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Age of Taurus - The Colony Slain

Label: Rise Above Records
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8.5/10


Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, classic Danzig, The Sword, Ride the Lightning-era Metallica, Pink Floyd - - including the Syd Barrett stuff, Dickinson and Di’Anno Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Trouble, Candlemass, and Spinal Tap. That should give you a general sense of what you’re in for with Age of Taurus on their second album, “The Colony Slain.” They’re labelled as Doom Metal, but the energy level is a bit higher than I’d expect for that classification. Their Sabbathy guitar tone and love of the diminished fifth certainly fit, but I think there’s a stronger NWOBHM link, especially with the harmonized leads in the riffs.

 

This is well-written Heavy Metal with a classic feel, crafted with a medium level of complexity and painstaking attention to the crucial little details. Toby Wright is the mastermind, guitarist, and vocalist behind the project, but I do hear the impact of having Leo Smee (With the Dead, formerly of Cathedral) on bass.
There’s clearly a Swords (and Sorcery?) storyline to the album, set in the fictional Taurean Empire, which sounds like a place where Conan the Cimmerian would crush his enemies, see them driven, etc. Cool. . . . Smith has a solid clean voice, similar at times to John D. Cronise of The Sword, but his words are mostly lost amidst the sound and fury. Helpfully, he includes a few “Stonehenge”-esque spoken word sections to get the listener caught up. I do greatly admire Smith’s vocal delivery; there’s a passionate theatricality in his performance that makes the music really jump off the page. . . . or maybe I should say, jump out of your speakers.
My favorite moment of the entire record is the “Great Gig in the Sky”-inspired female guest vocal wailing that closes out track 3: “The Trial of Blackwynn Chaise.” I also love the Thrashy riff of “In Dreams We Die.” The nasty, nasty power chord and single note riffs of “The Walls Have Ears” never fails to grab your attention. The “As Ice Into Blood” instrumental and the title track make for a solid album finish, although the song, “The Colony Slain” brings the proceedings to a jarringly abrupt end. For other recommendations, enjoy the “Piece of Mind” (Iron Maiden)-reminiscent “Beyond the Westward Path.”

 
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