Blackbriar – Fractured Fairytales (Self-Released)Thursday, 13th July 2017
Enchanting isn’t a word that gets tossed around with too many metal albums, but it’s entirely the aesthetic of Blackbriar’s debut EP, Fractured Fairytales. There may be many bands parading around with the alternative metal tag, but this is a case where you should end up getting more than you bargained for if you go in with solely that context to the release as a whole. Blackbriar is onto something here.
Alternative metal doesn’t really do the band justice, and they tend to dabble in gothic almost as much. There’s an element of fantasy intertwined with the band’s sound, as the darkened whimsy of “Preserved Roses” quickly casts a light on. It’s a fresh take on the sound, that’s for sure. The fairytale aspect is also one that comes into the feeling of the music, which is hard to put a finger on beyond that, but it does in fact give the songs a more unique feel. Vocalist Zora has a strong set of pipes, and instantly draws you in with her soaring voice on the aforementioned “Preserved Roses” but also exerts some power on tracks like “Witching Hour.” Speaking of which, just in case you are beginning to think that the album is “too pretty” for a metal release, know that there is some heaviness beneath it all. A firm metallic base coats “Until Eternity,” with some galloping verses that lead to a catchy melodic chorus. The title track is a more mysterious number, but also benefits from some subtle grooves that lie below the surface. There’s a good balance of melody that engages the listener, while keeping enough heaviness to make you want to crank the speakers a bit.
Fractured Fairytales is a palatable offering that should win over the hearts of the melodic metal base. Strong vocals and a sweeping and unique sound give Blackbriar an edge over the competition. The only real negative is how quickly the EP ends, making you hunger for more. May a full-length not be too far off in the future.