I have to say, my opinion has been positively flavoured from the off here. Another dropbox link for the review pile, yes, but once opened, it’s refreshing to see neatly laid out folders, each with a clear purpose; photos, logos, audio, info. Some may call that overkill, but I personally get a pedantic satisfaction from it. They even included a copy of their ‘Greed’ video, somehow without an insane download time, and it is also very well put together. You can easily see the planning and effort that has gone into this project.
However, this is supposed to be covering the music itself (although, before even pressing play, the penultimate track title ‘Brexit Wounds’ has already tickled me.) This release is quite the smorgasbord of heavy and alternative sounds. Whether that’s a positive may be highly variable, depending on individual tastes. Those who like a clearly defined, quick fix are potentially less likely to bite the hook. One really has to stick it out and pay proper attention to get the most out of this. It doesn’t have the instant, disposable character we’ve come to expect (demand?), and this could be to the band’s detriment, in terms of ‘getting out there’.
That said, for those who have been deeply involved in metal, in all its glory, for any serious amount of time, it’s a treasure trove worthy of Smaug himself. It doesn’t venture into the domain of what we would now call extreme metal, but there are plenty of ‘extreme’ themes. There are plenty of more retrospectively mainstream ones, too. As such, it almost harks back to late 90s acts, the likes of Pulkas or Hundred Reasons, but with a dirtier edge, some old-school-done-new character, and a splatter of updated intensity.
Like the package, the sound and musicianship are incredibly well thought out, and expertly delivered. That has done a lot to bring together such a wide ranging album. STD have seen out a monstrous mission from start to finish, but is it too much of a mix for modern minds?