Angels of Enmity
First out of Pittsburgh's tech-metalcore gate were Hero Destroyed and Complete Failure. Now here comes Storm King, whose debut CD, out on vocalist Scott Massie's long-running Innervenus label, deserves national release as much as the others.
When Storm King emerged in 2006 as a three-piece with guitarist Adam Weston and drummer Tom D'Andrea, its original emphasis was stoner doom a la The Sword. But the addition of technically proficient guitarist Andy Kichi (of EnemyMind) and hardcore-influenced bassist Mark Bogacki soon moved the group in a more diverse, yet more classically metal-sounding direction.
From the opening salvos of the first track, "Keeper of Shadows," Kichi's blistering leads and Massie's assertive attack make it clear that the No. 1 influence is now Slayer. Which is fine, but there's more to Storm King than that. There are glimpses of a complex math-rock realm (Don Caballero meets Meshuggah) in the instrumental "A Constant Struggle," while "Lack Luster" displays sludgy grindcore elements.
Most promising is the closing 16-minute title track, which begins with acoustic guitar, works its way through keyboard lines, a metal theme and a tribalistic rhythmic workout, and concludes with bagpipes (courtesy of pipe-band member D'Andrea). I'm not sure the band was listening to Dead Can Dance and Test Department or the Brazilian percussion parts of a Sepultura album, but this impressive pagan-prog-metal approach is just the ticket to lift Storm King above the glut of tech bands that rely on sheer brutality to win the day.