Violent Creed Of Vengeance
Review by Vladimir on April 29, 2023.
Swords, sorcery and heavy metal. From time to time, it seems that I quite often return to fantasy inspired heavy metal and I just can’t escape it, nor would I want to. Today I’ll be covering a Canadian epic/heavy metal band Smoulder, and their second full-length album Violent Creed Of Vengeance, released on April 21st via Cruz Del Sur Music. Although I am unfamiliar with the band’s past works, what really drew me to give it a listen is mostly because of the three following reasons: 1. New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal, 2. The cover art by Michael Whelan. 3. Michael Moorcock.
Off with a good start as the title track 'Violent Creed Of Vengeance' begins, which from the get-go breaks everything down with tight downpicking and melodic guitar riffs, groovy bass lines, mid-tempo drums and epic female vocals. From the second track 'The Talisman And The Blade', things take a drastically different turn. In comparison to the previous song, this time it’s much faster and heavier, guitar riffs and solos are far more furious, even double-bass drumming is introduced to bring in a much meaner and aggressive energy. The fifth track 'Victim Of Fate', although epic and heavy as expected, features a special guest narration, which was written and done by none other than the great fantasy mastermind Michael Moorcock of all people. If you’re not familiar with Michael Moorcock, he’s the English science-fiction and fantasy writer, best known for his novels about the albino antihero Elric of Melnibone, who is featured on every Cirith Ungol album and is basically the band’s longtime mascot. The final track 'Dragonslayer’s Doom' is a fantastic nine-minute closure to this banger, but what I like about it is that it has an awesome bass solo which came shortly after the first guitar solo ended.
Although I was expecting to hear a mostly mid-tempo based heavy metal, I was caught by surprise that this was much more than just another heavy metal album. I think it’s pretty obvious that I found the album quite an enjoyable listening experience, which totally pleased the nerd inside me for including Michael Moorcock as the guest narrator and for using Michael Whelan’s art as the album’s cover. Although I already mentioned Cirith Ungol and Elric of Melnibone moments ago, what the band Cirith Ungol is mostly known and responsible for is that they licensed and used Michael Whelan’s art for Elric of Melnibone books as album covers, and yet here we see the example of Smoulder continuing that sacred tradition. The band was obviously inspired by the works of these aforementioned geniuses that shaped both fantasy and music. Production-wise it’s not sterile sounding which I like a lot. The guitar sound is heavy, the bass tone is punchy, the drums are loud and powerful, even the female vocals by Sarah Ann with added reverb fit in wonderfully with the instrumental performance.
I don’t think there’s much more to say about this album other than it is epic, catchy and heavy. Smoulder made something that I and probably many other heavy metal enthusiasts can appreciate with all their heart. I can say with certainty that Violent Creed Of Vengeance is another fine addition to this year’s catalog of metal albums, and I highly recommend that you check it out!
Rating: 8.6 out of 101.15k