Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Spell - For None and All (2016) / 83%

Adam Burke's artwork is super great.

Magic Spells

Vancouver’s Spell managed to impress me with their 2014 debut but their sophomore full length easily established them as one of the Canadian best heavy metal/rock band. The trio, something obviously noticeable simply by the way they look (another example of this would be Kadavar), doesn’t really like the aesthetics and sonority found in modern metal and that's totally fine!

Mixing the quasi metallic approach of Rush’s classic second album Fly By Night with a fair share of psychedelic elements, Canadian heavy metal (think of Cauldron who also released a solid album this year) and even some progressive rock, Spell manage to stay super catchy and cohesive. While not totally heavy, their proto metal hits the spot with tight songwriting and musicianship. The inclusion of keyboards on some tracks (like “Too Late” or the interlude “Séance”) is enjoyable and adds a complex side to the band’s identity. The weakest spot for me would be the vocals, they’re a bit too vanilla and glam for my taste but they do fit the band. I must say he’s really freaking good on the doomy (and possibly the highlight of the record) “River of Sleep” though, he almost sounds like Jean-Pierre Abboud (Borrowed Time, Funeral Circle, Gatekeeper…) on this song.

The production job is warm and old school (obviously) and even if there’s only one guitarist, there’s many guitar tracks to give a richer atmosphere. It’s a pretty lush record with engaging riffs and well composed tracks. Sure, they’re perhaps not as good as Rush are but no one are!

They sometimes unleash some epic moments such as the ninth track “Vanitas” and its groovy bass lines and soulful guitar solos but they never go overboard (maybe they should?) as they keep the record tidy and straight forward. Spell, although a solid band, are a product of their times as they’re evolving in the current wave of occult heavy/rock bands but they’re definitely one of the most interesting players and are deserving your time and money.

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