SMOULDER – VIOLENT CREED OF VENGEANCE
LABEL: Cruz Del Sur Music
RELEASE: April 21st, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings
01. Violent Creed Of Vengeance
02. The Talisman And The Blade
03. Midnight In The Mirror World
04. Path Of Witchery
05. Victims Of Fate
07. Dragonslayer’s Doom
Fans of traditional heavy metal – the likes of Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, Judas Priest, Saxon and Diamond Head – should take note of the new album by Canadians SMOULDER, for it is an impressive release. “Violent Creed Of Vengeance” follows the band’s debut “Times Of Obscene Evil And Wild Daring” that was released in 2019.
Nicely crafted tales flow in epic style throughout the album. The title track opens things in bombastic and vibrant mood, whilst the second track, “The Talisman And The Blade” is a crushing metal song that demands fists in the air. With a big sound, the band appear tight and cohesive as they race like an uncontrolled racehorse. The guitar work is fluid, intricate with a nice crunch that works from every angle. And then you have the deep, sonic boom of singer Sarah Ann Kitteringham, who brings a power to the sound that matches the deep, low-end rumbles.
There’s an interesting blend of styles contained within the SMOULDER sound. The songs at times switch into the fantasy realms of power metal. Listen to the opening of “Midnight In The Mirror World” and you’ll see what I mean. They can do the majestic, imperious sweeping metal that resonates with those who love the old school as well as bringing a modern vibe to their music. It adds up to a boiling cauldron of influences that ebbs and flows throughout the 42 minutes on offer.
SMOULDER’s central themes tend to be the occult, witchcraft and doom-laden story telling. “Victims Of Fate” sees them in expansive mood, embracing a seven-plus-minute song that gallops along with some pace. It’s here that the band enter their true classic metal sound, with dual guitars, thundering rhythm and Kitteringham’s weaving vocals wrapped around the song.They leave the best til last though. The ultimate metal track is often the final one, and SMOULDER’s approach is to cover all the bases before launching into the haunting “Dragonslayer’s Doom”, which broods and boils over the best part of ten-minutes. It’s another atmospheric song that provides more evidence that this is a band intent on making their mark with solid performances from all members.
Ultimately, whether you like “Violent Creed Of Vengeance” is likely to be based on two things. The doom-drenched style that allows huge riffs to crash down and the echoing vocals, delivered with power and guts. If you like the sound of these, then I’ll guarantee that SMOULDER is a band you should embrace. One feels that there is much more to come from them in the future.