Rise to Remain City of Vultures Review

Released 2011.  

BBC Review

A fine debut from a British metal band with a great future.

Raziq Rauf 2011

Rise to Remain have been sitting on City of Vultures for a while now. After signing to EMI the London five-piece took a year to shape this debut LP – but now it’s seen the light of day, delivering on the anticipation, any awards to come its way are wholly warranted. This is as good a debut album from a British metal band as you’re likely to hear in 2011.

After the album’s intro has receded, the first thing you hear of opener-proper The Serpent is not one of its vast, towering melodies. No. It’s a grunt. It’s certainly less easy to sing along to the Lamb of God/Pantera style vocals on show here, but immediately there’s a marriage between rhythmic groove metal and a looser, more European style. The riff-filled This Day Is Mine melds an old-school Bay Area thrash vibe with modern melodic metal, meaning that we end up hearing a fast but anthemic song. It sounds more confusing than it actually is.

Later, God Can Bleed is as harsh and angst-fuelled as it is melodic and comforting. The aptly authoritative Power Through Fear is as stimulating with its heaviness as it is beautiful with its refrains, and the chugging of one of their oldest songs, Nothing Left, is an interesting insight into where the band has come from.

It’s this constant mixing of styles that characterises Rise to Remain’s sound – it’s refreshing while still being comfortingly familiar without being unnecessarily progressive. They absolutely are the consequence of their influences (some of which are far from original), but the result is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.

Roads doesn’t quite hit the syrupy ballad spot, but with its slower tempo and soul-searching lyrics there is an overly-emotive feeling throughout. It’s far from uncomfortable listening, but at almost four-and-a-half minutes long it does end up becoming slightly staid. The heavy shredding of follower (and final track) Bridges Will Burn just highlights its awkward positioning in the album’s sequencing – but said closer, with a grand solo in the middle, comprises a fine end to a fine debut.

Because frontman Austin Dickinson is Bruce’s son, it’s a sad fact that Rise to Remain are linked with Iron Maiden at every turn. But that will pass in time, as there’s more than enough quality evident in this first release to point towards a great future for this young band.

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