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HALCYON WAY Bloody But Unbowed

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Thursday, June 28, 2018 @ 1:28 PM

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Bloody But Unbowed

2018 Agonia Records

Atlanta, Georgia based prog-power metal band HALCYON WAY is about to unleash its fourth studio album, Bloody But Unbowed, on August 3rd. It is the follow-up to 2014’s Conquer, and features a few lineup changes since then, with Skyler Moore on bass (who has actually been with the band since 2013, but didn’t play on Conquer) and new drummer Aaron Baumoel. Lead vocalist Steve Braun, and guitarists Jon Bodan and Max Eve complete the lineup.

The album begins with the short intro, “Deevolutionize”, which sets the tone for the album. This track broadcasts that things have changed for the better, because Bloody But Unbowed is a huge step forward for HALCYON WAY. The sound they have been working to perfect on the previous three albums has truly come to fruition now. The title track “Bloody But Unbowed” is a declaration, with lyrics like “Relentless, pursuing our goals” and “We’ll bite the hand that feeds/We’ll fight until we bleed” you hear that HALCYON WAY is determined. The tempo is light speed, and played with the necessary ferocity, with muscular riffing and double bass drumming. This continues into the first single released, “Blame” (view the video on KNAC.COM HERE), easily one of the best songs on the album, even if the video is a little disturbing! Check out the guitar solo in this song; it’s a real treat. “Slaves To Silicon” addresses virtual reality and technology and is another standout track that became a favorite quickly. The groove on this track is outstanding.

“Superpredator” is a monster track that raises the bar of heaviness to a level with modern TESTAMENT. The opening riff is a killer, eventually leading to a melodic chorus. Loads of double bass drumming and ripping solos can be found in the song, along with occasional death vocal accents, provided by Bodan and Moore. “Primal Scream” and “Ten Thousand Ways” are up-tempo tracks featuring catchy choruses and some really cool backing vocals. “The Church Of Me” features a killer main riff, and melodic refrain. “Cast Another Stone” works as a straight-ahead power metal track. “Crowned In Violence” is brooding and offers a warning. “Burning The Summit” is another song steeped in heavy riffing and a melodic chorus. The album closes with “Desolate”, the longest song on the album at nearly six minutes, and offers a little bit of everything in the HALCYON WAY repertoire. Check out the catchy chorus, breakdown and solo in this track. There will also be two bonus tracks available, “Insufferable” and “Stand For Something”.

Most of the songs on Bloody But Unbowed border on thrash, and the increase in heaviness and aggression just totally makes these songs work. HALCYON WAY’s lyrics in the past have usually revolved around internal struggles and fighting to get out of a bad situation, and that is no exception here. The songs are heavy, thrashy and technical, but the catchy vocals are the most impressive to me. Steve Braun’s lead and backing vocals are sharp and this is the best I’ve ever heard him sing. There is a backing group of vocalists on “Bloody But Unbowed”, “Blame”, “Crowned In Violence” and “The Church of Me” that is known as the Nailhead Choir. The members of this choir are slowly being revealed. Let’s just say, there is some serious talent in this group of singers! The addition of Aaron Baumoel has proven to be a very smart move, as his drumming here is incredible and technical; he plays like a man possessed. Skyler Moore’s bass and backing vocal contributions deserve recognition, as well as Jon Bodan and Max Eve’s guitar work, I really love the guitar tone on this album.

Mark Lewis, who has previously worked with WHITECHAPEL and TRIVIUM, handles the production, mix and mastering on Bloody But Unbowed. Great job by him, and there are a few ideas here that make these songs more interesting and modern. It is noteworthy, as the sound of this album is monstrous with a perfect mix of the music and vocals. Travis Smith’s cover artwork once again fits the band like a glove. This album shows that HALCYON WAY has a purpose. Make no mistake, HALCYON WAY has delivered at the best time possible and released the best album of their career so far. Bloody But Unbowed is a monster!

In addition to digital download, the album will be available as digipak CD, black vinyl and extremely limited red vinyl.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

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