Green Death – Hallowmass (Combat Records)Wednesday, 24th October 2018
Apparently dying comes in many colors, as here we have Green Death who reside in Iowa – together since 2012 and gaining attention from Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson to sign with the resurrected Combat Records. Hallowmass as the band’s third full-length could be at a critical juncture for career longevity and acceptance, as their brand of modern heavy/thrash metal straddles certain fences that could give them a chance at wider commercial appeal – or possibly be scorned by the underground.
After initial exposure to these tracks, it’s obvious that an extra emphasis on prominent hooks song to song is the prime focus. Be it a charging guitar harmony that gives chase to a rhythmic cat and mouse scenario during “I Am Eternal” or the darker, doomier groove tack “Sacrament” portrays, it’s clear that the music sets up Sol Bales with openness vocally, using a clear delivery with some alternative/modern rock bite that makes me think of a cross between Trivium, Danzig, and Black Sabbath. Although most of the material sticks to a radio-friendly 3:45 to five minutes arrangement scope, Green Death choose to let their epic doom side extend things on the eight-minute plus closing “Sickle & Scythe” cut – the main riff echoing to a churning conclusion. Most of this material has all the right tools to gain metalhead approval – riffs that make you bounce, catchy transitions, and a boatload of heavy metal/thrash attitude throughout. And yet for all the meat and potatoes approach that can be part 90’s Megadeth on “Bullet of Silver” for instance, there are other songs like “The Betrayed” that fail to spark more than a cursory interest – the semi-growls and screams maybe giving the nuance of extremity, but struggling to be convincing.
When you want to develop three or four sub-genre aspects to your sound, it needs to fit in the context of the ideas you wish to refine and make into your own style. Hallowmass possesses potential not fully realized, which means they may need to go back to the drawing board on the next go around to get more of the audience they desire on board.