Album Review: Halothane – A False Reality

36535093_10156218162550795_1165148524879282176_nThis is an album I’ve been waiting for for a long, long time. Finally, a local band has encompassed all of my melodic death idols with their sound. Halothane of Rochester, NY are releasing their debut album A False Reality on September 8 at Bug Jar. As an album, A False Reality fuses together the styles pioneered by At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum and Dissection. Featuring members of Lahkesis and Ancalagon, it’s no wonder such a sound has been birthed by this band.

For Halothane, the rhythm section is hypnotic, the riffs are intense with beautiful melodies and dark passages conveying that you don’t need to be over-the-top to play spellbinding melodic death metal, and the vocals are consistently textbook for the genre. There’s nothing fake or forced about this album. From start to finish, it’s truly a MDM masterpiece. Time and time again, metalcore bands hiding behind the description, “European influenced melodeath” have come and gone, punishing our ears with “chugs and hype” as Vick likes to say, but hearing something like this that sounds like it came straight from Gothenburg in the ’90s is a real treat.

Our top tracks:

  • “Silent Mind” – The opening carries the melancholic leads of Insomnium, the bulk of the song is hard-hitting and deadly precise with its melodies and rhythmic power and the bridge is epic and thought provoking while keeping the introduction’s vibes of bleakness and despair. It’s the perfect opener.
  • “Kingdom of Lies” – A brilliant string opening in the higher register, calling out a beautiful heavy rhythm section underneath. Another gorgeous Insomnium-style chorus with cool clean vocals by guest vocalist, Rachel Ardour, layered with brutal screams. Throughout the album, it’s hard to tell whether Halothane has more Swedish or Finnish MDM influence, and this is a track that doesn’t help answer that question. It walks that fine line. While there may not seem to be much difference between the two, Swedish melodic death tends to be generally heavier (unless you’re In Flames post the first 5 albums or Dark Tranquillity on their more keyboard/clean vocal driven material), and Finnish melodic death tends to be more atmospheric and melancholic.
  • “Travesty” – The riffs and guitar harmonies in this song rip from start to finish. No other song on the album makes you headbang more. It also kicks off with a great grimy opening riff accompanied by blast beats. The only issue I have with the entire record is that there is a firm mid-paced feeling for the majority of it. However, the vocals and music always make up for the lack of tempo change. Yet, in “Travesty”, the blasts and thrash beats really keep things moving under the driving riffs. Also, at around the 5 minute mark, there’s a beautiful clean passage/outro with a killer clean lead. This section is what sealed the deal for me. The progression of the clean rhythm and leads had me thinking Opeth’s “Bleak” or “Dirge for November” and In Flames’s “Acoustic Medley”. Truly fantastic.

If any of this appeals to you, check out the CD release show and pick up the album on September 8. Preorder A False Reality by clicking here.

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Halothane are:

Nicholas Alan- Guitars/Vocals
Brian Jackson – Vocals
Joe Lionti -Drums
John Malone – Bass
Joe Tash – Guitars/Vocals

 

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