Saturday, May 24, 2014

Armageddon Rev. 16:16 - Sundown On Humanity

Armageddon Rev. 16:16
Sundown On Humanity
Pitch Black Records

Armageddon Rev. 16:16 (Or simply Armageddon as they were originally called back in their formative years) is a band that has earned a reputation as one of the true founding acts within the underground Cyprus metal scene. Founded way back in 1984 (Initially starting out as a covers band called Heavy Duty), the band soon gained a cult following with the release of a couple of demo efforts (The first in 1987, and the follow-up in 1988), before making their mark with the release of their debut E.P. effort ‘Rev. 16:16’ in 1991. But despite the critical acclaim following the release of their debut effort, it would be another eight years before Armageddon Rev. 16:16 would release their follow-up E.P. ‘Spoils Of Conflict’. But with a change of tastes within the metal scene, and the relative unknown label the E.P. was released on (Bologna Rock City Records), both the band and the E.P. soon faded into obscurity. However, rather than completely disappear, the band’s status grew and after an absence of fifteen years, Armageddon Rev. 16:16 (Who now comprise of original vocalist Jimmy Mavrommatis, founder/lead guitarist Kikis A. Apostolou, and new rhythm guitarist Elias A. Andreou, bassist Nikolas Papaeftychiou and drummer Kerry Elgar) have returned to the scene, and released their first full-length effort in ‘Sundown On Humanity’.
The album begins with a suitably dramatic and orchestrated instrumental piece entitled ‘E.K. 40 (Intro)’, which eventually makes way for the first official track ‘Human Sundown’. It’s with this track that Armageddon Rev. 16:16 really showcase their take on the progressive/power metal sound. And it’s quite good. The guitar riffs are weighty enough to give the band a heavy and gritty sound, while the keyboards (Provided by Firewind’s Bob Katsionis, who also mastered and mixed the album) add a sense of drama to proceedings. Mavrommatis’ can take a little getting used to, but in general, manages to suit the music provided rather than go against the grain.
‘Shades Of Tomorrow’ is definitely an early stand-out on the first half of the album with its catchy chorus, varied tempos and impressive solo brackets, while the fast paced ‘Strange Dreams’ and the rather heavy ‘Fallen Angels And Lost Souls’ (Which features guest vocals from Blynd’s Andreas Paraschos) are solid follow-up efforts that show the diversity of the band’s overall sound.
Unfortunately, as strong as the album begins, the band can’t seem to retain the same level of consistency throughout the album. Although solid on the musical front, the up-tempo ‘Hypocrites Of Destruction’ sounds like its been torn in two completely different directions style wise, while ‘New Day Will Come’, ‘Why’ (Which starts out with a somewhat familiar Scorpions sounding whistle), and the cliché metallic inspired anthems of ‘United’ (Which features guest vocals from R.U.S.T.’s Tasos Karonias and Arrayan Path’s Nicholas Leptos) and ‘Heavy Metal’ just don’t hit the mark on the song writing front.
‘13-Seventh Eleven’ is a little stronger, with the band exploring the progressive side of their sound a little more, while the closer ‘Icy Blackness (Kursk)’ (Which features a guest guitar solo from Katsionis and Solitary Sabred’s Petros Leptos providing the song’s narration) is an impressive mix of the progressive and the thrashing, and therefore is easily another stand out.
Overall, ‘Sundown On Humanity’ is a solid album, but marred by a running length that is a little on the long side of things, and some fillers that bog down the middle of the album.
But despite the obvious issues, I can’t see ‘Sundown On Humanity’ doing any harm to Armageddon Rev. 16:16’s reputation as one of Cyprus’ truly enduring metal founders.

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© Justin Donnelly

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