Black Passage hit us with lots of snappy percussion, catchy vocal lines and much more. The Veil is, in short, a promising debut.
Hailing from the Bay Area and featuring members of Fallujah, Wolf King, Behold the Desecration, and Anisoptera, it looks like Black Passage have no shortage of prowess on board. Upon the first few listens, it appears that the assumption and expectation ring quite true. One would be tempted to think there isn’t really anything left to say in the realm of melodic death metal, but here we have a band that proves the contrary.
While there isn’t any narrative quality woven into the album, there is a nice and consistent flow from song to song. The album starts out rather stereotypically, with a short intro track that doesn’t really do much to be perfectly fair. However, as soon as that’s over, we get right into the action without a moment to spare. We immediately notice that the all too-common melodeath shrieking is replaced with a dual vocal formula that is made up of a deep growl and a resounding, clean counterpart. The vocal interplay is well thought out, in spite of the fact that (if you ask me, at least) the cleans outweigh the growls by a fair margin. It would’ve been nice to have an even balance. The clean lines are written with a catchy good taste and don’t feel cheesy at all. Furthermore, the growls really accentuate the weight of the songs when it’s necessary.
The guitar work is also well put together, with nice chunky riffs, lots of sweet dissonant leads (which is a big plus in my book), and barely any cliche solos (a good choice). There’s really no room for complaint on this end, all things considered. There’s just enough variety to keep things engaging and there are plenty of catchy hooks to fit with the vocal delivery. The bass work aptly compliments the rhythmic side at all the right moments, so no complaints there either. The real show-stealer is definitely the percussion. On that end, we have lots of really cool burst styled double-bass stuff and tons of solid fills. A really nice touch, considering how it bodes with the package we have.
The songs aren’t particularly intricate, but they manage to strike a nice balance between mosh-pit weights and a sing along quality, making a two-fold appeal. There are even some vaguely proggy tinges in the title track, “Silent Home”, and “The Broken Hand”, the latter being also the longest of them all. With that said, I’d say this is where the production really shines on the album, since this is where the broadest dynamic range unfolds. To put it simply, production is flawless for all intended purposes.
Black Passage breathe some fresh power into the melodeath corner with their debut tunes. Indeed, The Veil isn’t groundbreaking in any particular way, but it is a solid display of creativity, prowess and energy. Of course, having seasoned musicians behind the project can raise certain expectations, but working as a band isn’t the easiest affair. Considering that we are looking at a debut, it is a damn fine one and I’m certain a lot of metalheads will enjoy this.