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Sudden Death Syndrome - 90%

IxI_KILLING, July 14th, 2011

According to the United States Census Bureau, we currently have 6.94 billion humans living on planet Earth at this very moment. Out of all those people, most of the normal, “I only pay attention to what my country does”, close-minded fucks, will never understand that metal music is global and is provided to more people than anything else music wise. When I started my journey in the metal world, I would of never of thought for a split second that countries like Jordan, Serbia and Estonia would ever give birth to some great projects. As the years went on, I learned very quickly that most of the stuff that’s undiscovered is going to be hidden in dark corners of the most unknown cities in other countries. Bilocate is a band that falls into that category of being hidden and unknown to an extent. As they like to call themselves “dark oriental metal”, I’m simply going to call them a 7-piece progressive death/doom outfit for the sake of others wondering what “dark oriental metal” might be.

“Sudden Death Syndrome” is the sophomore record from this Jordan based outfit, even though this album was released back in 2008, it still holds up three years later to what the progressive death/doom genre is doing these days. Now, as some people love to compare Bilocate to such bands as Opeth, My Dying Bride and Orphaned Land, I simply can’t say that they sound like any of those bands without mentioning how powerful and operatic Bilocate can be on this record. When I say the word operatic, I mean it in the sense of volume, pure lung power and a force that will blow your hair back as if you were standing behind a jet engine, the similar feeling I get when I listen to the early Becoming The Archetype records. ”Sudden Death Syndrome” has this liking to building up massive amounts of structure only to realize that they haven’t built it high enough for the kings and queens to see over the mountain tops. “Blooded Forest”, the second track on this record, does the structure building very well but also fills your lungs with hope and self-empowerment. Hell, “Blooded Forest” is a seventeen minute journey that could also be compared to a catastrophic ride with twists and turns up a volcanic mountain while burning hot ash falls from the sky.

Travelling deeper and deeper into this record, once you hit the third track, “The Dead Sea”, you’ll probably realize that hope has been embraced by the country of Jordan and they can produce some pretty motivating records. If the tremendous gathering of drop heavy riffs, very melodic and beautiful keyboards or the blistering attack on the drum sections don’t wake you from your slumber, maybe the hellish vocals of Ramzi Essayed will. ”Sudden Death Syndrome” also makes me think of how far I’ve came and how long the metal scene has traveled within the last ten to fifteen years. This record fills me with an outstanding amount of pleasure that I’ll be hearing some great stuff from Bilocate and other outfits from Jordan in due time.

So, as the energetic door closes at the end of the record with “The Stone of Hate”, I’m pleased to hear the ambient sounds that graced my ears as they did on the intro track. “Sudden Death Syndrome” is an gateway record that will expose people to other bands in the Middle East and hopefully to other bands in different countries. If you can’t stand for that, you might want to rethink what kind of music you’ve been supporting.

Originally written for: http://bloodorlove.domesticgenocide.com/

Dark, somber, moving - 85%

autothrall, November 7th, 2009

While I consider myself a worldly metal fan, I haven't heard much coming out of Jordan, so I was kind of surprised by the quality of this doom/dark metal band's sophomore effort. They play a hybrid of death and doom with some progressive elements, dowsed in a lot of keyboard atmospheres. The result is something quite powerful and creepy, and reminded me a little of Opeth and the more progressive Dan Swano/Edge of Sanity stuff. I think it would also appeal to fans of Russian Lefthander's Raxa project.

"Humans and the Dark Affiliation" sets the pace with its acoustic guitars, percussion and haunting New Age feel. "Blooded Forest" begins with a haunting guitar trill set into a dense atmosphere, and then comes forth the growling. This track is over 17 minutes long so it does give you that Opeth feeling of 'the epic', yet it never becomes dull whatsoever, and there are numerable great riffs. "The Dead Sea" is a shorter, glorious piece with a nice lead. "Ebtehal" begins with a graceful acoustic segment before collapsing into beautiful doom. "Inoculate" is a flowing, gorgeous progression of chugging guitars and keyboards. "Pure Wicked Sins" is the slowest and most doomy track here, and the album closes as it began with another instrumental "The Stone of Hate".

The material sounds quite good, the synths and percussion merge flawlessly into the guitar riffs and the vocals top it off with the proper air of desolation. This album thrives off the atmosphere it creates, taking you along for a voyage into the dark underside of humanity. You get a haunted feeling from their compositions, but not in a sillier sense as, say, Gloomy Grim. The entire experience is quite dark, somber, and moving.

Very much recommended!

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Oriental dark metal - 90%

darknesssamara, October 14th, 2009

They describe their music as "Oriental Dark Metal", while traditional Oriental influences are present, in the form of Eastern scales and the use of the Arabian traditional instruments like (Oud), the result sounds clearly European, 7 good tracks coming in at just over 50 minutes will stream into the listener.

The album begins and ends with an ambient music, which is sickly as an intro but with a new rearrangement into improved outro, the arrangements and songwriting are good, slow tempo, mid-range growl vocals, yes they are really dark. Plodding riffs and melancholic piano melodies frequently appointed. On the other hand, I felt the guttural vocals by Ramzi are similar to Mikael Akerfeldt. The track (Blooded Forest) is the hardest song on the album, The speedier death metal moments are only appreciative by the good classical piano playing and great guitar work. delighted undertone and clear guitars in the song (Ebtehal) were very good, as it moves on you can hear the sound of the vocals clearly. Running at more than 9 minutes, for me I felt that this song is a summation of two songs. and (Pure Wicked Sins) is just a shard of the old My Dying Bride and played and recorded well with an integration of clear and harsh vocals that takes the listener deeper into the gloom.

The riffing style is exelent, Tempos range from slow to fast and Bilocate are ready be creative to do the solos either, Soloing is professional here. The vocal performance is strong element too, Ramzi’s performance is usually guttural to the extent, reminding you of Akerfeldt’s growls, Clean vocals are present but prudent used.

The production is provided by Jens Bogren so they will make the ears remember Opeth and Katatonia, but they certainly create their own songs in dark / death / doom metal. This release is an important achievement for those guys, but its pushing them away and away from the doom metal stable, Bilocate have created within these fifty-one minutes, a great materialization of those who came from the desert lands. And it's done in a completely creative way, With the few murmurs here, Sudden Death Syndrome is an unique record.

Bilocate - Sudden Death Syndrome - 90%

ThrashManiacAYD, August 28th, 2009

Ah yes the spirit of Metal lives worldwide! Having ridden roughshod through one too many crap albums on here recently it has a taken me a metaphyscial trip to the Middle East, in Jordan's Bilocate, to remember that all is not lost in the metal world. Whereas recent albums emerging from Sweden, USA and Italy have hit me with the full force of a watered-down glass of cheap coke, Bilocate's second offering has had the alcoholic equivalent of downing a pint of vodka, determined to leave a lasting impression you won't forget the consequences of in a hurry. With the impending release of Sam Dunn's "Global Metal" movie exploring the reach of heavy metal around the world, the components of Bilocate's second works would have made interesting examination for it.

Combining the elements of a number of varying bands, Bilocate have created a style mixing the sprawling, haunting soundscapes of older Opeth material, My Dying Bride's shoegazing solemnity with brilliant flourishes of Orphaned Land-like Arabic fragments resulting in something really quite special. Not surprisingly attention is drawn to 17-minute "Blooded Forest" where comparisons to "Still Life" era Opeth are clearest, both in the relaxed nature of the band's songwriting and in Ramzi Essayed's echoed gruff vocals. Possessing more than just a brooding atmosphere, "Blooded Forest" contains passages of doom so dark many Scandinavians should be taking note - Jordan is a hot sunny country ferchristsakes! Like much supposedly negative-sounding doom, one can interpret the passages of crawling desperation in "Blooded Forest", "Pure Wicked Sins" and "Ebtehal" in a positive way. The spoken word sections may possess the solitude of My Dying Bride or the aforementioned classic Opeth material but the cascading riffs and tempos that are expertly interwoven amongst these passages suggest a light at the end of the tunnel, where the weight of the riffs can at times seem too heavy but you just know respite is only round the corner.

Like Orphaned Land, perhaps the best-known and most successful Arab Metal band thus far, Bilocate are not afraid to utilise the musical elements of their society: album-closing instrumental "The Stone Of Hate" coming across akin to a Nile interlude (or should that be the other way round?) and "Inoculate" featuring an Arabian acoustic guitar that has managed to engender the strength to be heard amongst the brilliantly levelled remainder of the band. Rarely have I heard a band sound so mature in the songwriting department, able to so fluently mix granite-weight riffs with chugging old-school Hypocrisy deathisms, the heart-wrenching pulse of My Dying Bride and While Heaven Wept with mythical Middle Eastern vibes. The closest anyone has come to ticking all those boxes is Opeth and look how big they've become.

I hope anyone with a passing interest in extreme music will get to hear "Sudden Death Syndrone" for it's worth as a real work of art in a time of largely soulless plastic fillers. Whether the wonder of this album will be noticed by many given Bilocate's location is a moot point as the best art exists where audiences aren't required, but nothing more could hardly be asked of Bilocate at this stage of their career. Monumental and wonderfully captivating.

Originally written for Rockfreaks.net

Dark and mystical. - 78%

Empyreal, August 21st, 2008

Here's a band who call themselves "Dark Oriental Metal," and while that is a hugely specific genre, I'd say it fits Bilocate to alright. This is very dark, meandering music, possessing a heavy, malleable atmosphere that reminds of sepia-toned forests with falling leaves like rain, and while that might not be too original, the music itself won't fail to please. It's doomy, gloomy, depressive type stuff with big, booming and slow riffs, low growls and quite a moving sense of melody and song structuring that lends a nice bleak soundscape to the whole thing. I'm no expert on this kind of music, but overall I'd say it's done quite admirably, with no huge flaws in execution or in performance. It's a very consolidated, restrained effort, and that is respectable in these eyes - too many a band these days try to cram several styles into their music, preventing it from flowing naturally. Bilocate have slowed down into a relaxed groove that is both pleasant and oppressive; a nice contrast.

However, I didn't score this release higher simply because it might be TOO relaxed, to the point of being redundant. See, these guys, they don't play a very dynamic, varied form of music. And I must also direct your attention to the 17 minute long (!) opening song, the regal "Blooded Forest." It's not a bad song, this one, but the problem is that after you've heard it, you've heard the whole album - the rest of it becomes tiresome after such a long tread through the barren wasteland that is Sudden Death Syndrome. Being such a long song, it's an obvious attention grabber, stealing the spotlight almost completely from the equally majestic "Ebtehal" and the lonely, grave "Pure Wicked Sins." Bilocate have created a very interesting piece of work, but with a little more refinement, they could create something truly wondrous and wicked. Look out for these guys.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com