• This decade's most inspiring extreme metal record - A review of Bloody Tyrant's Solitary Eagle

    Bloody Tyrant - Solitary Eagle (2017)

    Bloody Tyrant offers not only a serious candidate for the best black metal release of the year but even a record that should make it onto several top lists of the year as well. I would even go as far to say that Solitary Eagle might be the greatest extreme metal album of the decade so far and I can't see anyone beating this anytime soon. This album grows with every single spin and unfolds its intense magic progressively from the strong beginning until the absolutely incredible end.

    The band's third studio album Solitary Eagle offers very creative, entertaining and inspiring melodic black metal. The epic atmosphere on the album is enhanced by a multitude of elements. Some songs offer majestic symphonic elements and choirs that aren't a far call from contemporary Dimmu Borgir and the likes. Other songs focus on Taiwanese folk sounds and tales in the key of Chthonic among others. The band also manages to slow things down in specific moments and relies on enchanting acoustic guitar harmonies and soothing new age choirs that might remind you of projects like Darkness over Depth. The guitar play is also elegant and versatile and switches from atmospheric and cold riffs to more glorious and melodic soundscapes. The epic album closer even introduces melodic female guest vocals that sound so graceful that they beat any extreme folk metal bands with similar approaches such as Eluveitie among others.

    While all these elements could also apply to a great folk metal band, the band remains firmly rooted in the black metal genre thanks to cold riffs, fierce black and death metal vocals and gloomy lyrics that perfectly counterbalance the harmonious parts. These bleak parts keep the album together and serve as powerful guide line through a very colourful release.

    While each and every single song is a masterpiece on its own and in the context of the album, two tracks need to be pointed out. ''Eagle Fly Free'' has nothing to do with the Helloween song of the same name but has indeed a galloping heavy metal pace combined with joyous pipa sounds that meet more destructive riffs and a vivid rhythm section that offers everything from pitiless blast beats to groovier patterns. The sceond half of the song relies more on the group's folk influences with traditional choirs, uplifting folk instrumentation and outstanding melodic guitar solos that heavy or power metal veterans couldn't perform more passionately. The melodies are catchy in a positive way and this concise song has the potential to help the band get the international breakthrough it truly deserves. The aforementioned album closer ''Devastation'' is easily the best song in Bloody Tyrant's impressive career. It features more coherently combined ideas in eight and a half minutes than other bands have in their entire discographies. Soothing acoustic guitar parts and enchanting female vocals meet cinematic and vivid symphonic soundscapes but also mid-paced black metal riffs, a thunderous yet controlled rhythm section and passionate black metal vocals. This single song is easily the best black metal track since Thormesis' Türme des Schattens five years earlier and equals album closers such as The Vision Bleak's The Charm Is Done in terms of stunning creativity and haunting intensity.

    Black metal purists might not get along with the band's diversified yet authentic approach to the genre but anyone who listens to the bands and genres mentioned above should immediately get familiar with Nantou's stunning quintet. In a year that has been rather disappointing concerning new releases, Bloody Tyrant's cinematic, epic and majestic blackened folk metal magnum opus really stands out. Trust me and give this stunning Taiwanese quintet a chance if you like inspired melodic extreme metal.

    Final rating: 97%

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