Scottish melodic metallers The Colony have been around a while now, having formed in 2006. On their new album, Smoke and Mirrors, the band offer few new insights on the way metal might be headed in the coming years; indeed their take on the ‘modern metal’ genre is curiously backwards-looking. There are no electronic incursions here, as the band prefer to crank out a style of music that’s resolutely traditional in form. For us here at Sentinel Daily that’s a boon, of course, but after a few exposures to Smoke And Mirrors I’m left wondering whether the band might not be more usefully employed looking to the future a bit more for inspiration going forward.
That’s not to say that what they do isn’t without appeal, however. The band certainly know their way around their respective instruments, with The Flood in particular having a mix that allows all members to shine. The bass playing here of George Struthers is particularly impressive.
They can pen a tune, too; But whilst it’s noted that these chaps are young and still have a way to go in refining their trade, despite the years under their belt, it’s also important to state that occasionally – first ‘proper’ track On My Own, for instance – the tunes they pen can sound like they’ve already been penned by someone else, in this case Trivium. There’s nothing wrong with influences, obviously – the skill is found in moulding the influence to become something that sounds fresh and new. The closest the band come to achieving this on Smoke And Mirrors is on the radio-friendly Always, where the band hint at a real grasp of what makes a great metal song. Vocalist Peter Cullen sounds at his most assured here, whilst the guitars of Aaron Hobkirk (brother of drummer Riki) and Konnar Anderson mesh most impressively. Again, a fine mix helps the band get their message across.
Still, we like to try and focus on the positives at SD where possible, and it’s actually the case that The Colony have created an album here that’s eminently listenable if modern metal is your thing. If I was a sixteen year-old Glaswegian metalhead, for instance, I’m pretty sure tracks like Here We Stand – a headily exciting mix of Avenged Sevenfold and Black Veil Brides – would be on constant rotation on the ol’ iPod, and quite rightly so. Every generation needs heroes, and on the evidence of many of the tracks here, The Colony might just be in a position to fulfil that role for future metallers. The good thing is they’ve got time on their side, and clearly have the talent to make this work. Now if they could look to the future a little more than the past, they really might be on the verge of something rather special. Good luck to them!
Smoke And Mirrors is out now.