Marauder
Elegy of Blood

Elegy of Blood is one of them power metal records I have mixed feelings about. There’s no doubt at all about the fact that Marauder (what’s with the longevity of their career so far) have the right energy going. They also have the chops, and the attitude to cook up a mean sound that is irrefutably heavy, and generously beefy. Nevertheless, this fifth album of theirs (and first on the Pitch Black Records roster) doesn’t necessarily push the band’s capacities to their full, fired up throttle, in terms of the songwriting approach to a handful of these ten cuts.

The first actual song to speak of, ”The Great War”, does full justice to its five-minute length. It’s a classic, albeit typical European power metal track bringing forward very mint licks throughout its duration, with a catchy and anthemic chorus, and melodies that seal the deal on the effectiveness front. ”Alexander” has a notably more nuanced overall gallop, and keeps the adrenaline flowing in a concrete direction that’s fully satisfactory, with a good range of hooks to draw horsepower from. The nearly six-minute long ”Warriors” is the point where the generally promising endeavors meet their baffling halt. It’s an okay song that really has the elements necessary to be listenable; the one problem is the degree of flatness to the approach of the riffs, and the lack of diversity over the span of its 5.45-length. It lacks the urgency characterizing the beginning of this record, at least, to this set of ears. ”Roman Empire” is also fairly timid on the instrumentation front, with a go-through-the-motions, linear layout, the two attributes saving it from being categorized as filler being Alexandros Kostarakos’ extremely heartfelt and beautifully electric vocal delivery, coupled with the occasional inspiring guitar melodies that are strongly capable of amping up the listener’s interest during the few fleeting moments they’re brought up.

The instrumental ”Hiroshima”, on the upside, is chock-full of sincerely killer riffage and lick elaborations laid out on one muscular delivery courtesy of drummer Grigoris Vlachos. The shredding around these parts sure isn’t scarce, taking the entirety of the track by storm, and assuring its ability to kick just about any unpleasable purist (such as my good self) up the teeth, oldschool heavy-metal style. ”Mother” has sweet melodies, and an intricate cohesiveness to boot, but fails to make a lasting impression in terms of mind-numbing impact. ”Crusader” is considerably more seasoned and dynamic, although the collective focus isn’t necessarily on board from the first minute to the last; the vocal sounds off in a few passages of the track, and the twin guitar riffage could’ve used some more fleshing out. I’m digging the contemplative melodic basswork in this one, nevertheless, and would’ve loved to hear more of Thodoris Paralis’ well-oiled tricks sticking atop of the mix over the duration of this album. ”World War II” scores major points when it comes to real memorability with a dirty, and purely rock and roll main riff, meshing incredibly well with inspired, powerful singing from Alexandros, and well-calculated, and genuinely enthusiastic-sounding buildups all through the track, all of which indicate a good vibe and grand chemistry stemming from 22 years of active teamwork in the Marauder camp.

Strength of character is present in large amounts on the couple heavy-hitters present on this disc; those select tracks are more than enough to get some noise going in heavy metal diehard circles. ”Elegy of Blood” has a spine, and even though that fact ain’t in full view on each and every single cut out of those ten, it still speaks volumes about Marauder ‘s indeniable ability to kick a fair amount of ass.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Noch
June 6th, 2012

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