Summoning the Bygones

Written by: EW on 30/12/2012 16:41:21

One of the strongest releases I have ever reviewed for by a band who have otherwise flown completely under the radar was "Sudden Death Syndrome" by Jordanians Bilocate whom on their 2008 release prompted me to describe it as "a real work of art in a time of largely soulless plastic fillers." Due to it's complexity it has not seen frequent spins on my stereo since but it remains a very pleasing album and with this year's successor, "Summoning the Bygones", I have been keen to see how the 4-year break has shaped Bilocate and their sound. At a very heavy 72 minutes this is an even more complex listen but one with rich rewards and interest for fans of bands who make concerted attempts to stand out from the seething, boring masses but boy has it taken me some listens to really get into.

The opening to the album sees the strongest individual consideration of their Middle Eastern background as these flavours are presented in the guitar chords before the metallic crunch of "The Tragedy Within" kicks in however through the remainder they are present as a loose colouring of their cloth, allowing for a more developed progressive element to be displayed alongside considerable influence from the British Peaceville three of My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost in particular. This brand of melancholy sits at the base of "Hypia", "The Tragedy Within" and "Passage" among others, lending a faint air of pessimism amongst what is at times flourishing lead guitar and piano work, noting that when the band stick a cover of PL's "Dead Emotion" in the middle of the album one could easily assume it to be an original work if they were not aware of it being a cover. That melancholy is not always expressed with staunch shoe-gazing however; "A Deadly Path" has melodic death metal overtones all over it (notably in a stunning riff which kicks into life after 45 seconds) while "2nd War In Heaven" combines Ramzi Essayed's long deep growls with a synth-backed faster deathly section early on. Closing track "A Desire To Leave" is a 20-minute epic split into three separate tracks: opening third "Obscurity" develops by the lead of piano but doesn't provide anything not already heard in it's 9 minutes; "Surrounding Hell" takes a while to get going before resorting to a mainly synth-driven second half before "Of Leaving" closes the album with more of the melancholy noted earlier and the strong clean vocals of guest vocalist Dan Swanö to end the album on a slow plaintive note.

In assessing all this I recall the progressive nature of Britain's own De Profundis who themselves specialise in above-average song lengths travelling through a multitude of genres and sounds, capturing the mind with their eloquent beauty and strong range of dynamics all without pandering to established genre conventions. With both bands this has produced deeply layered albums necessitating repeat plays as previously undiscovered facets are revealed with each listen, demonstrating powerful uses of clear and intricate production jobs to allow subtle sections of acoustic guitar or piano to lead the songs into mazes of progression as often as they bombard with metal charged power.

The Arabic background of the band is less obviously presented than on "Sudden Death Syndrome" but this does not stop Bilocate furthering their claim to a sound of their own on "Summoning the Bygones". Though not as impressive, in part thanks for the average quality of the closing trilogy track, this is still a very strong release from a band who really now should be firing on high cylinders. Albums as well composed as this don't come around often.


Download: A Deadly Path, The Tragedy Within
For The Fans Of: Paradise Lost, De Profundis, Triptykon, Opeth
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date: 11.06.2012
Code666 Records

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