Sunward and Starward is the new album from Celtic-infused death metal band, Battlesoul. Due to be released on February 23rd 2018 via CDN Records.
Sunward and Starward begins with a bang but doesn’t exactly knock it out of the park. It’s got a really thundering beat but the vocals are just too quiet. Thankfully it picks up around the middle with the inclusion of some folk elements. What was fairly predictable becomes much more lively especially with the excellent group vocal shout that sees the track out.
Bearing the Word continues the heavy rhythmic metal with flashes of screeching guitar, guttural vocals & a chorus that really gets under the skin. Again it ends with a blood-pumping, fist-raising shout of defiance. Battlesoul certainly know how to close a track out.
The folky side of their music breaks the metal up nicely with Arrival delivering some really fun bounce.
When Battlesoul are just delivering hard-hitting metal it’s where the album is found a bit lacking. It’s not bad, in fact some songs have a really nice groove about them. They’re just a little bit too forgettable lacking the sense of epic imagination found within the likes of the title track.
Sunward and Starward is the heaviest track on the album, thanks to the flaying drum beat & deeply guttural vocals. However it offsets that with an impressive undercurrent of guitar melody & some well placed female vocals.
The latter half of the album does fare better with Battlesoul seemingly having found their happy place. Azure Skies plays around with a black metal sound before giving over to soaring female vocals.
The penultimate track, So it Goes is impressively huge sounding with the symphonic elements fitting nicely alongside the crushing relentlessness of Battlesoul’s heaviness.
Ending with Break the Day, this is a track that is all about the journey’s end. Exhausted & fulfilled, it refuses to let you rest for too long exploding into operatic singing, ferocious screams & a really hard-hitting rhythm. It’s a strong finish to an album that gets a lot right. Even the forgettable tracks don’t stop it bring a hell of a recommendation!
Battlesoul – Sunward and Starward Full Track Listing:
1. All I Understand
2. Bearing the Word
4. The Watcher
6. Sunward and Starward
7. The Loss Of Sons
8. Azure Skies
9. So it Goes
10. Break the Day
Battlesoul - Sunward and Starward (CDN Records)
- The Final Score - 7.5/107.5/10