• Back to R'Lyeh - The Awakening / Last Fight of the Primordial (2013) - Sophisticated potpourri under a Lovecraftian flag - 86% (29/05/14)

    Back to R'Lyeh - The Awakening / Last Fight of the Primordial (2013)

    Back To R'Lyeh is a Spanish avant-garde metal band that is mainly inspired by Lovecraftian literature. The band just released its first full length recorded entitled “The Awakening / Last Fight Of The Primordial”. The album production is surprisingly good from the instrumental sound to the flawless and well pronounced vocals. The record should please to fans of bands such as Edge Of Sanity, Mastodon, Pain Of Salvation and many more.

    The band comes around with a quite big surprise in their opener “Basil Abscond”. The track features almost Carles Santana inspired guitar licks in the background while a few country and even reggae inspired licks can also be found in the song. The bass guitar is quite funky and makes me almost think of the Californian crossover legends Red Hot Chili Peppers at some moments. Vocally, this track also varies from one genre to the other. A few death metal inspired growls reminding me of Amorphis meet dark and melodic clean vocals that could also come from Ashes Of Ares or Baroness for example. The diversity doesn’t stop there as the track also includes a few hectically and aggressively spoken word passages that I would expect from Mike Portnoy or an experimental metalcore band. At first try, this mixture hits you like a train and feels a little bit weird but in the song gets more and more convincing if you are open to accept this potpourri of genres and influences. That's probably why the term avant-garde fits best to the band even though I'm not a friend of that term because it sounds too elitist.

    The following songs are more metal orientated and slightly less experimental but especially the first four songs on the release are still quite challenging. “Warnings” sounds like a sped-up Voivod track from the “Negatron” and “Phobos” era with some Mastodon influences while “Massacre & Escape” and “The Awakening” are a little bit slower but not less sophisticated and maybe influenced by early Katatonia and Opeth.

    The second half of the record gets a lot more accessible. The songs are shorter, sound more coherently structured and even include a few catchy moments. The instrumental work in “Ghosts & Vengeance” has a more modern touch and almost relaxing passages somewhere between Dagoba, In Flames or even experimental Korn while other tracks seem to be more influenced by System Of A Down including catchy and melodic choruses and chaotic and destructive extreme metal verses and bridges.

    It’s quite hard to mention any favourite tracks but if I had to pick any, it would first of all be the highly experimental opener “Basil Abscond” and then the mysterious but probably catchiest song on the record called “Ghosts & Vengeance” as well as the dynamical “Nuclear Warhead” that mixes brutal with chilling parts in a balanced way. Avant-garde metal experts and fans of the aforementioned bands should give these Spanish talents a few fair tries. Their music needs some time to open up to you but you will feel rewarded in the end. I’m sure that this record could still grow on me even though I'm definitely not able to listen to challenging stuff like this all the time. Back To R'ley could become the next big thing in its genre over the next years if they manage to get the magazines and public attention on their side. 

    Originally written for The Metal Observer

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