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On disc: Quest Of Aidance

Dark Are The Skies At Hand - Mike Thompson - 9 stars

Dark Are The Skies At Hand

Dark Are The Skies At Hand
(Pulverised Records - 2010)

I've not heard of Quest Of Aidance before and from the name I'll admit I was was expecting a power metal band so I was a little shocked to learn that they were classed as death metal. When I saw the incredibly short length of the tracks my heart sank a little as I figured I knew what to expect – run of the mill death/grind. A sub-genre that I usually avoid like the plague as I find it tedious, boring and not worthy of my time. I was right...partially. Whilst Quest Of Aidance is in fact a death/grind band I actually really enjoyed listening to this EP!
The EP starts in typically brutal fashion. A short, crushing song called Distant World Arrival. Well, I was left under no illusions as to what genre this band is! Without doubt the stand-out track on this short EP is Red Dust. It is a song that combines uncompromisingly heavy guitar with melodic, symphonic keyboards to great effect. The third track is another uncompromisingly brutal effort guaranteed to get your head a-banging.
The band is apparently heavily influenced by the Predator movies. Not that you can tell from the stylistically indecipherable vocals. In fact, its not until Soundtrack To Hish, which is a four minute instrumental mainly made of of clips from the Predator movies and strange ambience, that the Predator feel is really evoked. Strangely enough, Soundtrack To Hish is, to all intents and purposes, an intermission between the pulverising death/grind but, at over four minutes is also the longest track on the album!
Yautjan Overture is the fifth track and is a keyboard track that would work well as an intro or outro. As it is both this and Soundtrack To Hish seem really out of place slap-bang in the middle of the brutal death/grind.
Yield sees Quest Of Aidance finish as they started. Uncompromising brutality, speed and aggression is in full flow as Yield rips through your speakers and crushes your skull.
I can't help, but think that the tracklist I have is messed up. The one listed on the band's website is in a different order and would work far better. On this release the majority if the death/grind is on the first half of the EP whilst the scene-setting, atmospheric instrumental tracks dominate the latter half.
This is, however, really the only negative thing I have to say about Dark Are The Skies At Hand. Its a gem of an EP with excellent musicianship and brutal yet catchy songs sure to please any fan of death metal.

9 stars

Mike Thompson


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