Released: 2003, Independent
Tiwanaku is new vision of metal brought to us courtesy of Emo Mowery of Nocturnus fame and vocalist Wade Black (ex-Seven Witches, ex-Crimson Glory). They have taken what they have done in their past bands, respectively death metal and traditional heavy metal and blended the styles together. Their distinct vocal styles when separate may not be unique, but the combination of the two is something that I haven't heard done exactly like this before. Imagine a vocalist like Glen Benton or David Vincent singing along with Rob Halford or Ralph Scheepers. It may seem strange, but it works and has great potential for the band.
The 4-song demo opens with the track "Illusion". Musically, "Illusion" is mostly a death metal track with a few hints of Morbid Angel and of course Emo’s past band Nocturnus. On this one Wade's vocals take a backseat to the more up front death-styled vocals of Emo. The solo on here, as with all the demo’s soos is provided by Rick Renstrom of Rob Rock fame. His leads with Tiwanaku reminded me of James Murpy's playing. Up second is "Magnacore" which has some very different vocalisms with Wade and Emo singing a few fast parts together. Wade even tries on some black metal screams for size in a few places! I've heard bands mix heavy with clean vocals but not exactly like this. Again, on this one the death metal vocals overpower Wade for the first 2mins or so of the song. After that it's more 50/50. The third track on this demo called "Shockwaves" begins with spacey sounding effects that continue on over the intro of the song in the background for about 1min. Then the song begins. The vocal mix is something like: Emo, Emo/Wade, Emo, Emo/Wade, Emo…..etc... The pattern favors Emo's death metal vocals a little more, with Wade getting slightly less solo vocal time. Despite that, Wade sounds the best on this track…truly vicious! The breakdown around the 4min mark in "Shockwaves" was refreshing. For the demo closer Wade starts the closing track "What If" and he sounds great. There seems like there is some kind of a light delay/reverb/chorus effect on his vocals, and I didn't really like the effect. His vocals here are over some keys - no guitars/drums...that comes in around the 2min mark. The vocals here still favor Wade with Emo coming in for a verse after. My favorite songs on here were the last 2 - "Shockwaves" and "What If". Since I am a big fan of Wade’s vocals from the first time I heard him with Crimson Glory, I know he can still climb higher and do more. Thoughts of a full album with his vocals on it mixed with Emo’s is electrifying!
Based on the mix of styles, I think those who love death metal and don't mind screamed Priest-like vocals would dig this the most. The music (guitar/drums) is primarily death metal based and brutalizes. It would of been nice to not only throw in a different vocal style to the mix, but to mix in another guitar player's input who is not a death head at all so the riffing could of been a mix of NWOBHM meets death metal...or something similar. That would have taken the idea they've begun on here to its next logical step...in my opinion of course. Either way, this is highly recommended and it's only a matter of time before the right person hears this and the band is signed and working on a full-length album. The sooner that happens, the better because 4 songs are not enough! Tiwanaku are shooting for the stars and cruising at the speed of light…check them out ASAP!
4. What If
Emo Mowrey - bass, vocals, guitars, keys
Wade Black - vocals
Rick Renstrom - lead guitar
Richard Christy - drums