Age of Distrust - Whispers of war (EP) 3/5

Reviewed: 2-1-12





Tracklist:

1. Retribution
2. Chains of oppression
3. Age of Distrust
4. Frozen infinity
5. Execution
6. Trinity


Age of Distrust have been on the scene for a few years now, but it seems that they have only recently come together in a meaningful way, and have delivered a taste of what they are all about with this 25-minute EP which generally bodes well for the Ohio 4-piece.

For a self-release, the production, while maybe a little compressed and not doing the bass drums full credit, is clear and well balanced; everything audible and fairly crisp, which is the least that can be expected in the digital age but always a relief to experience in any case. Music of this sort that relies quite heavily on lead guitar always needs a clear sound to be effective and Age of Distrust have made sure their epic genre-straddling approach has a solid foundation to build from.

Power, thrash and melodic death metal are styles that frequently end up welded together these days of course, and while Age of Distrust are another to rather liberally mix their influences on 'Whispers of war', they don’t end up sounding as tiresomely predictable as can often be the case when youngsters weaned on a diet of Slayer and Children of Bodom get together.

Despite the amount of melodeath-derived riffs that drive many of the songs, if I was forced into giving a bare minimum description, power metal is probably the one that would win out. The thrash breaks are always just around the corner, and bursts of harsh vocals (some successful, some not) are never far away either, but the overall feeling is that each song is intended as a battle hymn, generally intense yet with a solid melody usually always in place and a little extra complexity on a few songs for added flavour.

Amidst the galloping are some juicy guitar harmonies which add an epic touch here and there, such as on “Frozen infinty” which is a sorrowful piece where the scowled backing vocals on the chorus are at their best.

It can’t go unsaid that ‘Whispers of war’ is not without its faults though, and after giving credit where it’s due in other areas it is only fair to bring up those that could do with a little sharpening. While Matt Harper’s snarling vocals are generally serviceable, there are a few occasions where he is found wanting – notably out of key on occasion, it feels like the harsh vocals that perform backing or sometimes take over altogether are really there to mask rather than compliment the main voice. I would be willing to wager that Harper’s background is in less melody-driven music with less challenging vocal lines, and while given time to develop he may find his feet, at the moment the frontman is often the weak point for the band.

Also on the weak side is the final full song, “Execution”, which has a disproportionate focus on its chorus, which is unfortunately the weakest on the CD - simplistic and repetitive, it lets the 4 preceding songs down before the short instrumental outro track “Trinity” brightens things up again somewhat.

But despite some misgivings, 'Whispers of war' is an easy CD to recommend. Bruising thrash riffs and sky-scraping war tunes don’t come together as often as one might think, and when Age of Distrust hit form like they do on most of the songs here, they definitely have plenty to offer, and with some hard work in a few keys areas could really be one to watch out for.



CREAG




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