Monday, August 14, 2017

Pentakill - Grasp of The Undying (2017)

The thought of a fictional band sounds kind of wacky, maybe even outright dumb, but it is a phenomenon that is not too uncommon these days. Hell, the first record I ever bought was a fictional band, the self titled debut record of Gorillaz (still a fantastic record and band). For us metalheads, we have a couple of these types of bands. The most well known is definitely Dethklok from the animated series "Metalocalypse", but we also have a little band known as L70ETC (Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain), a band created in the realms of the video game "World of Warcraft", and they had some decent hits like "Rogues Do It From Behind" and "I Am Murloc" (a song that made it in as DLC to "Guitar Hero III").

Now, we can add another video game inspired band to the mix. From the ever so popular MOBA game "League of Legends" comes Pentakill, a six piece band... wait, why are they called Pentakill if they are 6 members? Shouldn't they be called Hexakill instead? Screw it, all of them are taken from the video game, and have some pretty fun back stories too, all of which you can read on in their homepage. However, they do not mention who is behind the characters, doing all of the real work, but believe me, there are some impressive musicians behind this.

Just the vocal roster is pretty impressive. We got Per Johansson from what I think is Ureas and Thrid Eye (not sure though, the information is not easy to find, correct me if I am wrong please), Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast (doing a lot of clean vocal work for a change, instead of screaming her lungs out), and the all mighty Jørn Lande, who not surprisingly steals most of the show. It is not only that this is weird to hear a guy like him in a project like this, but also the fact that the music Pentakill plays seems to fit Jørn's vocals better than his own stuff, just because he gets to release more power. He just owns all of the five songs he performs in.

But there are a lot of other people behind this album, almost far too many to mention in a sentence or two. Just the fact that a symphonic orchestra from Macedonia is involved in this is awesome. Actually, there is a lot of orchestration in this album, making it extremely grand and powerful, elevating the music to new levels. Add a guitar that creates a lot of awesome solos and memorable riffs (that main riff on "Mortal Reminder" is so infectious), and you get a band that goes full force in its effort to dominate the battlefield.

While there obviously is a lot of passion and energy in the band, they seem to have these moments of trying to build up a mood, ending in songs that stomps without progressing any further. Seriously, why is a song like "The Hex Core M 2" doing here? Not only does the title not make any sense (unless it has something to do with LoL, but it is still dumb), the song itself is a slow Rob Zombie and 2wo hybrid that is murdering the momentum in one of the most efficient ways imaginable. It stands out for all the wrong reasons, and while there are other songs in "Grasp of The Undying" that does not seem to have a purpose, this one is just an ear sore.

Fortunately, there is a lot of awesome stuff in here to quickly forget the bad times. The energetic power the band produces is at times astounding, even down right mesmerizing. There is a lot of passion behind this project, and all of the people that stands behind should really feel proud of their accomplishments. So even if I never will understand why the game League of Legends is as big as it is, I sense greatness in this band that originates from its universe. It is far from a perfect effort, but it certainly leaves a well lasting mark in your ear drums.

Songs worthy of recognition: Mortal Reminder, Cull, Frozen Heart, Rapid Firecannon

Rating: 7,5/10 Bloodthirsters

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