The vocal-heavy style of Paths of Possession during their “Darklands” is a marked departure from a lot of the death metal bands currently out; one can actually understand what the hell that George is singing, and for that thanks need to go out. In much the same way, the guitar work done by Jay and Jack is clear enough to make this a brutally honest brand of metal; they do not crank the distortion up and allow themselves to get away with a free pass. Much of the same sound comes forth on subsequent tracks, although it is true that Nick’s drumming increasingly takes a larger role in the later tracks. Tracks are short, meaning that individuals will not have to suffer through a twelve minute ode to the band’s genius; tracks on “Promises In Blood” rarely (once) go longer than five minutes. “The Second Coming” still maintains the crisp sound that Paths of Possession is known for, but the guitar work on the track takes more than its fair share of influence from the sludge rock of bands like Kyuss and Corrosion of Conformity.
The vocals move into a more gruff style with “Where The Empty Gods Lie”, but this is still nowhere near the “Cookie Monster” style of vocals that has been all the rage in emocore circles. Again, it is Nick’s time to shine during “Where The Empty Gods Lie”, as the double-bass gives the track a drive to it that pushes it further. There seems to be some minor issues with the lyrics for “A Heart For A Heart” (Heart, I’ll have your heart / They’ll rip your heart from you / And throw it on the ground), but the sometimes a little over-the-top cheese is necessary for breaking any ennui listeners can find with the disc. “In My Eyes” may just be the most brutal track on the entirety of “Promises in Blood”; while it is by no means the fastest fare that Paths of Possession can come up with, it is by far the most nuanced and intense track here. The drums blur into machine-like timing, while the guitars trade off the spotlight as George spastically leaves eir mark all over the track. Paths of Possession provide a blueprint that every band that even says that they are influenced by metal should study. The raw fury present on this disc and the talent of all involved make this an essential buy.
Top Tracks: Promises In Blood, Darklands
Paths of Possession – Promises in Blood / 2005 Metal Blade / 12 Tracks / http://www.pathsofpossession.com / http://www.metalblade.com / Reviewed 05 November 2005