Formed in 2007, Blackhour hail from Islamabad and this album is currently getting a worldwide push with the release of their first video and single for the track 'Crucifix'.
And if that whets your appetite, then the rest of the album is just as good. Taking a sprinkling of influence from classic metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, The biggest standout here is the vocals of Teyyab Reman – hitting the high notes with power and clarity and possessing a metal scream that is up there with the best. The twin Guitars of Hashim Mehmood and Mubbashir Sheik Mashoo combine to form some epic riffing and soloing, all underpinned by Salman Afzal's bass and Deim Mehmood's drums.
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The twin guitar riffing of 'Age Of War' opens the album, setting their stall out in fine form. Slow and punchy for the first two minutes or so, with a riff and tempo change leading to the solo, everything seems in its place.
The next two tracks follow the same pattern ('Crucifix' (above) and 'Land Of Uncertainty'. All then slows down for the fourth track, 'The Hourglass'. Almost a Steve Rothery-esqe guitar sequence underpins this Lament, About four minutes in, just as you have been lulled into thinking this is going to be a pure ballad, it explodes into life, taking you by surprise. (this track betrays the Maiden influence).
After the intro, 'Subliminal Control' explodes into life, leading you into the final three tracks, all rockers.
So, as far as debut albums go, this is a corker. Yes, the vocals sound a bit strained in places, and yes, in places this screams Maiden, but debut albums are meant to be a bit ragged around the edges. It is available from reverbnation.com/blackhourofficial/ as a free download - apart from 'Crucifix', but as that only costs $1.29 with a donation going to the Fender Music Foundation, it seems impossible to begrudge.
All in all, 4.5 beers. A stunning debut from a band now part of the Brazilian Wiki-metal umbrella, Let us hope that this association sees them develop on this and go from strength to strength.