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Black Sands of the Hourglass

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Album Review

Every once in a while, a death metal/black metal album will come along that is vocally extreme more than it is musically extreme; Black Sands of the Hourglass is such an album. In terms of vocal style, this CD is far from mainstream; lead singer Derrick Kozerka favors the sort of demonic, larynx-shredding, satanic-style growl that one usually expects from death metal, black metal, and grindcore. But musically, Black Sands of the Hourglass (Age of Ruin's first full-length album) really isn't any more extreme than Megadeth, Venom, Mercyful Fate, or early Metallica — musically, this release is far from grindcore, and most of the material is relatively melodic. Age of Ruin even provides an unlikely remake of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name," which wasn't on the original 2000 release but was added when Tribunal reissued this album in early 2004. If Age of Ruin replaced Kozerka's demons-all-over-your-face growling with the more conventional metal vocals of Judas Priest's Rob Halford or Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, some headbangers probably wouldn't be inclined to classify Age of Ruin as a death metal band. Musically, Age of Ruin certainly can't be lumped in with Cannibal Corpse or Carcass, whose albums are an exhilarating exercise in bombast for the sake of bombast. Of course, having Kozerka sing in a more conventional fashion would detract from the heaviness factor; besides, the album's combination of extremist vocals and a sense of melody is a big part of its appeal. Age of Ruin looks to different parts of the metal spectrum for inspiration — death metal/black metal and grindcore for the vocals; thrash, speed, and power metal for the melodies — and they pull these different influences together nicely on this promising, if imperfect, debut.


Formed: 1998 in Fairfax, VA

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Often compared to At the Gates and In Flames, Age of Ruin has frequently been described as a "melodic death metal band." In other words, they have embraced certain aspects of death metal -- dark, disturbing lyrics and choked, larynx-shredding, evil-sounding growls -- but they are far from the sort of pure, straight-up grindcore one associates with the early recordings of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Carcass, or Cancer. While true grindcore is amelodic and is played at an insanely fast tempo, Age of...
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Black Sands of the Hourglass, Age of Ruin
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  • 49,00 kr
  • Genres: Metal, Music, Rock
  • Released: 17 February 2004

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