Thursday, 3 August 2017

ALBUM REVIEW & TRACK PREMIERE: Blues Funeral - "Awakening"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/08/2017
Label: Independent


Close your eyes and you can hear hints of Mountain and Blue Oyster Cult throughout "Awakening." The rolling title track is a true showcase for how these inspirations have shaped the Texas band. Such attention to the details most people probably never notice further ensures a level of quality that may surprise you. Not only is the music masterfully played, but nothing overpowers the composition

“Awakening” CD//DD track listing:
               
1. Shadow of the Snake
2. Awakening
3. Illusions of Reality
4. Firedrake
5. Casimir
6. The Gathering Dust

The Review:

Progressive metal is arguably one of heavy music’s most gutsy disciplines. In this subgenre, you have a crop of originators as well as emerging acts devoted to creating an atmosphere as they are to writing compelling lyrics. Consider the performers included in the progressive metal tent and you’re guaranteed to stir up conversation among people. From Meshuggah to Kings X, the acts are memorable. Subsequent crews thus have some big expectations to live up to.

What makes Blues Funeral of Houston, Texas an important and challenging addition to progressive metal is the fact that “Awakening” is the combo’s follow-up to its 2016 debut, "The Search." Sophomore releases can be incredibly rocky experiences. That’s because, chances are, one of your favorite musicians probably had its own problematic second release.

Fortunately for Blues Funeral and fans, the team’s new release "Awakening" is not that package.

If you heard "The Search" – and kudos to the guys for regularly delivering new music – you may recall one of its most distinguished facets was Blues Funeral’s magnetism. A discerning music aficionado can almost pinpoint to the note where there’s tension in a group. If Blues Funeral members have that, they hide it well, as their music together is just outstanding. Listeners may have gotten a sense of that unity in its initial offering, but the latest confirms this accord. As a result, Blues Funeral serves up a seamless return.

The song construction on cuts like opener "Shadow of the Snake" play exquisitely to the strengths of guitar and rhythm sections. Close your eyes and you can hear hints of Mountain and Blue Oyster Cult throughout "Awakening." The rolling title track is a true showcase for how these inspirations have shaped the Texas band. Such attention to the details most people probably never notice further ensures a level of quality that may surprise you. Not only is the music masterfully played, but nothing overpowers the composition. You notice issues like this when a guitar is overplayed or the vocals wash out other crucial ingredients. Insofar as overall production, Blues Funeral feels faithful to the listening experience first. Such makes "Awakening" a real pleasure to hear.

At various points of the full-length, bassist Gabriel Katz deserves a nod for anchoring the festivities. Katz’s lines are pronounced without being overwhelming. A true prog-metal believer has to further give it up for drummer Cory Cousins, whose contributions are technical without being mechanical. His drumming draws out some of the best elements throughout, such as on "Illusions of Reality."

In no other metal style is the range of a singer as important as it is in progressive metal. Beyond the note she or he can hit, moreover, a performance is as much about the emotion a vocalist can stir up for an audience, as well as the picture a song can paint. Jan Kimmel and Maurice Eggenschwiler represent Blues Funeral marvelously. They together and separately strike the right mood on songs like "Casimir." "Feeling so heavy/With demons on his shoulders/Yet so enlightened and/Never getting older" gets the intonation such realizations deserve. The duo handle much of the quartet’s songwriting, so such vocal presence is understandable. Twinned with their exceptional guitar work, Kimmel and Eggenschwiler deliver something special to this second recording for the band. 

"Awakening" will be available here from the 25/08/2017 and you can check out an exclusive stream of the track “The Gathering Dust” below



Band info: facebook || bandcamp

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