Tyrants Blood- Into the Kingdom of Graves

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tyrants Blood was not a band that I had come across before, but the Canadians made a strong first impression with their latest album Into the Kingdom of Graves. They self-released the effort earlier this year, and now Tridroid Records has given the album a limited print vinyl run. For listeners like me who may not have heard the group before, Tyrants Blood plays extremely dense death metal that sometimes heads into what some might consider war metal territory. But unlike some of the others out there that focus on speed and dense walls of sound over riffs, there’s a level of technicality and attention to detail in this band’s material that makes their songs distinguishable.

Quite a few of the bands I’ve listened to that have this same type of sound often played extremely fast and bludgeoned the listener with nonstop barrages of guitar and drum work that had a very warlike feel. But when you strip away the sheer volume, sometimes these bands are fairly simplistic and just don’t have enough variation to keep all of their songs from sounding the same. Although Tyrants Blood tends to go for all out blasting and walls of sound throughout Into the Kingdom of Graves, there are two elements of their material that makes them distinguishable from many of the others. First, there’s a noticeable level of technicality to the tracks, as these aren’t just guys sloppily making as much noise as possible. Listen carefully and you’ll notice a lot of complex elements lurking underneath the surface, and while it’s not as flashy as you might find from technical death metal it’s clear that the members of Tyrants Blood are quite skilled at their instruments. But technicality alone wouldn’t necessarily do enough for me by itself, so the other element that works to the band’s advantage is that they have substance. Despite some of the similar patterns, there are distinguishable riffs and varying drum patterns that I can actually pick out and the production is balanced enough that it is easy to do so. There are some additional stylistic influences that bring in thrash and black metal elements, but I still got a distinctive death metal vibe throughout (though it really doesn’t matter how you choose to label it). Admittedly it’s a lot to take in at once and may take more than one listen to really pick out some of the nuances, as aside from the short interlude “Within Outer Scars” this album hits as hard as possible for its 46 minute run time.

Lead singer Brian “Messiah” Langley sticks with an extremely low and powerful growl for much of the album but occasionally heads into some higher ranges where he seems to only get more distorted and inhuman sounding. Some additional vocals have been contributed by bassist Vinnie Borden, and I think he might be responsible for the highest shrieks that pop up on some of the songs. The way that the vocals have been mixed suits Tyrants Blood’s sound perfectly, as they are just slightly above the instrumentals and sometimes almost get completely swallowed up by the sheer volume before breaking free and grabbing your attention all over again. Although the styles are familiar, this vocal performance stand out as it seems to only keep building in intensity with each song and becomes almost overwhelming at certain points.

Into the Kingdom of Graves manages to not only unleash a barrage of sheer energy and aggression at the listener but also offers strong songwriting that keeps it from sounding as though Tyrants Blood is simply repeating themselves from one track to the next. There’s a lot happening throughout this album and it might take more than one time through to pick out some of the finer details of the songs. But the effort is definitely worth it and listeners should get plenty of mileage out of this one.

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