Reverence – When Darkness Calls

It has to be said power metal is not generally the most appetizing menu for our tastes here though there have been some releases in recent times and bands we have found a liking for. With the pedigree of the line-up of Reverence their debut album When Darkness Calls was always going to be one which needed attention and offered much intrigue. It has turned out to be an album which will have fans of the genre in a blissful state as it more than lives up to hopes and expectations and to be honest at times even had this place rocking like a kangaroo on a bungy rope.

The band began its creation in 2010 when guitarist/song­writer Bryan Holland and vocalist/songwriter Todd Michael Hall came together with the intention of creating a band in the words of Holland “…with soaring vocalist, unstoppable riffs, screaming leads and crushing rhythms…” , a power metal band. With the history of the pair the band was always going to induce great attention, Holland having been a major part of Tokyo Blade and Arrest whilst Hall was the frontman with Jack Starr’s Burning Starr. The pair brought in the powerful and skilful ability of drummer Steve Wacholz (Doc Killdrums), a founding member of Savatage as well as being in Crimson Glory, and the talents of bassist Ned Meloni (Burning Starr, Defiance and Land of the Dead) and guitarist Pete Rossi who had played with Joe Stump (HolyHell) and shared stages with the likes of bands Lynch Mob and Avenged Sevenfold. Now When Darkness Calls reveals the results of their union with its release through Razar Ice Records and it has to be said it is rather impressive.

The opening to first and title track is stunning, its air dramatic and presence riveting as it heralds the arrival of a song which is titanic in energy and power. Arguably whether the song lives up to its beginning can be debated from dusk to dawn but it is a thunderous slab of crusading riffs, lively rhythms, and soaring melodic enterprise. Vocally Hall is as strong as expected his tones lighting up the remaining part of the atmosphere the guitars had not already ignited with their sonic display. The group vocal harmonies are tremendous and it all flows with a prowess and quality that one even with the power involved borders beauty.

The opener is one of the real highlights on the album but no subsequent song leaves one lacking satisfaction or pleasure. The likes of the excellent flaming gem Bleed For Me with its attention grabbing attitude and mesmeric melodic ingenuity and the charging intensity of Phantom Road continue the onslaught of gratification. Both leave one breathless and energised within, something admittedly one did not expect to ever say about a power metal driven release. With a heart and intent to ignite the deepest enjoyment with the core qualities of metal which capture us all, Reverence produce the goods and more.

Tracks like Gatekeeper, Monster with thrilling bass work from Meloni to send shivers down the spine, and the closing beast Vengeance Is Mine only leave one riled up and enthused though that can be said about every track on the album especially After The Leaves Have Fallen, an emotive ballad rivalling for best song and showing the great voice of Hall to the fullest effect. Generally ballads struggle to grab our enthusiasm but this song is immense and lights fires which leave burning scars with its melodic excellence.

When Darkness Calls surprised in the fact it found a more welcome home with us than the genre usually can produce but then again Reverence are not your general type of band. The album will be declared best of the year by power metal lovers and it is hard to argue in their category with only personal tastes here denying it a higher place across the whole spectrum of metal.

http://reverencemetal.com

Ringmaster 06/08/2012

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