Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Class of 2012: The Howling Wind - Of Babalon

American black metal duo The Howling Wind consists of Ryan Lipynsky (Thralldom, Unearthly Trance, The Serpentine Path) and Tim Parasitic (Aldebaran, Weregoat).  Of Babalon consists of 8 tracks plus a bonus cover of Hellhammer's "Horus/Aggressor."

As "The Seal Upon The Tomb" begins, I can't help but be reminded of Drudkh (the sum of the parts but especially in the vocals).  As the song (and the rest of the album) continues, however, this feeling fades.

Overall, the vocals are blackened, but at one point, there's a hint of some death metal.  This occurs in "Beast Of The Sea," and if you listen carefully, you'll see what I mean. It's too bad there's not more of this growl throughout.

Standout track "Scaling The Walls" is catchy in its own way.  This has little to do with the vocals, for it's more of a musical vibe (primarily in the guitar work) that gets into your head and doesn't want to leave.

Another point of interest is "Abominations and Filth."  If you replaced the vocals on this track with clean singing, the first two minutes could be featured on hard rock radio (if it still exists).  By no means is this meant to be a bad or negative comment on this song - just something that I noticed.

The final track of the album proper is "Gateways," and it closes the record wonderfully.  For this reason, I see no need for the cover of "Horus/Aggressor," but since it's a bonus track (and it's done well), it doesn't detract from the Of Babalon experience. 

Grade: B-  (81.3%)

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