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Tang

Blood & Sand

Review by Gary Hill

I like this disc quite a bit. It seems a little uneven, though. I mean, at times it feels like something that’s almost punk rock. At other points it leans toward more epic metal sounds. There are even some proggy moments. Still, all but the final cut seems to work together. I guess the real thing is that it seems that songs that are closer together in terms of style tend to be lumped together here. Perhaps splitting them up would have left us with an album that flowed better. As it is, at times it feels like a couple different albums, like a split CD. Either way, though, there is plenty to like about this.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Crashing

With an introduction that has a bit of a Middle Eastern vibe, this powers out into some screaming metal from there. The verses are rather raw and a bit punky. The choruses have a more polished hook element to them. This thing gets fairly extreme later, but the melodic elements remain throughout.

Disgusted
Another screaming hot metal tune, if anything, this is heavier than the opener. It’s less raw, though. The vocals are more shouted, though. It’s angry and a bit punk rock like. The chorus is quite melodic, though. I particularly dig the guitar solo on this beast.
Reign of Blood

As good as the first couple songs were, this blows them away. It’s a powerhouse, fast paced and frantic metal tune. Yet, it’s more purely epic melodic metal than the previous cuts were. This is just such a powerful piece. It has a great multiple singer vocal arrangement, too. That is made possible by the guest appearance of Dee Snider. This is definitely a contender for best track of the set.

Red Dust
There’s more of an odd alternative rock vibe on this thing. It’s quite punk in a lot of ways. This is very different yet very frantic and heavy. It’s a real screamer, but a little odd.
Holy Terror
In a lot of ways this feels a lot like something that might have come out in the 1980s. Yet there is also an epic metal vibe to it. I’m reminded of Doro a bit on this piece, really.
Isolation
There is almost a modern prog element to this cut in a lot of ways. Yet there is also a modern metal element for sure. The killer riff driving this is screaming hot. The mellower movements, though, really do resemble progressive rock. They are quite complex, too. In fact, this song is the most complex thing here. It’s also probably my favorite track on the whole disc. This is worth the price of admission all by itself, really.
Ashes
This short instrumental is dark, mysterious and very dramatic. It’s quite a cool mood setting piece.
The 11th Hour
Heavy and dramatic, this is screaming hot epic metal.
L.O.V.E. Machine
Here is a cover of the song from WASP. This is much more of a melodic rock rendition. Sure, it’s still metal, but it’s less raw than the original for sure. I love the guitar solo on this thing.
August Ends
Although this is a good song, it doesn’t really fit with the rest. It’s more of a rock anthem than it is any kind of metal. As catchy as it is, I think the album might have flowed better if they’d left this off of it altogether.
 
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