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Black Moor, the new Conqueres of Metal - 90%

AnvilDiablo, January 28th, 2010

Black Moor, a band out of Atlantic Canada, has very recently put forth their debut album after much fanfare. Entitled "The Conquering", this album is a stellar way to start things off. This review is going to be short and simple.

Overall, I must compliment the rhythm section (being bass and drums). Overall, they have a solid groove and the timing is excellent. They really lay a good foundation for the guitars and vocals to thrive, and this is key to what makes a band sound good, for my ears anyway. I also must give praise to Eric Hanlin's vocals. He does not rely on the death metal grunts or screams that are so prevalent in today's metal scene, which is a breath of fresh air, at least for me. His voice has a good rasp, and it cuts over the sometimes complex riffage generated by the guitars quite well. The guitar work is decent, though it is nothing to write home about. Nick and Eric write very good heavy riffs, and execute them proficiently, but to my ears, the lead and harmony work is a bit lacking at times. However, for thrash metal such as this, stunning guitar work certainly isn't the main focus, and overall, they do a great job executing riffs as a band.

Now, to some specific points about the album. The majority of the songs are quite well written, with the standout tracks being "Acid Biker" and my personal favorite, "Breath Of The Dying". They are edgy and heavy, while still remaining quite melodic and tuneful as well. They have good variation throughout the album (having heavier tunes, such as "Warshark" and "Red Blood, Cold Steel", and also playing some softer tunes, such as "The Human Disease", or the aforementioned "Breath Of The Dying".)

However, no album is perfect, and I feel to give a true review, I must list what I thought wasn't as stellar. Mainly, the production of the album. I was far from impressed when I first put it on my stereo. The tunes, as stated, are great, but the production is substandard, especially in this day and age, where just about everything can be made to sound like gold. This mainly applies to the guitars. Frankly, neither of the tones that they are using work all that well. One side is very thin, and grating, and the other is a very clean sounding mid heavy tone with very little sustain, which doesn't work very well in this context . The drums and bass sound decent enough, with a punch that allows them to be well heard, and the vocals are nice and level, but the guitars kind of diminish my excitement. However, I guess, being a guitarist myself, I'm going to come down harder on the guitars than I would the other instruments. Also, the track "The Conquering" is weak in comparison to the others. Sure, it's a decent song, but compared to "Acid Biker", or "Beyond Hell", it just doesn't cut it.

Overall though, a stunning first album from a great band. I personally think that if they work to get a better production value on the second album, they will be unstoppable. The issues I have with the album are minimal, and overall, I'd consider it a heavy metal masterwork.