Canadian true metallers Possessed Steel are unleashing their first full length this month after a ten year existence that has so far seen a couple of EPs and a demo cast out into the metalsphere.
Aedris is a saga-relating concept album of sorts, telling the tale of a doomed anti-hero, but the good news is that the album stands just as comfortably as a work of honest-to-goodness heavy metal, with each track – instrumental segues aside – holding it’s own well enough for people who simply want to bang their heads to get involved.
At their most accessible – Spellblade and the excellent Keeper of The Woods, for instance, the band ply a tuneful brand of metal that you could imagine Night Demon serving up, but overall these four Canadian men of steel have a weightier, more portentous bent to their music, reminding me a little of Pennsylvanian doom merchants Argus – which is a very good thing in my book!
Central to the sound is the momentous bass contribution of Don Bachinski, who clunks and clanks away in the background with a massive sound, providing an iron backbone with drummer Richard Rizzo that underpins the top-end work of Steve Mac and Talon Sullivan superbly well.
Sullivan also sings, and his avoidance of the over use of screams and only sparing utilisation of death metal vocal devices gives a nice point of difference to the overall sound. He sings within himself, leaving the listener to concentrate on the power of the riffs being unfurled rather than cowering in horror at the vocal malapropisms many of his contemporary singers seem content to foist upon us. It makes a nice change, to be sure.
In fact when he does use ‘heavier’ vocal techniques, as on the grinding Frost Lich, it gives the approach more impact, actually becoming a point of focus for the listener rather than mere guttural background noise.
So, not your normal trad metal album then; rather, Possessed Steel have created something as close to a unique listening experience as it’s possible to get in their ever-more cluttered theatre of operations, for which they deserve any plaudits being heaped their way. Hail, Canadian metal brethren! Long my you slay!
Aedris releases on November 30th.