By Laina Dawes
Here’s an interesting tidbit for you: This is Blackguard’s first full-length under that name, as they released a number of EP’s under Profugus Mortis, which loosely translated means “Fugitives of Death.” And that’s basically the only interesting thing about this album.
Like fellow Quebecer’s Unexpect, Blackguard has a distinctive classical European flavor, melodic black metal with a distinctive nod to folk and they like to play fast – Dragonforce fast. However, unlike the self-masturbatory English band, their frenetic pace is not accentuated by technical guitar work, but instead is sopping with keyboards and orchestrations. Strangely, the vocals are mixed way too low and seem like an afterthought, which is sad, because the band supposedly has a good sense of humor and the albums purports to be a concept of the travails of a journey across the countryside (I think). “This Rounds on Me” is supposed to be a jovial track – but because you can barely make out the vocals, there doesn’t seem to be a point.
Beside average, yet satisfactory guitar work by Terry Roadcase and Kim Gosselin, the only one who really stands out is drummer Justine Ethier, who also happens to be the founding member. Maybe because of this, his drumming really stands out, complimentary with occasional flourishes and he restrains the urge to overdo it. While Profugus Mortis seems to be fitting for those who like to take speed while listening to music, it still might be interesting to hear what their next album sounds like, because this, while promising, seems a bit overwrought.
(Nuclear Blast USA – Canada; Sumerian – USA)