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the Barry White of extreme metal - 50%

gk, April 21st, 2009

Big Boss, for those who don't know is the legendary vocalist of Czechoslovakia's Root and also the founder of the Church of Satan in his country. While the man has made a name for himself with Root he's also been prolific with doom band Equirhodont and also as a solo artist. Doomy Ballads is the man's third outing under his solo name and is set to be released sometime during the year.

Big Boss has always been one of the most distinctive vocalists in extreme metal with his baritone being front and centre of some of the most inventive extreme metal of the last decade. Doomy Ballads is a bit of a change for the man mainly because like the title suggests, the album is full of doomy ballads led by his ever impressive voice and the occasional cool lead guitar spot. While the man has the tendency to go all Barry White every now and then with his deep melodic singing voice like on Tears of the Ages, Solitude sounds like it could have been on the last Funeral album while The Ocean has a dreamy pop like quality. The stunner on the album though is the bonus track, I Scream in the Dark of Loneliness which reminds me a lot of Equirhodont and is the song where new guitarist David Uher finally lets rip and shows he’s more than a match for Asok (the Boss’s other ass kicking guitarist from Root and Equirhodont). This is one excellent song with some serious shredding and an upbeat vibe completely at odds with the rest of the material found here. The only song that doesn’t really work here is The Moment of a Pearl which is largely acoustic and seems a bit pedestrian compared to what Big Boss usually dishes out.

I don’t think this album really fits in with anything the man has done before and is generally the most accessible album he’s done. It’s also the dullest album he’s made and has none of the power of Root or the sheer over the top excess of Equirhodont (except for the aforementioned I Scream in the Dark of Loneliness). The songs all tread a middle ground where it’s more doom rock than doom metal if that makes sense.

On the whole though, considering that there seems to be no news from either Root or Equirhodont, this solo outing should satisfy fans of the man. For the rest of you, who’ve never heard of Big Boss or anything he’s done, check out Equirhodont and Root before getting this.

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