Southern influenced metal is what Bedowyn have to offer on their full length debut Blood Of the Fall. The band’s home state of North Carolina has seen multitudes of bands spanning all genres come out if its ranks but this four piece stick, very stubbornly, to a certain subset of influences. Stubbornly is the word of choice here because at times these influences take over almost verbatim and the band’s fleeting glimpses of originality takes a backseat. Unfortunately this has a negative impact on longevity but it’s still a fun ride in the interim.
One thing that struck a chord early on is how the band intentionally crafted an album with a clear A and B side. Nostalgia for the way music consumption used to be, not that long ago, is a powerful thing and they’ve taken full advantage here. The first half is full of piss and vinegar while the second half is more laid back, easy if you will. Anthemic rock structuring is apparent early on in the title track as the rush of burly riffs gives way to stadium sized solos and clean singing. But it’s on “Rite To Kill” that the band shines with the perfect mix of dirty sludge influenced grooves and progressive guitar work. Alex Traboulsi single handedly propels this track into the heaviest territory of the entire album with his whiskey soaked vocals that sound strikingly close to Ben Ward (Orange Goblin).
The carefree acoustics of “For a Fleeting Moment” would be a perfect fit for a lazy day floating on the lake but also marks the end of side A and start of side B. And here lies the point in which the influences outweigh the band’s originality. The glaringly progressive opening of “Where Wings Will Burn” is almost to the note of Mastodon’s “Crack the Skye. And as the song kicks into a higher gear, if not for Traboulsi’s gravely delivery, you’d be hard pressed to think you weren’t listening to Baroness circa Blue Album. “Lord Of the Suffering”, while mostly relying on methodically slower tempos and hypnotic song structuring, occasionally breaks loose with the signature gallop of Des Kensel (High On Fire). “Halfhand” is equal parts southern acoustic reminiscent of what Weedeater successfully did on their latest album and yet again more Mastodon worship with progressive rhythmic structures and clean harmonies.
Who knows if Bedowyn intended to ride this close to some of the previously mentioned bands, but as the album rolls on this hero worship only intensifies. Also it’s tough to get past the obvious reference on the album cover of the horse that adorned Remission. Granted there’s more happening on this cover but based on the sounds within its about as close to a dead ringer as possible. This quartet obviously doesn’t lack in the talent department, the way they string together riffs and melodically progressive sections is nothing short of astounding. Unfortunately there just not enough originality here to really showcase their talent in a way that the band can call their own.
On Blood Of the Fall, Bedowyn play their hearts out and at least half of the time succeed with their take on southern fried metal with a spirited rock flair. But it’s the other half of repetitive hero worship that weighs the album down and consequently makes it hard for this debut to last after the first few spins. There’s a lot to be said in the simple fact that they can convincingly pull off the tough measures of Mastodon, the galloping sound of High On Fire, and the dirty biker aesthetic of Orange Goblin but the listener can always return to those bands to scratch that itch. If Bedowyn can turn this energy into their own beast entirely, the follow up to this debut will be monumental.