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Released: 2016, Cruz Del Sur
I want to preface this review with a commentary about the Italian record label Cruz Del Sur. At risk of sounding like I’m trying to prove a point, I was a very early fan of the label. I bought the Pharaoh album AFTER THE FIRE when it came out, way back in 2003. It was the first release on Cruz Del Sur. I really enjoyed it and started to make note of and follow bands on the Cruz Del Sur label. That is the secret…follow a label. If they produce a few things you like and the record label owners and people with the money who sign and support bands you like and have tastes that are aligned with yours, you can never go wrong. Cruz Del Sur went from strength to strength signing any number of cool bands, Twisted Tower Dire, Slough Feg, Hammers Of Misfortune and over 15 years have become one of the most respected true Metal labels on the planet, impervious to trends, immune to hype. When Cruz Del Sur signed a band called Quicksand Dream it caught my eye right away.
Quicksand Dream is a Swedish band with roots going back to the late 80’s, but their output was so small and sporadic, that very few noticed…including me. I had never heard of the band until this album, only their second, came out in late 2016. Doing a bit of investigating I found out that this band is basically two-thirds Mortalicum, who I do know and like and have some of their albums. Essentially the band kind of resurrected their old band and somehow Cruz Del Sur signed them and united they produced BEHEADING TYRANTS. The stars are aligning and everything pointed to this album being a winner.
Traversing a number of sub-genres, US Power Metal, Doom and NWOBHM, this act just looks, sounds and feels like ancient times. I’d hesitate to call this seven song album an EP, even though it is only 32 minutes long, it doesn’t feel short in any sense. Every song feels and sounds lumbering and ponderous but with enough fire and energy to keep it our of strictly Doom Metal territory. The big echoed vocals of Goran Jacobson ring out loud as his powerful voice projects these understated songs with slightly metaphysical lyrics. The tone is thick and the pace dredges along, never getting too frantic but also avoiding a cheap groove. If you like some comparisons, I’d say Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Solstice and are all familiar touchstones. BEHEADING TYRANTS strikes a fine balance between fast and slow; the slower songs, like ‘To Kill Beneath The sun’ evoke a dreamy atmosphere and the faster songs like, ‘Cloud Of Screams’ kept me engaged and interested. It is diverse but unified.
The cool album cover is taken from of a painting by Vincent Van Gogh called ‘Autumn Landscape at Dusk’ (1885) and it adds to the dark and eerie tones of the album. Ancient and arcane, epic and eldritch, BEHEADING TYRANTS is a monumental slab of classic old-school Metal from beyond the ages.
1. Daughters of Eve
2. Cloud of Screams
3. The Shadow That Bleeds
4. The Girl from the Island
5. White Flames on Black Water
6. To Kill Beneath the Sun
Göran Jacobson Vocals
Patrick Backlund Bass, Guitar
Henrik Hönl Drums
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