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Tyranny of Hours Self Titled CD
CD Reviews
Written by Allyson Kenning   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Tyranny of Hours CD Review
Self Titled Released
Tyranny of Hours


CD Info


Independent Release
11 Tracks

English and some Scots Gaelic Lyrics



I really love this gig as a CD reviewer because not only do I get the inside track in the big names in the realm of female fronted metal, but I also get review stuff from unknown or brand new bands before anyone else gets to hear the material. I'm not saying this to make you all jealous or anything! I'm just so grateful for the opportunites writing for this 'zine has given me.

Tyranny of Hours is a band from Portland Oregon, and I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of their new self-titled release out on April 5. But this is a band that isn't completely unknown if their Facebook numbers are any indication. Some months ago, they released one song to the world as a free download, "Amber." This one song launched band from obscurity to a following of well over 5000 on Facebook. And if "Amber" is any indication, the album in its entirety is going to launch Tyranny of Hours even father out into the metal stratosphere.

Styling themselves as a mixture of prog and symphonic power metal, the quartet is fronted by absolutely killer vocalist Michelle Mattair. The intro to the album, "What is Free," introduces us to her smooth, rich, and powerful style. But she also really reminded me of another singer, that being Sabine Edelsbacher of Edenbridge. In fact, the intro is very Edenbridge-like in atmosphere. It's a great start.

"Above the Salt," the second track starts off with a riff-heavy intro. The drumming in this song really stands out, too, and the song has as racing symphonic section in the middle that has a chaotic quality to it, which matches the lyrical themes of the song, which is about the destruction of the earth and the greed of humankind. Here is a sample:

Precious jewel that is our Earth
Rent assunder for its worth
Self-hewn kings in silver halls
Ache to devour it all
The flour of our youth
Bleeds for the feast of elites
Banquet of greed and abuse

I love it.

"Legacy" had a heavy as hell intro, and it's in this song that we can hear how seamlessly this band combines the two genres of prog and symphonic power metal. There are distinct sections in this song and the tempos change often, giving it the prog feel, accompanied by racing and bouyant symphonic parts that lends the song it's symphonic power metal atmosphere. It's one of the strongest songs on the album.

After banging out such energetic tunes, track five introduces us to the softer, more sensitive side of the band, with "A Breath with Peace" that starts off with a haunting flute intro. The song, a simple acoustic piece involving only Michelle's vocals and some string instruments, is sung in Scots Gaelic. It's beautiful. There is a bit of a story around the song, too. The band told me in an email, "Don Graham's [the band's guitarist] father (Angus Graham) was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, off the north coast of Scotland, and is a native Gaelic speaker. The lyrics were originally written in English and were then translate into Gaelic by Angus. Some of the phrasing did not translate exactly, and he coined the phrase "A Breath With Peace" as the closest translation to English. We loved the name and it stuck."

Let me tell you: if you throw anything that authentically Celtic into a metal album, you will have me melting in a pool of awesomesauce.

There is a large variety of different sounds on this album as evidenced by not only the melding of genres, the use of a Celtic dialect, but also there an instrumental track on Tyranny of Hours, called "Transvaal Sphere," which is is a cool piece because you can tell the band is just letting loose, and that creates a wonderful energy. Then there is track nine, "The Warm." It has a far eastern sound to it and is a very gentle, simple song with almost a New Age-y ambiance. It's another winner, and again I was reminded of Edenbridge.

But by far the crowning jewel of this CD is the aforementioned "Amber." It's such an impressive track because it showcases Michelle's vocal abilities so perfectly, and it's a song that has a wide appeal because it's complex without being inaccessbile. And it's just so powerful and has one of the best choruses I've come across recently – and I've come across quite a few! I can't help but be impressed with the social media savvy of Tyrrany of Hours for releasing this song well before the completed album was on the horizon.

I can't find any weaknesses on this album. Like I said at the beginning of the review, I think Tyranny of Hours is going to launch this band into big things, and I can't wait to watch their journey play out on social media as it has done so far.

10 / 10

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