Wednesday 31 July 2013

Age of Taurus - Desperate Souls of Tortured Times (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 27/5/2013
Label : Rise Above Records

Desperate Souls of Tortured Times, album track listing:
1). A Rush of Power 06:04
2). Sinking City 06:04
3). Always in the Eye 05:10
4). Walk with Me, My Queen 06:09
5). Desperate Souls of Tortured Times 05:18
6). Embrace the Stone 08:02
7). The Bull and The Bear 05:11

Welcome to the Taurean Empire; a decaying land where disease, war and corruption is rife. A wretched place of man and beast, where deception, fear and despair fills every dank alleyway and the stench of suffering drifts across endless, sun-scorched plains. As way of ensuring safe passage through this hellish hour, let us introduce your guides for the journey; four road-hardened mortals, brought together by luck, power and coincidence. Ladies and Gentlemen, take up arms and go safely as Age of Taurus show you a world inhabited by the Desperate Souls of Tortured Times....

Formed in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Toby Wright, Age of Taurus was initially a one-man doom metal mission. Inspired by masters of the craft like Candlemass, Trouble and Revelation, the project was intended more as a studio affair rather than something more alive. However, after increasing interest in the band and a succession of glowing reviews of debut demo 'In the Days of the Taurean Empire', Toby decided that there was no turning back and duly put together a fully working line up; enter bassist Richard Bruce, lead guitarist Alastair Riddell and drummer Darius Claydon.

The band quickly began writing together and started to develop and define a sound that suited their combined musical direction. With their feet still firmly planted in the doom metal field, the group were able to explore other paths of influence, particularly bass-driven seventies hard rock and the oh-so-punishing twin guitar attacks that ruled the speakers during NWOBHM's golden years


Richard Bruce – Bass
Darius Claydon – Drums
Alastair Riddell – Lead Guitar
Toby Wright – Guitar, Vocals

Age of Taurus is a London doom outfit of style and pedigree with the backing of Rise Above Records. If that doesn't pique your interest then perhaps you are reading the wrong blog!

Featuring at least one man who you have seen at every metal gig you have ever been to in London.  The bar is set high from the off “A Rush of Power” opens proceedings with lumbering grooves, big sound and rumbling low end. The vocals of Toby W Wright are high and clear. Wright's voice reminds me a little of Kevin Heybourne's of Angel Witch (a certain vulnerable quality, perhaps?) and for doom that is an excellent thing. Mournful cries, indeed.

Sinking City” come on strong with some excellent guitar work (again, mournful in both riffs and leads) and a great bass sound. The mix is clear and the drums crush rather than rattle or snap.   Always In The Eye” is both a timely reminder of how dangerous fun ends and also brings some swing to the album. The main riff is insistent and is utilised sparingly. Twin guitar parts work well underpinning the verses and the listener gets the impression of craftsmen at work. It's not just riff, shout, time change, shout- the song structures are strong.

Walk With Me My Queen” plods into earshot with leaden feet and is accompanied by vivid lyrical imagery that conjures up regality rather well. True doom here- no aggression, just despair and wistfulness combining with the heaviest of sounds.

The title track “Desperate Souls of Tortured Times” starts slow but the pace is picked up- good variety- and comes on strong with a kind of NWOBHM feel (but professional!).  Embrace The Stone” fairly jumps out of the speakers with some nifty Sword-esque riffing. I love this kind of stuff, so as the drums thunder and the guitars strike like lightning I find myself really enjoying this record.

The Bull and The Bear” is a riff fest- plain and simple. This is the way to close an album out (unless you opt for an acoustic outro, obviously). Myths and legend themes abound in the vocal as the band play out of their skin. True metal, true doom. Hail to England and pick this album up if you like The Gates of Slumber, Saint Vitus, Cathedral, Sabbath, The Sword, Angel Witch etc. And if you don't like most of those bands... why are you reading this?!

Words by : Richard Maw

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  You can buy the here or just about any other outlets  Thanks to Noise Cartel for hooking us up with the record for review.