Bedowyn - Wolves & Trees (EP) (2013)


We've tried for the better part of two years to come up with the perfect analogy. An old style coming back around, changed and recast to become something truly new. Unfortunately, the caterpillar into butterfly shtick doesn't work here, as the butterfly eventually dies. Perhaps this is like a campfire, started by bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Slayer. Left unattended, the fire can grow dark and burn out. Over time, the embers fade and start to break down. But every now and then, someone comes along to restart that fire, lighting the ashes in hopes of it burning as bright, if not brighter, than it has before. We've seen bands put fuel to that classic metal fire, each one adding another dash of this or that to make it their own. And as Raleigh, North Carolina's Bedowyn approach the flame, they carry with them not a match or a log, but a barrel. Their new EP, the thrashing, quasi melodic "Wolves & Trees" is like sixty gallons of gasoline on a flickering flame.

It would be hard to ignore the influences that appear early in the album, including the opening riff to "Bisha'a." There is a nod hidden there that can be traced back to the biggest bands of the past four decades. But without a vocal element this time around, they leave much of the onus to the guitars and bass to carry the load. Not by coincidence, these happen to be major strengths in the lineup, with bassist Todd Parham consistently delivering on all fronts. Having now established their instrumental depth, the band blasts right into a monstrous thrashing affair, "Evil/Right," complete with a raspy vocal that couldn't be more right for the job. It would be foolish to ignore just how dynamic a vocalist Alex Traboulsi can be, embodying the past-meets-present identity the band has forged for themselves.What remains refreshing is how seamlessly the band joins together, each cog in the gear serving his role to the maximum extent, without overstepping his boundaries. As a result, you get stone cold grooves, like the one that comes at the three minute mark, that could knock you dead, or revive your corpse, depending on your current state of life.

With the mood now set, "O' Bitter Sea" finds it's home right in the middle of the fray. The riffs just keep rolling over you, strengthened by that insanely smooth bass. Guitarist Mark Peters keeps driving the nails into the board, alternating between dense chugging portions and great pick work. But even his work has yet to peak, only increasing in weight as the EP continues. It comes to a head on the classic metal tinged "Wolves & Trees," which comes with a bizarrely accurate Ozzy Osbourne, "Crazy Train"-era maniacal laugh. When you begin to dissect the whole here, you come to the foundation, which is the hammering drum work of Marc Campbell. He might not go for flash and rhinestone jumpsuits, but his stick work is the keystone that allows everything to grow around it. The guitar lead that forms the melody in the outro is the stuff dreams are made of. If the lyrical content has somehow slipped your focused until now, "Snarling Of Beasts" would be the right time to get on board. Over a distorted wall of metal riffs, Traboulsi spins a yarn that could tickle the fancy of any metalhead. "We hear the snarling of beasts! We are the power, building the lightning," he sings with delight. An absolutely ripping solo puts the lid on a burning fire.

It's hard not to overstate the strengths present on this EP. That is to say, everything. Try as you might, it seems damn near impossible to find any way to improve upon the formula that Bedowyn has concocted. They have found a niche that combines something for everyone to enjoy. By no means does that imply that they are watered down or overly accessible. Quite to the contrary; they've harnessed the power of the forefathers of metal, and brought them kicking and screaming into 2013. They've captured all of that warm feeling, without sacrificing production, songwriting, or musicianship. We've seen our fair share of bands throw another log on the fire since it started burning some forty years ago, but very few have seen the flames rise this high. Black Sabbath gathered the kindling, and Bedowyn are burning down the camp sire. The only difference is, without question, I would take Bedowyn over modern day Sabbath any day of the week.

9.5/10

Bandcamp - http://bedowyn.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/Bedowyn