Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ballsy Bakken burst forth with power début

REGULAR readers know we here at Belfastmetalheadsreunited have no time for labels. Yeah, sometimes you need to add a wee classification, but if it's good metal, hard rock or punk then that's all needs to be said.

Bakken could, potentially have several labels attached to them, but they deserve more than to be labelled as thrash/classic metal/NWOBHM/power metal crossovers. The sum of the parts is more - much more
Having burst forth from seemingly nowhere they have produced a life-affirming album, Death Of A Hero, which is to be released in September. Hold on to your hats people, because Bakken have produced a spectacular début platter.

For a band who have had their fair share of turmoil and tragedy is remarkable that they have emerged with fists pumping, guitars roaring and a pounding defiance that whaever fate has thrown their way they can emerge stronger.

Album opener Darkest Day is eight minutes plus of snarl, riffs, rumbling with a Maiden-esque rhythm and a contemporary structure. Niall McGrotty's drums and Brian O'Kane's bass the power-house upon which the song is built.

With Simon Pickett's vocals dripping with attitude the flesh of the track is on Pickett's and Mark-Anthony McGinnis's twin guitar attack the template is set for the rest of the album.

Up next Mystic Mogul and Cursed are now available from the band to listen to for free. Mogul has more than a slice of NWOBHM at its heart, with Pickett's vocals taking a slightly higher tone, emphasising the roots of the song. Cursed [sampler below] has more of a contemporary feel; steady paced and chopped chords breaking up the riffs; married with a chant of the title makes a perfect setting for the middle eighths and breakdowns.

However, debts any twin guitar act have to their predecessors must be paid: self-proclaimed Lizzy fan Pickett pays that debt in full in Sasquatch, with a Celtic feelign series of harmony guitars layering together nicely.

The album closer Voyage of Aodh is perhaps where the depth of the band can be found. After a heavy opening, subtleties of structure, slower sections and emotive lyrics build up over almost eight minutes; there is a feeling in the complexities of prog metal, a dash of black metal and a cap nicely doffed to the likes of In Flames, pace varies, tempos change before a headlong rush of melodic guitar lines, underpinned with impressive drum lines and rampant bass.

In pulling together this album - other tracks are the equally impressive Back to the Future, Get Back to Your Feet, and Fortress of Evil - Bakken have laid down a marker of future intent. All in all a welcome addition to the local output that surprises with its depth and delights with its structures in this ballsy début release

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