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Halcyon Way: Bloody But Unbowed
Halcyon Way - Bloody But Unbowed Music Review

Halcyon Way: Bloody But Unbowed

Progressive Power Death Metal
4.0/5.0

You have to admire Atlanta's Halcyon Way as one of the hardest working bands in the American metal underground. Through hard work, perseverance, and a total DIY work ethic the band has consistently recorded, toured the world, and built a solid fan base. After a four year absence from the studio, Halcyon Way returns with their fourth long player, Bloody But Unbowed, which features new drummer, Aaron Baumoel, from Crown Of Sorrow.

Halycon Way Band Photo Click For Larger Image

Halcyon Way

Honestly, and musically speaking, I like everything about the Halcyon Way sound, with one exception. We'll get to that in a moment. Otherwise, the band draws inspiration from and combines elements from traditional heavy metal, power metal, and thrash metal. They wrap these things up in guitar and vocal harmony, even drop in some toe-tapping hard rock groove throughout. Founder and lead guitarist Jon Bodan is a significant, and likely underrated guitarist, who delivers roaring riffage and thrilling solos. It all sounds good so far, right?

But then there's the death metal element via the inclusion of those pesky and annoying death vocals in the majority of songs. This has been ongoing for several albums. For me, as most readers know, death vocals are a non-starter, always have been, basically they're the knife that slashes the musical Achilles' heel. Yet, contrary to most death vocals usage, Halcyon Way somehow blends them with the harmony of the clean vocal arrangements. I know, that's kind of weird, but it makes them sufferable nonetheless. (It also doesn't hurt, having been listening to heavy metal for better than 30 years, to have the ability to tune them out, at times.) Op-Ed: Honestly, I think the inclusion of death vocals by traditional metal bands is simply a commercial accomadation to the modern metal spirit of the age.

Essentially then, for my listening pleasure, Bloody But Unbowed can be narrowed down to three songs in the middle of the album, Primal Scream, Ten Thousand Ways, and The Church Of Me, which have no death vocals. Unless I missed them. But as I said earlier, musically speaking the other tunes are fine. If anything Halcyon Way has settled into a comfortable, if not a redundant, groove as most songs sound the same and run together, with no remarkable inner parts to differentiate them. Basically, it's rip off the riffage, double down on the speed, churn up the groove, and then lay down some solos. Works for me.

In the end, excepting my usual caveats about death vocals, Halcyon Way's Bloody But Unbowed is another storming album of their hybrid heavy power progressive metal. If you're a fan, as I am, you will dig this album.



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The Bottom Line

In the end, excepting my usual caveats about death vocals, Halcyon Way's Bloody But Unbowed is another storming album of their hybrid heavy power progressive metal. If you're a fan, as I am, you will dig this album.

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