In today’s climate of metal, there’s countless sub-genres that people can latch onto. However, as a whole, I think we can all agree that metal can be broken down into two primary categories: melodic metal and.. well, non-melodic metal.
Usually, bands either stick to one or the other, or if they dabble in both (such as Killswitch Engage), sections of their songs are confined to being either relentlessly brutal riff-fests while others are usually more graceful and harmonious. This has resulted in what some fans call the “Beauty and the Beast” effect, where bands carefully walk the line that separates the two styles. Sedulous Rouse furiously stomp all all over this line with reckless abandon on their debut release, “The Valley Beyond,” a ferocious blend of speed, thrash, doom, and even atmospheric prog metal.
A result of four years of writing, jamming, and hard work, this album has moments of fury, elegance, and even brevity. Featuring thrashy guitar riffs, standout bass-work, and horrifyingly relentless drum-work (Track 1, the instrumental “Brutal by Nature,” almost made me sh*t myself at around the four minute mark), these guys showcase their talents through 10 tracks of insanity, some of which cross the nine minute mark! The aggressive vocals are extremely crisp, with clean pronunciation almost throughout – I rarely had to rely on the lyrics to understand what was being said – and this was at no cost to the strength of the vocal’s delivery. While the backing vocals sound a bit phoned in and at times a bit goofy, you can still tell these guys brought their A-game when laying down these tracks.
One standout for me was Track 3, “Enriched by Demons”, the aforementioned nine minute track that starts as an instrumental track for almost the entire first half of it’s run-time, complete with pounding riffs that weave between gorgeous clean passages, before descending into vocal-driven madness. Track 5, “Blood of the Human Spirit” is also a really memorable tune for doing something rather different than what you’d expect from a band like this, almost going into Johnny Cash territory at times. While the vocals on this one weren’t my cup of tea, I commend Sedulous Rouse for trying new things. I wish more metal bands would be willing to push the genre into new territories. The rest of the album is much more in line with what you’d expect, but doesn’t cease to entertain. For fans of the previously mentioned genres of metal, or those who are simply fans of virtuostic performances and metal that breaks the mold, this comes with a strong recommendation from me, and I look forward to what these guys have in store for the future.
Be sure to check out Sedulous Rouse at https://www.facebook.com/Sedulous-Rouse-346645445441083/?_rdc=1&_rdr and stream “The Valley Beyond” at https://sedulousrouse.bandcamp.com/album/the-valley-beyond
Overall Musicianship – 9 out of 10 (consistently jaw-dropping) Vocal Style – 6 out of 10 (inconsistent – at times crisp and brutal, at others a bit on the weaker and even goofy side) Overall Song Composition – 9 out of 10 (absolutely incredible – pushes the boundaries of what you’d expect from a band of this ilk) Originality – 8 out of 10 (Sedulous Rouse wears their influences on their sleeve, but still manage to have a sound all their own)