Gyze – Black Bride (Coroner Records)

Sunday, 14th June 2015
Rating: 7.5/10

When looking at the melodic death metal scene and countries that savor the savage combination of high pitch musical harmonies and devastating riffs/vocals, although a boatload of acts originate from North America and mainland Europe, the Far East appears to be a favorite touring destination. So it shouldn’t be shocking that domestic musicians feel the need to strike their own chords in the name of developing high quality offerings – and so appears this Japanese trio. Originating in 2009 as Suicide Heaven, they felt in 2011 a name change was in order – of which we now have Gyze (pronounced GI-ZE).

Black Bride is their second album, following up the very impressive 2013 Fascinating Violence debut record that featured guest vocals on nine tracks from Dead Rhetoric lauded Disarmonia Mundi’s Claudio Ravinale. Shedding their ‘extra person’ cocoon so to speak, we still get a DM assist- but only from Ettore Rigotti vocally on the lone “Honesty” track, so now it’s up to the band to show they can muster all the goods on their own. Right out of the gate the title cut conjures up the fury of guitar harmonies and extreme vocals from Ryoji that have been sorely forsaken from In Flames since at least the Clayman era. He is equally nimble at the keyboard arpeggio finger dance which enhances the flair for the dramatic on the mid-tempo “In Grief” or adds exotic, neo-classical tension to “Nanohana”.

Early Children of Bodom is equally a main influence for Gyze as the aforementioned In Flames – the guitar work of exemplary fashion, technically sound and spot on for the harmonization necessary to keep your aural interest be it on the barnstorming “Insane Brain” or a more power metal-oriented arrangement such as “Twilight”. The digital production and mastering sometimes washes out Shuji’s drumming during semi-blasting sections of “Satanic Loop” or “Black Shadow”, which is a shame as given more kick these songs would be hitting long distance home runs instead of solid singles and doubles.

Given no clean vocals and fine hooks to hang a lot of air guitar simulation upon, Black Bride straddles that line of old melodic death metal meets say Starkill in the power realm – an exciting amalgamation to keep our eyes on.

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