Black Lakes are a Welsh melodic metal band that has been around for a few years, slowly releasing a steady stream of singles. Said singles have now been combined to form their debut album. Oh, and said album comes out a week today! I am not at all familiar with this band but love the genre of them so am excited to check this out!
After a brief Linkin Park-style intro track with lots of synth and programmed drums, ‘Avarice’ explodes in with a MASSIVE guitar riff backed by some heavy drums. It stays fast and heavy through the verse, the vocals fitting perfectly over the top. The voice actually reminds me a bit of Chester’s, it definitely has that early 2000s metal twang to it like the likes of Rev Theory and Burn Halo. It heads into a huge chorus full of catchy vocals and great harmonies. It’s easily one of the better choruses I’ve heard from any band this year so far. That, and the riff coming out of it is fantastic.
We head into an awesome build-up out of the second chorus, reminding me very much of the modern revival of nu-metal. It builds into a huge breakdown riff and we get some fantastic screaming over the top, fitting the heaviness well. It drops down again before building into a massive final chorus to draw an awesome track to a close. Easily playlisted, this was great stuff!
‘Dissident’ opens quieter with an awesome, Egyptian-style riff. Very Ra. It gets heavy for the main riff and then drops back down for a great, catchy riff. It says Egyptian-y, stays Ra-y, and stays very early 2000s metal. It’s great. The chorus is another amazing one and I somehow even love this track more than the previous one. I LOVE this style of music and I am so glad it’s making a bit of a comeback recently. The bridge is pretty enjoyable too but there isn’t a great deal to it. Not that it matters, because it leads to another great chorus and riff to finish us off. Another great track and the band go two for two on the playlist so far!
‘Fragments’ is another slow starter, building into a fantastic, technical, heavy riff. The drums are a big highlight here, not just in the intro and verse but actually throughout the entire album. A given trend in this album by this point, the chorus is excellent, catchy, and anthemic. Their capturing of the early 2000s nu and industrial metal sound is great, and they honestly do it a lot better than a lot of bands around in that era, too. The breakdown after the second chorus is amazing, building perfectly into the stripped-back first final chorus. I honestly cannot praise this album or band enough, fantastic stuff so far!
‘Verity in Flames’ feels like the closest thing we’ll get to a ballad on the album, a plodding, slower pace and lacking the heavy riffs of the others. It all builds to a MASSIVE chorus each time though, and they are another highlight of the album. Some bands have all the talent in the world but cannot write a catchy chorus to save their lives. These guys have that talent down to a tee, like a metal RHCP in that department. The harsh vocals in the bridge were also an awesome touch, adding heaviness to the lighter track in a great way. Another that makes the playlist!
The solo at the start of ‘The Divide’ was a great touch and sounded awesome over the top of the rest of the heavy instrumentation. The double-tracked vocals throughout the track also added so much depth and awesomeness to the song, making it somehow even catchier. It all combines together to make another fantastic song. However, much like the following tracks, ‘Landslide’ and ‘Ghost of our Memories’, I find myself struggling to say stuff without repeating myself or coming across as a fangirl. Both are slower tracks much like ‘Verity…’, and both give off heavy ‘Bittersweet Memories’ vibes to me. I’d say that’s a pretty big compliment. The duelling vocals in the verses for the latter track are fantastic too and the emotion displayed throughout make the track a real highlight of the album.
The same could be said for the final three tracks of the album. The final track was an interesting slower piece, but generally, the three were just more great tracks that have the same awesome qualities that the previous tracks did. Heck, this is that solid of an album that I don’t even mind the slowest track being the closing one this time! A great run of tracks for an honestly flawless album.
Overall: If you couldn’t tell already, I loved this. The style is right up my street and the band pulled it off masterfully. It’s hard to believe it’s the band’s first LP, even if they have been going for a few years now. I can see HUGE things to come in their future if they keep up the quality that has been demonstrated here, and they definitely have a new fan in me!
The Score: 8.5/10
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