In early autumn of 2021 traditional metal band from Wales Hunted has returned after more than ten years of silence with a brand new album Deliver Us via Pitch Black Records. The pause was really long, but in truth, there wasn’t a single change in heavy metal’s evolution. After blasting with erratic energy and shocking heaviness in 1980s heavy metal was stuck in a time warp, even after forty years heavy metal managed to stay true to its canonical stereotypes and sincere energy. But actually Hunted isn’t a heavy metal band, they profess the mix of various classical metal genres – power, heavy, progressive, speed and thrash metal. But the same can be applied for those styles as well; the musical branches created during the previous century didn’t change much.
The metal scene in UK is rather big and truly versatile, without focusing on one genre in particular, so there are plenty of core bands, extreme and brutal gangs, ethnic groups or traditional musicians. If you dig deep into Hunted’s musical roots or influences, there’s nothing really English in their music. The only bands that come to mind are of American origin, and it’s not a hundred percent hit. When you consider Nevermore or Control Denied, incomparable genius bands, you immediately imagine capturing their uniqueness, sophistication, indescribable atmosphere and divine technicality. I’m not saying that Hunted is at the same level as these monsters, it’s practically impossible, but from time to time this faintest atmospheric refinement opens the soul of this band in all its exceptional phenomenality. And this happens more often if you compare Deliver Us with their previous album Welcome the Dead, so there’s always hope for them to develop this subtle whiff into something bigger on their next releases.
Despite an influence from many metal genres, Deliver Us sounds pretty integral and with a common spirit, when thrash metal craziness doesn’t oppose classical music’s rectitude, everything flows in a harmonic and melodic torrent. There is an excellent guitar work on this record, the riffs are amazingly clean and catchy, but solos – insanely progressive, and of course, guitars are the heart of this album apart from emotional and diverse vocal range of their singer Chris G. It’s amazing how he adapts to stylistic changes with his voice – from classical manner and raw style to falsetto and theatrical affection (“Burning Ones”).
Sometimes you can hear a delicate hint of noisiness which makes the sound rawer and dirtier, but still this doesn’t destroy the purity of this album. There’s a lot going on with the rhythm and technical mood – from primitive and monotonous heavy metal passages (“Time will tell”) to typical power metal anthems (“The Black Shore”). The first composition “Velvet Worm” even invites us to southern groovy domain à la Pantera with a blasting vigor of confidence. And opposing classical passages there are also some allusions to disharmonic elements, but without experimental strands of narrative (“For the Blind”). And after aggressive thrash disarray (“Time will tell”) a calm and romantic ballad “Our final Embrace” firmly marks an end in a real multifaceted manner. Only the last cover song “Maldito sea tu Nombre” of Spanish heavy metal legends Angeles del Infierno sounds absurdly primitive for this band.
Destruction, urbanism, romanticism, metaphysical allusions, everything is mixed in the artwork, exposing the true nature of this music, that seems ordinary only at first glance. So, these UK metalheads are on their way of taming the candid simplicity and manifold finesse.
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