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The Harvest
December 2015
Released: 2015, Self Released
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

Last year’s METAL REDEMPTION was an unexpected surprise. With a classic rock come traditional power metal approach to their tunes, Emerald’s long overdue debut hit all of the sweet spots that a metal fan could ask for. Striking while iron is hot, the Tucson natives have quickly readied their sophomore opus, THE HARVEST. The 12 new tracks are pretty consistent with the material on METAL REDEMPTION, but the subtle tweaks applied to the execution make THE HARVEST a bigger and bolder listening experience.

The opening title track is a clear indication of the band’s intent this time around. With a nasty riff that sounds like it was pulled out of the Savatage vaults, some impressive shred and layers of vocal harmonies, it’s a certified head banger. There are some definite improvements in the mix/production this time around too; Duane Hollins’ 4-string work gets almost as much attention as Jeff Mellin’s lead guitar wizardry, and the whole thing just sounds, well, better. “Shedding My Skin” waves a flag made of denim and leather, while the bluesy doom of “Thousand Faces” and “Bury the Truth” evoke moments 80’s-era Sabbath. “Sworn to the Reckless” even aims for epic finale territory, with some dazzling licks and proggy inclinations. And while I’m sure it wasn’t the intent, I have to imagine that the galloping “Circle of Trust” was written with Gaylord Focker in mind.

While the tunes all offer something worthwhile, most of the mid-tempo numbers are stuck in the middle of this heavy metal sandwich. It stalls some of the momentum built up early on; maybe pruning a few tunes or saving them for a B-side later down the road would’ve helped balance the load. But at the end of the day, it’s still a pretty fantastic album. And considering that Emerald is basically an independent DIY project, you should be paying even more attention to it.

Emerald’s the kind of band that has a ton of appeal to a pretty wide metal audience – that audience just doesn’t know it yet. And THE HARVEST is a classic metal album released a few decades too late. Don’t miss this one.
Track Listing

1. The Harvest
2. Shedding My Skin
3. Circle of Trust
4. Thousand Faces
5. Lord of the Rats
6. Four Winds
7. Bury the Truth
8. Midnight Moon
9. Harvest Fugue
10. Return to Zero
11. Silent Sunrise
12. Sworn to the Reckless


Duane Hollis – Bass
Will Jones – Drums
Jeff Mellin – Vocals, Guitars

Next review: » Emerald - Unleashed
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