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Bleakwail - Songs of Sorrow

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It's always exciting to stumble across that quality band that has been around a while, but for some reason you've never heard of.  Bleakwail hails from Finland and their "Songs of Sorrow" EP has been receiving some significant playtime in my CD player lately.  Bleakwail classifies their music as Christian gothic dark metal.  They mix black metal and goth for a combination that comes across very well, as these five songs really grab my attention and keep me coming back for more.

Now, I have heard TONS of complaints about this band.  Many of my good friends hate the band and say they suck.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  Yes, they have a few kinks to work out, but this is a band that I am really enjoying.  My personal opinion is that most of the people that don't like them have more of a problem with the corpse paint that they wear then anything to do with the music itself.  Granted, they don't do as good a job with the corpse paint as Antestor does, but this is no Demoniciduth. 

On to the music...From the brutal black metal and horrifying vocals, to the calmer passages with very deep and haunting clean vocals, I'm hearing a band that has some great potential.  The black vocals that I mentioned are one of the strong points of the band.  The vocals are just plain agonizing in the way they sound.  Very excellent!  The clean vocals are decent, but could use some work.  The mix in some higher pitched vocals that need to be canned.  The deeper vocals are good, but could stand to be a big more dark in spots.   Musically, the band seems to be pretty good.  They mix it up quite frequently between the blazing black metal to the slow and somber gothic parts.  The lyrics are very worshipful and very maturely written.  Production is fairly well done and the packaging is good for an indie.  However, I HATE the front cover.  Talk about mega bad.  This artwork does not fit the music in the slightest bit.  They definitely need to go for a more darker image next time around.  As far as best songs go, I'd have to go with "Veni Sancte Spiritus" and "A Bleak Wail".

This band is not yet in the ranks of bands like Antestor or Slechtvalk, but if they stay the course, I could definitely see Bleakwail making huge waves in the extreme metal scene in the very near future.  You should be able to pick this disc up at blastbeats.com or visit their website at bleakwail.com.  It's only 5 songs, but clocks in at over 30 minutes.  (Review by Matt)

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Lately for me, nothing exceptional has come out of Finland in quite a few years.  It still pretty much remains that way.  This band Bleakwail comes from the same country.  To be honest, after seeing pictures of these guys, I was on the floor laughing myself to death.  Dressed as monks with crosses on the face was just too much for me to handle.  And the drummer looked like a dead Charlie Chaplain.  So from seeing their pictures, I could not take this band seriously.  I had read where people thought they were good and I just decided to check it out.
The disk starts off kinda cool.  "A Bleak Wail" is quite unique for an intro part of a song that makes a good intro to an outing. I liked the intro.  Once the passage where the vocals start, the music commences to sound like a
cartoon.  The vocals are out of key even.  As the song goes, it just falls
apart.  The 2nd song is called "Veni Sancte Spiritus".  This seems better.
Deeper vocals to make it more haunting.  When the vocals kick in, they keep your interest going.  When it mellows, it sounds like they are trying to make a choir and that don't work.  But they get right back into the good stuff.  It goes in and out from cool harsh stuff, to lame slower stuff.  They just need to stick with fast stuff.  I do like this song though.
      
"Songs of Sorrow" follows at track 3.  This starts good!  Very good.  Harsh, slight grim feel, but not extremely fast.  But again this is a song in and out from cool part to dumb cartoon pieces.  The vocals are killer though!
Towards the middle, they bring out this monk type thing with actual
singing.  This is brilliant.  Acoustic/clean guitar underlying!  Not exactly what makes this band a black metal band but they did a good job.
Song 4 is called "Passionate Peace".  I hate the way this starts!  I have no clue what they were trying to do and I don't think they do either.  Clean guitars, keyboards...It has melody but it's just not good.  They bust into faster stuff and the vocals kinda get harsher.  Reminds me of Vondur in
the vocal department.  The keyboards are way too loud and overpower the good fast parts.  Actually they are way too loud in the entire song.
         
The final track on here is called "Liberation From Death". Now although the title has kind of a cool ring, they definitely end this song with a bang. Faster and harsher than the others on here. The vocals are even kept up.  I am actually impressed with the fast and harsher parts.  But again, that cartoon music just completely ruins the mood.
         
Overall, this isn't a bad effort, but it's not a great one either.  There are great parts and there are crap parts. Now if they just take their stupid wannabe paint off and rid theirselves of the cartoon music, this would be a band to check more of.  (Review by Biff Bartholemew)

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