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Flametal - The Elder CD (album) cover

THE ELDER

Flametal

 

Progressive Metal

3.55 | 8 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When a friend of mine told me that, browsing through obscure blogs, he had found a band that mixed metal and flamenco, I was very happy. Then he told me the band was called Flametal.

My immediate thought was "Man! Why didn't Bon jovi called his band Popmetal? Why didn't Yes called themselves Symphorock? Can there ever be a worse, more lazy name for a band?"

But then I heard some samples in MySpace, and suddenly I decided to check more about the band. It didn't go long until I decided to spend actual money to get ahold of a copy of FLAMETAL's debut album, The Elder. I received the copy, I listened to it...

...Then I realized that this is possibly the best band I've ever heard with the worst name ever. And the logical idea followed: who cares about a name? Suddenly, I was in front of one of the best discoveries of the recent months. Thanks to my friend, again, for being such a blog-freak (with all my affection if you're reading, master-blogger).

FLAMETAL's The Elder is actually what it's supposed to be: a mixture of metal, thrash metal at that, with flamenco and more classical guitar-oriented music. The music, on its metallic side, owes a lot to bands like TESTAMENT, SLAYER and METALLICA, with touches of more progressive bands here and there, with shredding solos and scales and heavy pounding riffs; alongside we hear acoustic, flamenco guitars, with arpeggios, solos, harmonies and rhythms typical of that European (and mostly Spanish) genre. Paco de Lucia is cited as one of the influences for the band's sound, and it actually shows in the music.

Please. Don't think for a minute that this is a simple gimmick, that you will hear a few acoustic guitars as background for monster riffs and that the only fla in flametal is the sound of wood. No, the sound of FLAMETAL is a true mixture, a blend of styles, with rhythms and riffs typical of flamenco guitar played in the electric one and metallic shredding being performed in the acoustic one, with rhythms of both genres intertwined in a perfect balance of blood and fury.

Another one of the aspects that makes FLAMETAL a unique experience is the fact that, besides the usual instruments, the band incorporates two female shoe-dancers (zapateadoras) who also provide clapping rhythms to add spanish flavor to the music. When we hear The Elder, we have the weird -yet pleasant- sensation that we're in a dark, doomy, devil-ridden atmosphere, surrounded by red curtains, women in long, black-and-red dresses, and a scent of roses, wine and passion.

The musicians in FLAMETAL are top-notch. Leading the pack is, of course, mastermind guitarist Benjamin Woods who possesses a great technique that allows him to display a whole array of ideas in all kind of styles. He solos every now and then in The Elder, but he never tries to steal the show for himself. He allows room for the other band members to show their skills. In the last song, Journey into Fear, there's an actual drum solo near the end, something unusual in most rock recordings.

Let me comment about the vocals: they're not up to the same level as the instruments, but they're not annoying once one gets used to them, and, luckily for us, they appear only in three songs. His growling is weak, no doubt about it, but the music overpowers it so much that we quickly accept it as part of the drama.

All in all, a fantastic album, worthy of 4 stars for the great music and for originality and innovation. It's band like this that keep the music world healthy, and I have no doubt they will be discovered by a bigger label (The Elder was self-released) very soon. If not, try to get their music and enjoy one of the best bands around. No doubt we can say we hope the flame in Flametal will keep burning for years to come!

Recommended for: Every fan of melodic prog metal and melodic thrash-metal. Also, if you love flamenco AND metal, this is THE album for you.

The T | 4/5 |

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