Born in early 2006 in Calgary, a place, the band describes and I’ll agree, where technical, brutal death metal and its “-core” brethren reign. I’m sure as a progressive power metal outfit it was a challenge for Viathyn to get to where they fit in. At any rate they sent their debut full-length, The Peregrine Way to the right place because I’ll take sweeping solos, galloping riffs, and cleanly sung vocals over chug-chugs, sweeps, and good cop/bad cop screams any day.
The Peregrine (that’s a falcon, by the way) Way starts off strong and as any self-respecting progressive/power metal album should, with an epic intro. Viathyn has an uncanny knack for making everything sound so very big and heroic but without all the cheesy trappings too often found within this genre. Ever notice how a lot of heavy metal reviewers have this “it’s good for a power metal album” attitude about stuff like this? That’s because of the cheese. Not a lot of bands have managed to keep that shit in check and create something of this caliber.
The instruments, and even more so the guitars, are what, if anything, sell you on this album. Taking influence from the folk, progressive, power, and neoclassical genres, the guitars gallop, sweep, shred, and generally carry on like the stars of the show they are. Filling out the rhythm section, the bass and drums both do a tremendous job. In particular, the drums, which are fierce, punishing and incredibly tight. For the instruments alone, I cannot fathom why this band is not signed...
Read on after das jump.
As far as the vocals go, there’s where you’ll find my only complaint. Singer/guitarist Tomislav Crnkovic’s vocals are perfectly suited for this kind of music. He sings with passion, always on key, and it’s easy to digest. Fans of the genre know what I talking about here; how many times have over the top, layered vocals and shrill, ball crushed shrieks driven you to grimace during an otherwise enjoyable power metal album? You wont find that here and I’m glad for it.
What did receive some negative marks from me, were a few places that I felt like there was a missed opportunity for amazing vocal melodies. The most blaring instance is in the track Strenum Scopuli. The guitars all pointed the melody in one direction but the vocals seemed to take a hard left around the bridge or chorus. It left me feeling somewhat discombobulated and in my first few listens it bothered me enough that I noticed it more than anything else. After a few more spins everything started to sort it’s self out though and now it’s more of an afterthought than anything. Besides, if this record didn’t have it’s small flaws I would start to think I was on some Truman Show shit and that fucker in the moon manufactured me a perfect metal album.
Otherwise, I will mention in passing that the production on this album could stand to be a little better. It most certainly will not make this band any more amazing to me that it already is but I could see the production-centric amoung us taking issue with that aspect.
Really, this record is quite brilliant. And a grower to boot. Many months and listens later I enjoy this record shit-tons more that I did when I first set it on it’s orbit in my car’s CD player and made it the album of the day. If the first listen doesn’t immediately grab you, the second might. If that doesn’t, you might want to have your ears checked.
Or your tongue. Get it? ‘Cause you have bad taste…
Any self-respecting heavy metal record label not currently bending over backwards to sign these guys, should have their A&R people taken out back and flogged.
For fans of: power, progressive, and even traditional metal, good music.
But what the hell do I know? I’m just a keyboard jockey that knows a little something about heavy metal. What did you think?