again a varied blend from Decoy and band uniting to great effect. With that enslaving groove ringing in the ears, third song Reborn takes over with a blues flaming around another dark and almost carnivorous bass tone. Like Judas Priest meets Tool, the song grows into a melodic blaze, more old school than modern metal but dealing a deck of intriguing ideas and skilled endeavour. It does not quite match up to its predecessor though nor to the riveting adventure of Echoes Of Strangers which comes next. A song which took a while to convince but increasingly fascinated and thrilled over each listen, as the album to be honest, it is a constantly moving and twisting weave of styles and metal ferociousness. At times there is a scent of bands like God Forbid and In Flames to the song, in other moments a more Down meets Lamb of God spicing seeps out, all adding to the growing weight and strength of the track on ears and thoughts.
The second half of All Things Known And Buried truly hits another level and ignites personal tastes more powerfully; it all starting with the grove fest of Shatter. From a resonating distortion kissed bass welcome, the song develops a contagious swagger and melodic invention which has the imagination hooked from the first swinging step. Riffs and rhythms provide the anthemic bait whilst grooves and vocals sculpt the core of the infection being expelled, but all is outshone by the searing fire of guitar creating its solo.
Ascension has feet and neck muscles gripped next; this another song with a virulent tenacious stroll to its body and a ravenous bestial bassline to its arsenal. These strengths are matched by the melodic might and vocal prowess also going to make this as its predecessor, a pinnacle of the album. The song has everything impressive about Left For Red in its body and character, as well as more of the promise lining the album of bigger and bolder things to come.
The elegant beauty of piano led instrumental Dystopia Rising superbly seduces ears and imagination before the almost rabid presence of Utopia prowls and rages against the senses. Hostility and bracing sonic ferocity combine to create a web of fascinating and again thrilling confrontation, the uncompromising yet temperate force of the song keeping the latter half of the album impressively roaring.
Closing with the excellent Solace In Memories, a warm and intensive melodic croon across more volatile scenery of sound, All Things Known and Buried is a stirring offering from Left For Red, and a more impressive one with every encounter. From a more than decent start and a growing strength as each song comes forward, the album hits a potent plateau around halfway and never looks back. It is not one to claim as a game changer for the British metal scene or maybe even the band itself right now, but it does show them to be heading towards making that kind of breakthrough, and deserves an intensive look at by all metal fans.
All Things Known And Buried is available through Burning Halo Records from April 27th
LEFT FOR RED LIVE: 15th May – Mosh Against Cancer Festival – The Lomax, Liverpool; 16th May – Lower George Inn, Gloucester; 30th May – Midlands Metal Crusade – Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton; 20th June – Hard ‘N’ Hevy Fest – The Dollhouse, Abertillery.
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