ALBUM REVIEW: Possessed Steel – Aedris

 

While Toronto’s Possessed Steel approached Epic Metal with a rough attitude on the EPs they released in 2014 and 2017, their first proper full-length is much classier in comparison. The style is as grandiose as ever, but a greater emphasis on intricate guitar harmonies and polished production gives Aedris (Temple Of Mystery Records) more in common with a band like Wytch Hazelthan Atlantean Kodex. Further comparisons could also be made to The Lord Weird Slough Feg and Hammers Of Misfortune with the free-flowing structures and pastoral air throughout.

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Darkest Era – Severance

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Pitched under the banner of Celtic Metal, Darkest Era’s second full length, Severance (Cruz del Sur),shares more with the Dark Forest’sand Slough Feg’s of this world than it does with a Cruachan or Waylander. With elements of Atlantean Kodex and Trouble prevalent, it is an album borne more of the traditional metal vein than any of the blackened folk ilk that usually fall under that description. That’s not to say there aren’t traces of black metal in their sound, but this tree is rooted in classic metal.

While vocalist Krum (anyone for Quidditch?) rightly takes plaudits for his strong, powerful clean vocals, it is the excellent dual guitars of Ade Mulgrew and Sarah Weighell that keep the ante well and truly “up” throughout with some crushing gallops. In between they flit seamlessly between clean passages and Di’anno-era Iron Maiden harmony riffs and trade-offs, before scooting back into well-crafted and heavy classic metal riffs.

‘Sorrow’s Boundless Realm’ leads the way, an acoustic build up into a blackened riff, before the anthemic ‘Songs of Gods And Men’ stirs and rouses, calling to mind more recent Primordial (they can be forgiven for stealing the middle section and solo from Thin Lizzy classic ‘Emerald’). ‘Beyond The Grey Veil’ is a slower, more considered piece, leading to a doomier outro that calls to mind New Dark AgeSolstice.

 

Come the second half of the album, the gauntlets are off and Darkest Era tear their way home. ‘Trapped In The Hourglass’ nods to Grand Magus before we move via the fist-pumping ‘The Scavenger’ and ‘A Thousand Screaming Souls’ to round things off expertly with the heroic ‘Blood, Sand And Stone’, an epic that spirals off via a dual-guitar build into a soaring lead, with Krum trumping his previous excellent work, fully opening his diaphragm to earnestly guide the ship home.

Mixing NWOBHM and epic doom, Darkest Era’s sophomore effort is an album of stirring and impressive classic metal, and is a call to arms that deserves to be answered.

8 / 10

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STEVE TOVEY