Review: BLAME’s “Almanac”

At first glance, Ukraine’s Blame isn’t all that different from bands like Obscura or Spawn of Possession. The band’s sophomore EP Almanac is progressive, hyper technical death metal, where the name of the game is the “wow factor.” Riffs are played at 200 mph, and only those dedicated to the craft of air drumming can pretend to keep up (and of course Nile’s George Kollias, who’s laid down drum tracks for this release). In that regard, Almanac is a rousing success. Songs here are stunningly technical, and the music is often fast and furious (hence the short length numbers). Solos are frequent and enjoyable, and the bass is audible, what is certainly to be appreciated. Have a listen to the title track to get an idea of all that mainman Valeri Golub can do. At any given moment, there is so much going on that multiple listens are a must.

However, when one really gives the album some proper attention, two things become apparent. First, this is a ravenously melodic output, where even some of the heavier aspects feel like they could fit on an Amon Amarth album. Some of these riffs sound like the beginning of an epic battle, and the band is adept at both slow and fast tempos. Second, these songs are much more progressive than “tech.” Almanac feels like a seven-song adventure, where each track takes the listener by the hand and carries them along. The production here is especially noteworthy.

Blame have crafted a highly melodic and lush form of progressive death metal that gels perfectly with the dazzling technicality on display throughout. Almanac has quite a bit in common with the fantastic works of Scale the Summit or Between the Buried and Me. Blame has created one of the best death metal releases so far this year, one that will surely propel them to the upper echelon of progressive and technical death metal. Blame has something for you, get into it right away.