Faces of Bayon – Heart of the Fire (Ragnarok Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Watching the development of this doom/drone metal trio has been exciting. Attending their first show, you could sense the Worcester, MA metal act would level all listeners with a thick, bottom-heavy sound, emotionally terrorizing screams and growls from guitarist Matt Smith and write material that falls in line with Grief and Winter with a psychedelic Pink Floyd-ish twist. Here is their six song debut album; a 50 minute-plus excursion into the depths of despair and as such, Heart of the Fire is not for the faint of heart or the instantaneous, simplified metal follower.

When you open with an 11:58 “Brimstoned,” you have to know Faces Of Bayon elevate their riff game and give you feedback overload so that your senses will never be the same again. Bassist Ron Miles serves a dual purpose in terms of holding down the bottom end while also filling in with sheer heaviness on haunting material like “Etheriality” and the 10:53 “Where The Golden Road Ends.” What can be difficult for many slower doom bands to handle is adding nuances to certain passages that are obviously extended and repetitive for the arrangement’s sake, and this is where I believe Smith’s wah-wah guitar technique and the original tom play of drummer Matt Davis (R.I.P.) help distinguish one song from the next.

Lyrically tackling Lucifer’s damnation, Heart of the Fire will be an album that needs a close inspection to envelop you and appeal to the deepest recesses of thought and emotion, areas you may never want to come to the surface. Those who dare will gain immense rewards, and with a new drummer in Mike Brown, one hopes the doom/drone metal rolls onward and upward.

www.myspace.com/facesofbayon

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)