Friday, December 16, 2016

review: Arduini / Balich

Arduini / Balich
Dawn of Ages
Cruz Del Sur Music
release: 24 February 2017
Many dedicated supporters who follow the current state of traditional doom most likely already know very well that Argus (Pennsylvania, U.S.) has been for quite some time now climbing the ladder in terms of reputation as a serious band. Many of those amongst that audience might recognize the name Balich immediately. Balich is the Argus singer Butch Balich who also does vocals for this project began by Victor Arduini, whose name longtime Fates Warning listeners know from the early days of the band.
Arduini/Balich is big-riff, big-melody, big-voice epic doom metal. Don't be fooled by the word project. It is true that many side projects sound like second-rate leftovers from musicians' main bands. That's not the situation here at all. It's very serious and very good. Contrary to some present trends in doom, this is not a slow/super slow recording. It is not one of those doom works that rejects guitar riffs, guitar solos, real singing and traditional songs. What a breath of fresh air it is to hear big-time, big-league traditional doom. Arduini and Balich are both pros and this recording brings everything to the table. This is a great example of how doom is heavy metal, real heavy metal. I, for one, don't like a whole lot of doom because so much of it sounds like some people cannot come up with any good riffs and they don't have the skills to write a song, so they pluck away at a low string over and over in a slow way because that is supposedly what doom is. Arduini and Balich completely disagree. You have to learn to play your guitar for real and you have to have the riffs. There's no getting around that. All the space rock samples, sound feedback and simplistic sludge grooves is not going to cut it.
Listen to this album and hear how the veterans do it. You can bang your head to these song; maybe not all the time, but there’s rocking going on. Sure, there are slower moments, there's plenty of heaviness, but it's not all slow, all the time. There are excellent melodies here. You can sing along, too; Balich has a strong voice and it is the real thing. It is a pleasure to listen to him sing. As for Arduini, well, who would have thought that a guitarist known and respected for his classic prog works would bust out with something this awesome, heavy and rocking like this?
A wonderful triumph.
Note that this album will not be available for a little while and this publication is not able to give you any links to the music yet, but put this album on your list of titles that are of high quality coming out in early 2017 and be sure to keep the list handy. If you, like I, believe that doom is and should be heavy metal, real heavy metal, then I cannot imagine that this work will not interest you.
In addition, read this official information that can be helpful in making an informed decision about this album.
[review by MMB]
track list:
01 The Fallen
02 Forever
03 Into Exile
04 The Wraith
05 Beyond the Barricade
06 The Gates of Acheron
07 Sunrise (Uriah Heep cover)
08 Wolf of Velvet Fortune
09 After All (The Dead) (Black Sabbath cover)
"Doom Laden Progressive Wall Of Metal!" Sounds like the perfect definition of ARDUINI/BALICH's debut album "Dawn of Ages" which will be released on Cruz Del Sur Music on Feb. 24, 2017.
ARDUINI/BALICH is the result of two very powerful figures in their own right of the metal scene. VICTOR ARDUINI needs no introduction being one of the founding members of FATES WARNING, same can be said for BRIAN "BUTCH" BALICH, the mighty voice of ARGUS.
The story goes back in time to the end of 2013 when Arduini put a final word to his experience with FREEDOMS REIGN. Victor needed more freedom to express his creativity, feeling his ideas weren't much fitting into the style of FR anymore.
"At that time I was at a creative peak. It seemed like I wrote new riffs every day which seemed heavier and darker than anything I've done before," commented Victor Arduini. "They were becoming more intricate and challenging which fueled my passion to see how far I could take them. I was really close to the whole process and soon realized it had to be a project where I could have complete artistic control and produce an album that represented who I am as an artist, guitarist and musician."
In search of musicians who could get along with this challenge, Victor recruited Freedoms Reign's drummer Chris Judge and was on the lookout for a singer when his path crossed with Butch who had recently shared stages with him.
"I truly feel Brian's vocals are some of the best he's ever done. It's like when Dio went from Rainbow to Sabbath," Arduini stated. "Same voice but new music around it inspired new melodies and gave a different presentation. While it took longer than both of us expected for many reasons we reached the finish line and are both very proud of the music and our collaboration together. It is truly a joint collaboration and we hope our fans will enjoy what they hear."
"Dawn Of Ages" is one of the most ambitious records ever released on Cruz Del Sur Music. A monumental piece of music on the level of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT or ATLANTEAN KODEX's releases (to name two Cruz Del Sur recording artists). A rollercoaster of emotions, an album that captures the collisions of two worlds, progressive and doom. The final result is a really amazing journey inside human soul. Through six original compositions that last for more than an hour, the audience will be captured and hypnotized by the eclectically familiar Victor's guitar melodies empowered by Butch's passionate interpretation. Indeed "Dawn of Ages" is an album that could have been easily recorded in the mid/late 70s for the total dedication that transpires through each and every note of it. It is not an album that wants to please any old or new trend in metal, rather an intimate expression of two musicians who have always put their passion for heavy music before anything else.
"Dawn Of Ages" will be released in a deluxe 6-panel digipack embellished by a wonderful, original Michael Cowell's (Alunah) artwork. The vinyl version will be released in a gatefold colored vinyl double LP with three incredible cover songs as a bonus. URIAH HEEP's "Sunrise", BEAU BRUMMELS' "Wolf Of Velvet Fortune" and BLACK SABBATH's "After All (The Dead)."
Arduini/Balich - Dawn Of Ages Promo Video

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