The final resistance...
Genre: groove/sludge metal
There was a time in the 90s when the groove totally dominated metal, and, just for a couple of years, it was a true groovefest of that made men out of teenagers overnight. Unfortunately, groove metal quickly became inflated, as more and more groove metal bands - one more unoriginal than the other - emerged and already established metal bands went groovy (if they didn't go grunge, that is), and eventually, the bloated corpse of groove metal exploded into a cloud of rotten blubber and entrails like a decomposed stranded whale. How sad it was to see a trend in metal, which had true potential, eat itself up like that. Fortunately, every now and then a groovy metal band appears and reminds us that the groove is not dead, and that, in the right hands, it can still be a powerful weapon of mass destruction.
One such band is the Irish metal band Two Tales of Woe, whose 2009-album A Conversation with Death is a lesson in how to successfully use grooves that are so heavy that the will make your chest grow hair in just a matter of minutes.
Drawing on sludge metal and its southern grooves, but combining this with elements of both midtempo thrash metal and more traditional metal, Two Tales of Woe's music might belong to the more polished end of the sludge metal spectrum, but at the same time the tracks on this album are incredibly compelling and, I would say, considerably original, too. The main ingredients of the album are chucking simple, but convincing, guitar riffs (just check out "Straight Outta Hell") and empowering grooves (as hear in "Blood of the Bad"), but these are combined with the melodic approach of NWoBHM, and thus the Irishmen make effective use of melodic guitar harmonies which often appear in the groovy riffs, and there is even room for a bass-driven psychedelic instrumental in the form of "Mantra of Punishment", while "A Place in Time" features both uplifting hard rock riffage and crushingly heavy sludge doom breakdowns. This is definitely a sludge metal album which is accessible and has a more broad appeal than most sludge metal these days, and this will, I think, work to the advantage of Two Tales of Woe, as A Conversation with Death appeals to fans of sludge metal, stoner doom, hard rock and groove metal alike.
Fans of groovy metal should not hesitate to give this album a listen. Two Tales of Woe could very well be among the saviors of the groove.
(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)