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The Fateful Hour : All We Leave Behind

More outright metal than the debut, The Fateful Hour's sophomore still hits some very sweet spots.

In the words of Basil Fawlty's hapless waiter, Manuel, "I know nothing". Here though, rather than some sort of philosophical statement, it's more a long-winded way of saying I hadn't heard of American metallers The Fateful Hour before. Given the cover art, I genuinely didn't know what to expect with this. It didn't look similar to too much in my collection, or particularly doomy for that matter. A cautious, yet somewhat healthy intrigue took hold. Looking for clues as to their identity, their Bandcamp page openly states, "The Fateful Hour is a heavy metal project...". And it is. Modern Heavy Metal.

Probably the first couple of things to capture one's attention, (after you stop waiting for the Doom to start), is the crisp production, and the album's modern sound and approach. Sure enough, the classic influences are there in subtle enough (and occasionally not so!) ways, but 'All We Leave Behind' stamps itself firmly in the more recent here and now, alongside the likes of Moonspell, Tiamat, and Darkseed. Although this stuff really is not my usual 'plat du jour', I'm going to hang myself out on a limb and suggest that if you assembled the initial line up of Killswitch Engage along with the instrumentalists from Nightwish and asked them to make a record together, you may well end up with something not unlike 'All We Leave Behind'. Make of that what you will, (or suggest other scenarios...) but the results on offer here aren't at all bad.

Perhaps the cover IS the clue to the music. A male figure walks quietly away from a building ablaze, his eyes casting a rueful look backwards as he stoically surveys the scene, and as 'The Face of Transcendence' opens the proceedings we're straight into an atmosphere of impassioned reflection, which, after two and a half minutes errupts into the epic, emotional, mournful and uplifting Metal which is what 'All We Leave Behind' is all about. It sounds big and brash, and it certainly makes you sit up and take notice. I should think that if post-millennial Metal is your thing then this ought to be on your shopping list.

Second track, 'A Forgotten Existence', is one of the many album highlights for these ears, coming across at times like Lamb of God with Michael Akerfeld on vocals. Twelve minutes of explosive metallic fury alongside epic washes of emotion and a sumptuous piano-driven breakdown two thirds of the way through. It is rather impressive. Elsewhere, and throughout the album, the keyboards remain subtly in the mix, cloaking the music where necessary, and coming to the fore at other times. The vocals split themselves fairly evenly between death-core growls and traditional singing, along with occasional spoken word passages during some of the breakdowns.

The more traditional elements of The Fateful Hour are what appealed to me most. Good solid riffing, twin lead harmonies, crushing vocals, and an excellent, balanced songcraft. The only thing missing....guitar solos! Well, it's just a personal thing, (and I could be showing my age...) but they may well have given the album that small edge towards becoming a perfectly rounded beast. As it is, it's not bad at all, and like I say I probably don't have the greatest frame of reference for this type of metal. However, I really enjoyed it. It's not Doom, but if you've a small 'Gothic' or 'Epic' bent in your doomy discernings then this may well capture your good attention.

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Reviewer's rating: 7.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Face Of Transcendence
2. A Forgotten Existence
3. What Remains Unseen
4. September 4th
5. The Sunset Which Consumed Me
6. Our Empty Home, Gutted By The Flames
7. Resonance

Duration : Approx. 66 minutes

Visit the The Fateful Hour bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-10-03 by Matt Halsey
Rotten Copper
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