Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Album Review - Tides of War by Chariots of the Gods - 8.5/10

What do you get when you mix the basis of metal-core with influences of heavy and thrash metal into the mix? Chariots of the Gods. Although an odd combination of genres, Chariots of the Gods make it work, and work well.

Tides of War is the band's first full length album, following an EP from 2010. With a few years experience, and having toured with bands such as Misfits, Voivod, Despised Icon, Kataklysm, Blind Witness, Misery Index, and many others, Chariots of the Gods prove that they have what it takes to step up their game and step out of the "generic metal-core" tag that tends to plague so many other bands.

Tides of War is full of surprises, from the vocals, to differing genre styles, and even some odd familiarity thrown in there. The first track, "Overture", acts as the introduction and will end up confusing the listener right off the bat. What sounds like a power metal instrumental immediately turns into a thrash heavy metal-core dream of guitar work, which is very apparent in the track "Blind Assassin". You'll find the familiarity in the vocals, as they sound like a rendition of Brian Fair, from Shadows Fall. The vocals have some range to them, as you'll find that they take on a different style every now and then. As a whole, you'll find them to stay consistent for the most part.

Each song has its own sort of variation, enough for each track to separate itself from another. This can depend on the listener though, and the amount of attention you're giving to the music as it is easy to lose track of where you are.

"Seventh Weapon" is a track that fully immersed me into this album, with the skilled guitar playing and intense drumming sections. Although a lot of metal-core bands can sound roughly the same, Chariots of the Gods has found a way to up the intensity and technicality. This is very apparent in the title track as well, especially in that epic guitar solo.

Tides of War also shows the gentler side of the band, with a few atmospheric and calm moments. You can hear this in the beginning of the track, "Revillusion (1905)". I sort of wish they had expanded on this little bit here for a bit longer, possibly turning it into a sort of transition track, but instead they up the intensity once again, and die down into another calm moment with "Snow Falls On The White River". This little track spans for less than 2 minutes, containing some atmospheric quality and the playing of the acoustic guitar. This section of the album throws the consistency off (at least for me). "Severing the Bloodline (1917)" finishes off the middle section of the album in a strong fashion, bringing it to a "full circle", ending it the same way it started.

The rest of the album holds few surprises, but is still able to remain interesting. It is hard to say which parts of the album are best, so I'll leave that up to those that take the time to listen to it. Each section has its strengths and weaknesses, which end up balancing each other out (more positive than negative).

All in all, this release shows that metal-core is still somewhat relevant and also holds some quality. Chariots of the Gods have a solid album on their hands. Although not exactly the most unique sounding in some respects, I think Tides of War will find itself on many lists, whether it be on the "Top Albums of the Year" or "Honorable Mentions" lists. I think time will tell with this release.

Rating - 8.5/10
Release Date - January 29th, 2013

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