In Switzerland, we have: the banking system, the cows (usually black & white), the Milka chocolate, Ovomaltine, the “Grasshopers” at Zürich, some famous headquarters of international organizations and a die-hard heavy metal swiss band! Oh yes, in the midst of the cantons, where come from bands such as: Coroner, Eluvetie, Celtic Frost, Samaël, Tryptikon, Carcariass to name a few, Distant Past recalls that Switzerland is also the homeland of Krokus.
Five years after their last achievement “Rise of The Fallen”, Distant Past is making a strong comeback with “The Final Stage”. This new LP symbolizes the rebirth of a band which after a major modification of its line up, only the bass player and singer remain, returns to traditional heavy metal fundamentals.
At the beginning, I told myself I really have not any luck to review this album due to my addiction to extreme metal style, but only narrow minded persons could say that. It just needs to be objective, nothing more to add. Then, I used to become impregnated after several listenings.
We are not looking for the new Iron Maiden or Judas Priest though, because these bands are not retired yet and they are still metal gods for fans of this ever-declining style. Just a little spanner in the works, my ears used to hear growls, maybe grunts or screams and for me a clear voice, even pure, not in the right tone could be like some ear-splitting sounds.
Technically there is not much to complain. On the whole, the songs are well constructed and performed, same thing for guitar solos (except maybe on the first track during a few moment). It is rather a feeling like a lack of power that prevails. This is damaging because in general this style of music lends itself very well to it.
When I examine in details, I regret that solo duels, such as Downing vs Tipton (Judas Priest’s Gold Age) are not more frequent. The sound is good, and there nothing as reproaches to do about arrangements and orchestrations. Everything is linked more than honorably. So if sometimes tunes seem to remind riffs already heard, at least the songs are well balanced and I challenge anyone without an ounce of practice and experience to make sound right this style of music. However, the style is so restrictive, not allowing for experimentation that unfortunately we go around in circles, nothing innovative!
In fact my concern is more about the sing, not that it annoys me but I used and I expected to hear warm voices. For me, the slower the tempo is the lower the voice should be, and as a consequence the faster the tempo is the louder the voice must be.
Besides the fact that no song can become a hymn taken to the heart by any headbanger, this is where the biggest weakness is in the vocals, I feel the voice “under pressure” in “Dawn City” and “World of Wires“.
Small detail that could possibly shock is the positioning of “Final Stage” in the middle of the album! This instrumental and acoustic piece should be either at the beginning or at the end of the album.
It is however with pleasure that I can tell you that this LP is of good quality if we disregard some concerns with the vocals but which fortunately are not present on all the titles.
Release date: March 26th 2021
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