The trouble with trying to please everybody all the time is that, inevitably, you can end up pleasing nobody. Brazilians Armored Dawn bill themselves simply as a ‘heavy metal’ band; However in 2017 ‘heavy metal’ is an incredibly broad, not to say diluted term, and over the course of Barbarians in Black’s forty-odd minute duration Armored Dawn try to touch as many of the term’s sub genres as is humanly possible. This doesn’t always make for a pleasant listening experience.
Vocalist Eduardo Parras starts off proceedings aping the vampiric vocal style of The 69 Eyes’ Jyrki 69, but by third track Men of Odin he’s adopted a sort of metal croon that makes him sound like Sting. Will the real Eduardo Parras please come to the Mic?
But it’s not just the frontman. The band seem similarly conflicted; Chance to Live Again begins folkishly, before erupting into a savage prog metal groove not unlike Symphony X. However the unimpressive chorus, a sort of limp, sub Euro-power affair, lets the muscular riffage down badly.
Unbreakable features a nice, Nightwish-styled keyboard intro – Rafael Agostino works wonders throughout the album – but Parras’ strange syncopated delivery on the verses doesn’t quite ring true and the resolution of the chorus sounds weak and uninspired.
Eyes Behind the Crow is probably the best track on the album, if only because everybody seems to be on the same page and the song stays on target – it’s a riffy, spitting, power/prog effort – without deviating down any left-field blind alleys.
Sail Away sounds like the sort of modern rock that In Flames like to dabble in, with yet another vocal style adopted by Parras; the trouble is it doesn’t go with the song, which has a chorus designed to fly but which barely gets off the ground thanks to his semi-mumbled delivery. Woods of Ypres meets Pretty Maids, anyone?
Despite the tone of this review there are a few bright moments on Barbarians in Black; but at the moment the negatives would far appear to outweight the positives. Probably best avoided.
Barbarians in Black will be released by AFM on February 23rd