American blues music has inspired and influenced a host of musicians around the globe. From the obvious effect on early English rock (Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, et al) to its continuing presence in hard rock, not to mention pop, ska, rap, country and a host of others, the blues can be found everywhere. So why not heavy metal? On his new project Downspirit, Freedom Call/Symphorce guitarist CÚdric 'Cede' Dupont, set his sights on merging heavy metal with his love for the blues on their debut release Point of Origin. It's a worthy goal, but has he succeeded?
Generally, the answer is yes, but it's a very subtle influence. From the blues harmonica and groove on Love Song, possibly the best song on the album, to the ferocious, yet subdued, blues licks on Life's a Bitch, the motif is here. Yet, it's better on other songs most notably Good Times, Make My Day, and less on The End. This latter song and the ballad-like Hollow Words offer a more sublime blues movement.
Often, however, Point of Origin sounds like heavy rock to heavy metal album overall with some nods to modernity with an average, and generally tasteful, amount of shouting growls as on Lost, Arisen or Highway Run. This should make Point of Origin appeal to the younger crowd currently infected by modern rock and metal's harsh and hardcore trends. Yet, if it weren't for the music and Dupont's fret work, Make My Day would be wholly unbearable, which sometimes can sould like mild melodic metalcore (yuk!). Otherwise, it's a kickass song. Probably, the best words to describe Point of Origin may be hard-hitting, melodic, muscular, and lightly modern heavy metal.
Besides Dupont's impressive guitar work here, the real show stealer may be vocalist Steffen Lauth who navigates his way through each song with remarkable strength and presence (despite the growling hardcore side). Where did Cede Dupont find this hidden gem? (I believe Mr. Lauth fronted an obscure German metal band called Letter X in the 1990's. Anybody with info feel free to comment.)
While I'm not sure Cede Dupont fully succeeded in merging blues with heavy metal on Downspirit's Point of Origin, it's a damn fine start. Point of Origin is an impressive, diverse, and totally engaging work of muscular blues infected heavy metal, even if it is lightly poisoned by some modern hardcore growling vocals at times. Recommended!
While I'm not sure Cede Dupont fully succeeded in merging blues with heavy metal on Downspirit's Point of Origin, it's a damn fine start. Point of Origin is an impressive, diverse, and totally engaging work of muscular blues infected heavy metal.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]