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Tales Of Gods And Monsters
Released: 2016, Pure Steel Records
I was writing some album reviews in late October and I was in the Halloween spirit…Halloween is after all the ‘Heavy Metal Holy Day’! Please enjoy this mini-seasonal themed set of reviews of 10 albums by Cradle Of Filth Ichabod Krane, Lordi, Metal Witch, October 31, Poltergeist, Sleepy Hollow, Them and Trick or Treat!
Back in 1820, author Washington Irving published a short story called The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It featured the now iconic characters, Ichabod Crane and The Headless Horseman and both and been associated with Halloween and a part of American folklore ever since. That’s one reason why I think Sleepy Hollow is a great name for a band and a great candidate for a review, even if this album did come out back in February of 2016. Back in January of 2013, I gave the reunion album by Sleepy Hollow (SKULL 13) a slightly above average rating in my review here on Metal-Rules. Now four years later the band has returned but not intact. Guitarist and founding member, from way back in the late 80’s, Steve Stegg is now the sole remaining member and the new album has a new singer, bassist and drummer! Sometimes these wholesale line-up changes can spell death for a band, especially losing your long-time singer, but in this case I actually like the new album, TALES OF GODS AND MONSTERS better than the first two! The new album has some nice visual continuity with the bands second release, the 2002 compilation album called 1989-1992: REST IN PIECES. The new album cover is very cool and features a depiction of the same ancient scribe and perhaps he is now replacing the bands mascot, the winged horse featured on the first two albums.
In the four years between albums Steve Stegg put together a decent line-up, even though the loss of bass hero, Mike LePond might be tougher to swallow, even if he was just a session guy as compared to a full touring member. The immediate highlight and improvement is the voice of new singer, Chapel Stormcrow. He has a voice that is perfectly suited for this type of metal. He sounds like the best parts of all of the singers of Candlemass, Slough Feg and Trouble combined. He has the Power-Doom delivery and style perfected. Bob Mitchell may have been the founder, but Stromcrow has a killer voice and does a great job on all eleven tracks of the 50-minute album. The sound of the band is much the same based on the song-writing of Stegg, but there is a bit more intensity and speed which is always welcome. For example the song ‘Shapeshifter’ buried near the back on the album is just a pounding track. The band have a great mix of older USPM and hints of European traditional doom Doom , maybe a 75%-25% and just some hints of really old Savatage and stuff like that. Check out the final cut ‘Shadowlands’ for all the proof you need.
Sleepy Hollow have delivered the album of their career. TALES OF GODS AND MONSTERS is quite a gem for fans of the really deep underground US Metal sound. The cool kids who are discovering Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road and all those guys for the first time (and I’m not being sarcastic or condescending) will have this album in their Top 20 of the year. This is a great album from the underground of 1984 dropped into 2016.
1. Black Horse Named Death
2. Sons of Osiris
3. Alone in the Dark
4. Bound by Blood
5. Goddess of Fire
6. On Blackened Seas
8. Creation Abomination
10. Time Traveller
Chapel Stormcrow Vocals
Steve Stegg Guitars
Saculus von Doom Bass
Allan Smith Drums
Previous review: » Sleepy Hollow - Skull 13