I can’t believe it’s been almost four years between HALCYON WAY records. Ever since they dropped Conquer on us in 2014 the boys from Atlanta have been busy, busy, busy. Tour after tour followed and I was lucky enough to catch them live and hang out with them after their show here in Philly back in the winter of 2016. P.S. they’re all super-great guys! So, armed with a new label behind them and a furious new collection of tracks, Bloody But Unbowed (August 3, Agonia Records) is now upon us. I already know what you’re thinking/saying: “Will you just fucking GET to it already?” Well, pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er…
Right from jump as soon as I heard “Blame” I knew we were in for a goddamn treat. Singer Steve Braun is hitting them into the cheap seats while the guitar duo of Jon Bodan and Max Eve also launch some moonshots. This also happens to contain my favorite guitar solo on the disc, so there’s that as well. “Slaves to Silicon” is yet another example of the melting pot of influences this band cites, because there’s shades of the old days, the new days, and the in between days here. New drummer Aaron Baumoel shines brightly on this as well as the other tracks. Oh, and hello there bassist Skyler Moore, I see you ripping shit up on “Primal Scream”! Well played!
Now, let’s discuss the title track/opener “Bloody But Unbowed” for a second. Talk about a Sean Michaels style Superkick to the face! There has never been a better statement from this band saying, “We’re not here to fuck around, BITCHES!” than this one. Such a killer tune, really. “The Church of Me” is an absolute riff fest and the hook just soars. Shawna Turner’s additional vocals really help enhance the track, while “Cast Another Stone” serves as one of the darker tunes on the record, at least on the verses. Yeah the chorus is catchy, but there’s still something sinister going on throughout. And once again the guitar solo fucking destroys.
Dual harmonized fretwork is the order of the day for “Superpredator” and on this one the death growls are particularly strong, while “Crowned In Violence” is an all-out assault on your metal senses. “Burning the Summit” is yet another winner on an album full of them and then finally we reach my undisputed favorite track with closer “Desolate.” For almost six minutes the band fires away, playing a game of sonic cat and mouse, then swinging the hammer down on you when you least expect it. Braun lets fly something fierce on this one, and the band is all in, you can just tell.
So what do we know? We know that HALCYON WAY are not only back, they’re back in a BIG muthafuckin’ way!! Bloody But Unbowed is the perfect follow up to Conquer, and there is no question in my mind that people will be falling all over themselves to heap mountains of praise on this record. And ya know what? Every single bit of that praise is well-deserved. Go ahead and grab your copy posthaste. Hell, you can pre-order it HERE for fuck’s sake. There, I just made it easy for you, didn’t I? So now you have no excuses.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM