Timing Of The Void
30 October 2012
Luther Smalls - Bass
Bart Butler - Drums
Matt Rade - Guitars
Michael Gonzalez - Guitars
Talk about coincidences. Nothing long before I received Timing Of The Void to review, I had actually seen Eagle Claw play here in Nashville. They, along with Gypsyhawk, were special guests of The Sword on their recent US tour. Live, this instrumental four-piece from Austin, Texas, were crushing and reminded me a bit of the amazing Admiral Browning albeit slightly more metal...which isn't a bad thing, if you ask me. So what do they offer from their studio excursions?
Onto the actual album and it starts off with a mainly acoustic piece called Lifegate that quickly leads into Diagram Of The Tempest and Uzimaki Vortex. And that's where Eagle Claw definitely show their true and proper colours. Led-heavy technical, sometimes doomy heavy metal which moves elegantly between tempos and moods, kind of like a fighter. Fittingly so since Eagle Claw is a Chinese MMA figthing style and bass player Luther Smalls and drummer Bart Butler are MMA fighters.
Timing Of The Void is a short album clocking at just over 33 minutes and by keeping it this way the Texans joins the ranks of a growing number of bands that puts out releases where focus is aimed at quality instead of quantity. I, for one, find that encouraging because doing it this way makes albums so much more coherent and better, simply put.
Ophidian is after much debating with myself their best track on this effort although there are no bad songs at all here. It's just that this one is simply outstanding. They mix Judas Priest with early Annihilator and guitarists Matt Rade and Michael Gonzalez are trading solos and riffs left, right and center while shredding their six-stringers to oblivion. This is old-style heavy metal in the best modern transformation, you can't really ask for more.
Fifth Ring follows and moves along the same path but adds a more doomy touch but after that Eagle Claw slow things down....if they ever do and no there are no ballads. What I mean is they switch to a more progressive streak. Instead of going at it at a machine-gun pace they take wider turns and broaden their musical palette with more tempo changes et al. However, fret not because it's still heavy and bloody marvellous!
Even if you're not a fan of instrumental music ignore Eagle Claw at your peril. They know how to make this kind of style interesting and great. Since there are no vocals the instruments have to do the storytelling and it's easy to get lost in, for instance, guitar masturbation. Eagle Claw, like the fighting machine they are, side steps any kind of hurdles this could cause and takes you on a great musical journey.
Get this album AND their previous release, Poacher, as well because both are fantastic...and to continue on The Sword connection from the beginning of this review. Both were recorded by fellow Austin resident, Bryan Richie, the The Sword's bass player and he has done a great job capturing the band's sound on both albums.
I will admit I didn't know much about this band until I read Håkan's review so I decided to check them out. And what an album it is. Stunning collection of tunes and riffs to rock the fuck out to. So this is definitely recommended by ourselves as Sludgelord.
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