A Dead Heavy Day
Reaffirming their position as Sentenced Mk II
If there's one thing apparent with the ex-Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala fronted outfit, Poisonblack, it's the fact that they are becoming more and more like Sentenced-lite with each release. But vocalist/guitarist Laihiala, guitarist Janne Markus, keyboardist Marco Sneck, bassist Antti Remes and drummer Tarmo Kanerva have served up their third album, dubbed A Dead Heavy Day, and it all appears as the logical follow on from 2006's Lust Stained Despair.
Put aside the blues based intro, dubbed Intro, and when the album's first real track, titled Diane, kicks in, it feels like a heavy Stone Sour track more so than a Poisonblack song. But when Laihiala's gravelly vocals kick in, it's immediately apparent that this is some of Poisonblack's heaviest material to date. Musically, it's akin to Stone Sour still which sees the band strip back further its own identity. Continuing the heavy riff fest is the driving Left Behind and the excellent Bear The Cross, both of which may as well have been latter day Sentenced tracks. The album's title track, A Dead Heavy Day, is a darker, almost goth like number but is still heavy in it's own right. It's possibly the closet on here to the material found on Poisonblack's debut.
Me Myself And I is textbook and offers little to get excited about before the dynamic X rides a rollercoaster of contrast between dark and light. From here on in, it's business as usual for Laihiala and Co. with Human-Compost, The Days Between and Hatelove continuing just as you'd expect. Low Life offers a bit of variety at this point thanks to it's up tempo pace, and it doesn't hurt that it's a solid enough song in it's own right as well before the sombre and gentle Only You Can Tear Me Apart winds proceedings down in fine form.
Anyone still mourning Sentenced can mourn no more. Poisonblack might as well be called Sentenced II, or Sentenced Re-Incarnate or Sentenced Lite. Not only has Laihiala's voice lent itself to any of those possible labels but the musical direction has shifted significantly from the moody, dark, goth rock/metal beginnings of their first album. This is Poisonblack's heaviest effort to date, and possibly their most rounded, even if it's not the most original of releases.
(Century Media Records/Stomp Distribution)