Released: 2016, Transcending Obscurity India
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
It’s always refreshing to hear a new band that’s non-committal to any particular metal sub-genre and that just totally embraces the whole family with passion and enthusiasm. Such is the case with Islamabad’s Blackhour and their sophomore release SINS REMAIN. Taking its cues from both classic and more modern trappings, SINS REMAIN is a versatile album that is sure to please. There’s a strong undercurrent across the five tracks that recall the likes of Iced Earth and Nevermore (maybe even some Armored Saint); strong, melodically inclined power metal filled to the brim with soaring vocals and healthy doses of instrumental wizardry. In addition to a keen sense of melody, the individual members of Blackhour each have some impressive technical chops and are keen to make sure the listener knows it.
Using those elements as a foundation, the band builds upon it with various forms of homage to their metal heroes. “Losing Life” is powerful gloom, reminiscent of Sentenced, while “Winds of Change” is 100% Iron Maiden, full of upbeat and inspirational gallops (it almost sounds like a reimagined version of “Holy Smoke”). “Life Brings Death, Love Brings Misery” is more modern proto-thrash with a sulking introduction pulled from “Fade to Black”, standing in stark contrast to
“Battle Cry” and its anthemic, synchronized headbanging. The closing title track spends half of its run time as an acoustic ballad, only to sharply ramping into a Celtic-influenced crunch.
Start to finish, SINS REMAIN flows incredibly smooth. The combination of well-constructed songs and tight performances make it an easy listen that offers plenty of replay value. Blackhour make a bold statement with SINS REMAIN; the album should be available by the time you’re reading this, so make sure you don’t this one slip past you.