Bloody Tyrant - 島嶼神話 (Myths Of The Islands) review

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Band: Bloody Tyrant
Album: 島嶼神話 (Myths Of The Islands)
Release date: June 2020

01. 創世 (Genesis)
02. 黑翼之神 (Black Wings)
03. 射日 (Two Burning Suns)
04. 巨人 (Colossus)
05. 鬼湖 (Sacred Lake)
06. 變獸 (Transformation)
07. 公鹿 (The Antlers)
08. 洪水 (The Deluge)
09. 鯨魚 (Whale)

So you thought that melancholy, euphonic melodeath was just a Nordic thing, did you? Well, okay, so did I - even having listened to Bloody Tyrant before, I was not prepared for the wave of Amon Amarth/Insomnium riffs echoing across the seas from Taiwan.

The last time I listened to Bloody Tyrant was in 2017, around the release of 孤鷹行 (Solitary Eagle), and I remembered them having a firmer foundation in black metal. Returning to their older material now, 島嶼神話 (Myths Of The Islands) appears to have a stronger continuity with Bloody Tyrant's sound than I thought, but it is true that the band once had a strong symphonic black metal element that appears to have been edged out over time; where was once unabashed indebtedness to the black-death-folk convergence realized by Chthonic's Seediq Bale is now a resolute, uniform melodic death metal style that reaches toward Europe's biggest titans. Upper-string riffing and flashy leads have shot to prominence, resulting in a more heavily guitar-driven sound. You could close your eyes for a little while and hear nothing but Finland.

Bloody Tyrant's folk elements remain, however; the rush of chugging, guttural bellowing, and Be'lakor-esque* hooks that open "創世 (Genesis)" is preceded by the emergence of organ and the pipa, a four-stringed, lute-like instrument of Chinese origin that plays a prominent role on this album. The pipa doubles many of the lead guitar melodies, adding its distinctive twang for texture as much as tune (it's like a banjo played by somebody with a full set of teeth). Whistles and bowed strings also make appearances, as on "洪水 (The Deluge)" and "巨人 (Colossus)." But what stands out as much as these elements, equally unorthodox in the field of melodic death metal, are the clean vocals: layers of actual singing surface for choruses often enough that you could say the vocal delivery for the whole album is really an alternation between harsh and clean. Vocalist 饒亞哲** can summon a gale force in his lungs for his ragged mids and rumbling growls; he sounds more at home performing harsh vocals. Perhaps that is why the clean vocals are always multitracked and usually a little lower in the mix than the growls; their position is that of backing vocals more than lead vocals. Yet they often take the lead, and their thinner, softer tone has a distinctive quality all its own; it's another thing that sets Bloody Tyrant apart, which is helpful given how many cues they seem to take from preestablished sounds, and I find them very complementary to the songs.

When I started listening to Bloody Tyrant several years ago, I was searching for another version of Chthonic - and, beyond the obvious parallel of their Taiwanese origins, I think you can find that in earlier Bloody Tyrant albums. 島嶼神話 (Myths Of The Islands) leaps from one comparison straight into the arms of another, but it retains a lot of qualities that make Bloody Tyrant more than a copycat - and "創世 (Genesis)," for one is such a catchy tune that it currently ranks among my favorites from this year.

*Australia participates in Eurovision and is therefore part of Europe

**I haven't found an official transliteration yet and I'm not going to attempt it myself.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 7


Written on 10.07.2020 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 34 users
12.07.2020 - 18:33
I think I liked the black metal albums a bit more, but this was a pretty graceful change of sound regardless
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

2021 goodies
04.02.2021 - 18:28
The Evergreen

This sounds like Chinese Amorphis. I also get some Thrawsunblat vibes. I like. I like A LOT! MOTI is gonna get purchased and played to death.

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