Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Album of the Week: Haast's Eagled - Doom excellence from the depths of the UK

Haast's Eagled

It's mid December and I'm working through all of the great releases that came out this year, piecing together one of those year end 'best of' lists. Haast's Eagled from South Wales have not made this task any easier. Just a few weeks ago the band released their debut album comprising of near on 35 minutes of exceptionally crafted songwriting - epic atmospheric riff driven doom overflowing with light and shade throughout. This album will find its way into the already too long list, no doubt about it.

The opening track "Viking" crackles to life with a slow fade in, bass and droning piano notes which then give way to massive drums, a simple yet punishingly heavy riff, and eventually a unique bowels of hell growl from the vocal department. The vocals are menacing and controlled rather than the gratingly forced/shrieking vox that abounds in the genre (which are great when done well, but more often that not are just overbearing and generic). And then comes a surprise, the contrasting high end vocals at around 3:15 - very effective and unexpected, great stuff for sure.

Each of the tracks on the album kick off with near on a few minutes of intro. "The Eye of God" has a sad feel to it throughout,  quite similar to that vibe that Pallbearer and Loss invoke so well. This time around the track opens with clean vocals and then the lord of the depths steps in once again with that disturbing low end growl. "Tracking the footsteps of Goliath" is aptly named, a slow, lumbering instrumental which hits its stride and does not deviate from the path of the main riff that is its backbone and runs very nicely into the album closer, "Cruithne Tide". This 12:30 finisher is a great instrumental which brings further diversity with wah soaked solos and some mid pace almost rock feel in the middle.

Overall this is nothing short of an excellent debut from Haast's Eagled.

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