It’s not uncommon to find a metal band whose songs all sound the same to the average non-fan. Most bands know what they like, and know what they like to play, and stick to a formula that works. This isn’t a bad thing, but the diversity is sometimes missed among fans, new or old. Sudbury, Ontario’s Archelon and their debut album Bound By Bloodlines is, simply but, a breath of fresh air in its versatility. Each song has unique qualities that differ from one another, making the eight-track album a thrill for first-time listeners.
The album kicks off on a jaw-dropping note with drummer Dan Moir starting things up with a ten-second drum solo/intro. The fast, thrashing guitars soon follow the pounding drums and some impressive screams round up the mix in a matter of seconds. Moir, who has, unfortunately, left the band since this album’s late 2015 release, is also credited with the producing and mastering. He has done an excellent job at filling up the mix and getting a massive sound out of the instruments provided.
Some of the not-as-aggressive tracks such as “A Better Place” sound straight out of Bullet For My Valentine’s catalogue. The straightforward rhythm and harmonized guitar riffs are something that any new metalhead can get into while the technicality and aggression found in other tracks keep the attention of people who need a bit more “oomph” in their metal. Songs like “Banshee” and the self-titled track, “Bound By Bloodlines,” also provide just a taste of clean vocals to keep things interesting throughout the album’s runtime for anyone that may tire of Bobby Cobras’ death growls (which work better on some songs than they do for others). My only issue with this album is, despite all of Archelon’s diversity, they always seem to come back to a similar theme. The half-timed drums over drop-tuned guitars and brutal screams are something I’ve heard way too many times and doesn’t add anything to this album’s songs aside from aggression, which is already present in nearly every minute of this album, making these breakdowns unnecessary.
This album certainly has something for everyone. Archelon’s Bandcamp page even states that, “We don’t even know what genre we are, so why don’t you have a listen to our debut album, Bound by Bloodlines, and decide for yourself?” I can confidently say that, even after listening to it a few times, it’s hard to pinpoint these guys to even a couple of metal subgenres. They’re easily one of the most diverse metal bands I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, utilizing a mix of thrash, death, power, and metalcore styles. What about badass metal? Can we go with badass metal? I like that subgenre the most.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy