It has been waiting for its chance to explode on the metal scene for three years and now uncaged, the debut album from US outfit Downpour, is not going to let a little matter of a lengthy delay stop it making a very potent impact. Groove rich, rhythmically merciless, and built on individual craft which commands attention, the self-titled release is a declaration of creative power and intent.
Boston based, Downpour began as a project with no particular expectations and possibly aims except the simple desire to create music; indeed they were “instrumental jam nights among the members [which] offered a respite from real life – things like 9 to 5s, crumbling relationships, bills, and beyond. Their sessions were akin to therapy sessions and the music became increasingly heavy.” As things progressed drummer Derek Kerswill (Unearth) contacted Brian Fair former band mate in and vocalist for Shadows Fall. With its line-up completed by guitarist Matt LeBreton and bassist Pete Gelles, and itself a proposition which could not be denied, Downpour recorded this debut full-length in 2015. The quartet though decided to sit on it until the time was right and everything was in place for the album to be unveiled which thankfully is now.
Musically the album embraces a tapestry of metal bred flavours. Senses brutal groove metal could possibly be said to be at its heart yet in any given moment it can spring forth with progressive imagination or extreme metal predation. It swiftly proves an unpredictable and fluidly evolving encounter indeed which quite simply is metal at its most instinctive and style embracing best emerging with a voice openly individual to its creators.
The Serpent’s Tongue opens up the album, predatory riffs and Kerswill’s rapier swing to the fore but equally strands of citric endeavour entangle the trespass which in turn is accentuated by the familiar and ever magnetic tones of Fair and an increasingly antagonism in that rhythmic antipathy. Savage yet firmly galvanic, the track is superb; hues of bands like Pantera adding to an almost spiteful character but a grudge which invites deeper and greedier investigation as individual flair and prowess inspires a united enterprise.
It is an imagination though which is only broadened across the following Truth In Suffering, a song which immediately weaves a melodically crafted but volatility lined landscape of shadow cloaked intimation and portentousness. Physical and suggestive extremes collide and collude within its captivating body, vocals too aligning raw and melodic dexterity in an encounter which lyrically and emotionally reveals an intimacy to its roar.
Though you could apply certain names as reference to the pleasures with the album by these two tracks and successor Astral Projection there is no denying the distinct personality and endeavours of the Downpour sound and release. The third track has a relatively calmer and warmer presence than its predecessors but again there is an inherent volatility and tempestuousness which keeps expectations guessing and ears fascinated; that and the ever compelling imagination of songwriting and craft that breeds them.
Through the likes of darkly lit and siren-esque Still Waiting and the irritable enmity that is Without The Fear, the album simply continues beguiling and ravaging the senses. The first is pure seduction with Eastern hues to its adventure soaked landscape built upon rolling rhythms and intrigue casting guitar manipulation. It is superb, easily our favourite track within the album where virtually every note brings fresh mystery and adventure with that essence of danger and invasive reprisals, though neither are realised but always lurking. The second rises from its own inviting lure into a wiry entanglement of grooves, riffs, and voracity fuelled rhythms but a mercurial proposition tempered by the melodic toxins and harmonic caresses which rise up. Though eclipsed by the track before, it feels like the former’s dark side in many ways and was just as greedily devoured before Beautiful Nothing had the appetite licking its lips once more through its rancorous virulence and imagination embroiling exploits.
Mountain completes the release, another track which just stole ears and passions with ease. From the vocal prowess of Fair, the album surely one of his finest moments ever, through the rhythmic manipulation and suggestion of Gelles and Kerswill to the sonic weaving of LeBreton, the song, echoing the whole encounter, enthralled and aroused.
Anticipation for Downfall’s debut has been long and keen across media and fans alike and it is easy to expect all to feel the wait has been more than worthwhile, the album basically another of the year’s major highlights.
The Downpour album is out now via Noize in the Attic Records through all major digital platforms and @ https://downpourmetal.bandcamp.com/album/downpour
Pete RingMaster 22/09/2018
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