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Turkey is a country which, despite not boasting the most prominent of metal scenes, certainly has a heritage rich enough to provide some more innovative twists to the formula. However, melodic thrashers The Blame don’t milk that trendwagon much, instead offering a blend of American-styled genres ranging from heavy to thrash metal, accompanied with some minor proggier and melodic elements for a motley band of influences on their début album Born.
The most immediate of these influences that jumps out is a healthy appreciation for the ‘classic bands’, giving off echoes of Iron Maiden in the guitarwork of Sarp such as on the rumbling “Guiding Light”, and Altinay has his own Rush-like prominence on bass. The opener, “Another Stolen Life”, on the other hand, is a more thrashier number, something of Machine Head-lite with an echo of power metal rhythm in Kantarcioglu’s drumming, and topped off with a traditional “heavy metal” solo from Sarp. The guitarwork is one of the more enjoyable elements of Born, such as the solo on “Deserted Nation”, or the shred-fest that is “Exile”. Vocally, Ozen takes smatterings of Belladonna and Warrel Dane into consideration, but they unfortunately require the more powerful musical sections to lift them out of mediocrity, not helped by intermittent superfluous gang vocals.
The band falls into the chug trap occasionally, resulting in forgettable tracks like “Valley Of Trade”, with its extraneous storm noises, or “Fading Day”, which is a fairly safe number, but the real bone of contention I have emerges in “Lost In A Rabbit-Hole”, a pseudo-ballad bookended by out-of-tune acoustic guitars and brief female backing vocals which don’t contribute much to the overall feel of the song, while also showcasing some unadulterated Maiden worship that could have been better concealed.
In spite of that, I find numerous enjoyable parts, particularly in choruses such as on the falsetto-reaching “The Scarab”. There are also occasional bursts of Gama Bomb speed such as on “Beyond The Wind” or “Made In Stone”, and the bass provides light relief with its relative funk influence. The sporadic growls are also cool, a possible allusion to Thrown To The Sun, in which 3 of The Blame’s members also play. “Another Stolen Life” ultimately remains my favorite track for its catchiness and neatly introducing the band’s formula, although “Beyond The Wind” certainly has its own moments as well.
While Born doesn’t quite succeed in hiding its influences from the listener, I can hear the moments that will appeal to fans of the thrash and heavy metal genres. The album is not my cup of tea in the long run, but I appreciate the musicianship that’s gone into it, and every so often I find myself returning to one or two of the finer tracks. In short, Turkey has another band to fly the metal flag proudly, and a strong representative on the competitive world stage, and with some maturation in their love of their influences, The Blame stand in good stead for the future.
Originally written for Metal Recusants (metalrecusants.com)
The Blame is a Turkish metal band formed in 2006. For a band that has only previously released a demo, I'm going to have to say that I'm severely impressed. "Born" from 2011 is a heavy, groove-ridden album with just a teeny tiny bit of power metal in the mix, and everything just comes together in one big explosion of nicely varied and powerful metal.
Coming out of nowhere it's not often you see a band's first effort be completely breathtaking. While the vocals struggle a little with the higher notes and the music in general lacks a bit of memorability, the album certainly isn't lacklustre and with the amount of variation The Blame put forth "Born" just didn't get boring.
I sensed a lot of Pantera and Machine Head in their songwriting and especially in the drumming, but it isn't overdone or even very noticable. The Blame's lead singer Enver Yilmaz has some pretty cool Phil Anselmo and Joey Belladonna-ish things going on with his vocals, and in general the album could probably best be described as a mix between early Anthrax and Pantera with some tendencies towards more high notes and epic melodies in the vocals, only a few times peppered by raw growley vocals. Obviously I'm over-simplifying things, but in order to just boil it down a bit that is generally the feel I get from listening to The Blame.
Reading about the band online I saw them described as progressive thrash metal once or twice, but in all honesty I can't quite put my finger on in what way The Blame is progressive. They certainly aren't your typical garden-variety thrash band (probably because they aren't trying to be Slayer), but bands like Artillery, Kreator and Megadeth are proof that modern thrash has moved in a more melodic direction with a wholesome and heavy production rather than the gritty, lo-fi production of the early 80's.
The Blame's debut album features both the close-to-mandatory soulful songs and highly melodic but great groove and energetic playing and drumming. There's something, however, about Born that I can't quite put my finger on. Sometimes the vocals are just a bit over the top, and the music lacks hooks. While Born is a great album to listen to while doing other stuff, it's not something that I would sit down and listen to closely, at least not very often.
Originally written for http://gouls-crypt.blogspot.com/
The Blame is a heavy/melodic/thrash metal band from Turkey and “Born” is their debut album. This is the second album I have received from Turkey (and have since received a third.) That is pretty cool to know they are rocking out some metal in Turkey. Hails to the metal fans in Turkey! m/
I get a lot of emails from labels and bands asking if I will review this album or that album. Some just dump it on me and say “here’s our shit, check it out” (which is acceptable), but most are more humble and ask if it is not too much bother, would I mind giving them a listen. I am always slightly more inclined to write up the latter bands first. The point that I have not yet gotten to, is that it kind of blows my mind a little when I receive such humble requests, and then when I listen to the album it is amazing. Would I mind reviewing your album? You bet your ass I will review your album lol. That is how I felt when I received “Born.”
A lot of the music on “Born” has a strong thrash vibe to it, and the rest is at least a melodic heavy metal style. I was instantly hooked on The Blame from the first track. The music sounds excellent, and the vocals are almost entirely sung clean and melodic. There are some harsh-edged background vocals for accent at times, but mostly the vocals are clean. There is a lot of cool guitar work, and the songs are generally catchy and worthy of some head-bobbing action. “Lost in a Rabbit Hole” is the only track that lost me a little; it dragged some compared to the faster tracks.
The production quality sounds good, and the album contains eleven tracks clocking in at 47 minutes worth of music. You know what the best part about “Born” is? The band is giving the album away for free. Head over to their website or Facebook page to get the free download. For those of you too lazy, I have also included a link to “Another Stolen Life.”
Originally posted on RockMusicCritic.com
Modern thrash metal is really not my scene. To me, thrash has become a little too derivative of a genre these days, and most of that sentiment is directed at many bands trying to pay a little too much homage to those glorious halcyon days of yore when Bay-Area thrash ruled all things metal. Then the new wave of thrash bands (the American ones, in particular) that call themselves modern don't do much for me either only because they sound so sterile and lifeless as they try to sneakily incorporate metalcore elements to make angsty teenagers happy (talking to you, Shadows Fall). If you're going to be a thrash band that makes me bang my head in bliss, you'd better bring something new and exciting to the table. That's exactly what Turkey's The Blame do on their debut, Born.
These guys were clearly listening to all the right things when they were growing up, and all those influences really shine through on this, their debut album. During the thrashier parts, they remind me a little bit of what I would imagine a faster, more modernized version of Anthrax would be, which is clearly a good thing. Then at other times, they sound like a more traditional heavy metal band complete with moments that make you want to sing along in your best vibrato.
The first thing that strikes me about these guys (and keep in mind this is only their debut) is the quality of the production and the quality of their musical skill. I'm a guy who loves a good, strong bass guitar sound, and I can say without a doubt that The Blame has one of the best bass sounds in the mix you will probably find anywhere in today's thrashy heavy metal scene. Not only does the bass sound terrific, but Onur Altinay definitely knows his way around the fretboard, laying down some tasty licks on virtually every track. He'll also drop in a neat bass solo now and again. It's not just the bass that sounds great either. That bass combines perfectly with some excellent drumming that can set your watch to, courtesy of Berca Kantarcıoğlu, and they are amazingly tight together. With that, I can honestly say that The Blame provides a world-class rhythm section that's of the same caliber with any other band you can name. They are that good.
As for the songwriting, The Blame feature an eclectic blend of song styles, ranging from all-out thrash to Iron Maiden-esque heavy metal anthems to even the occasional metal ballad. Not only do they do a lot of things, they do all those things pretty well. It's hard to believe that Born is their debut when they sound like they've been playing and writing together for decades. The riffs are tight and well-constructed, and there is absolutely nothing that seems repetitious, contrived, or boring. Guitarists Bahadir Sarp and Kaan Afacan handle everything with a high level of precision, especially the numerous harmonized riffs and leads. I could listen to these guys play together all day. They also excel in their soloing escapades, burning up the fretboard but letting nothing sound out of place. Everything is done tastefully and fits the music perfectly, and they never try to do too much, which is so often the case with modern thrash guitarists.
As for the vocals, they aren't bad, by any means, but occasionally it feels like Enver Yilmaz tries valiantly to venture out of his range just a little. When he stays around the register where he needs to be, though, he's quite good, to be honest, giving off a good Joey Belladonna vibe at times. Even when he's belting out the heavy metal anthems on Born, he sounds pretty good as long as he doesn't ask too much of his voice. Yilmaz also breaks out the occasional growl, which sounds amazing. It actually sounds so good, I'm going to check out Thrown to the Sun, a "progressive death metal" side project that features three members of The Blame, as soon as I possibly can.
Here's the bottom line: this a very good album. As far as it being The Blame's debut, it's actually an utterly fantastic album. Debut's like this don't come along often. The Blame has tons of promise, and they have the potential for great things in the near future. They're definitely a band I'm going to be keeping up with from now on. In fact, I feel like the whole Turkish metal scene might be one of the world's more overlooked and under-appreciated scenes. With such rich culture (Süper Lig football, the Battle of Troy, Ottoman history, that unbelievably epic Euro 2008 quarter-final against Croatia), it's easy to see why Turkey can churn out some pretty excellent, high-quality metal these days as well.
Do yourself a favor. Go the The Blame's website and check out their stuff. You won't be disappointed. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to this one again.
originally written for http://raisethyhorns.blogspot.com/