Review: March of Fate – Let the Ritual Begin

I hope Lord Mattias and his motley company will forgive me for posting this so late. I had hoped to get this written before the launch, but I haven’t written much of anything lately…

Rising on the Birmingham metal scene (and apparently worldwide, certainly with followers in America) are March of Fate, a fantasy metal band with a distinctive look, a distinctive sound, and a pretty fresh take on the genre. Over the course of the last few months, they have been going from strength to strength, gracing venues in Birmingham, the Black Country and Leicester with their wild stage show and distinctive sound. And their slot at the Mayday Meltdown festival in Colley Gate, Halesowen marked the launch of their début EP, Let the Ritual Begin.

It’s almost the record you’d expect from a band that has foam cutlass battles instead of mosh pits. And I say that insofar as that an EP doesn’t seem to be enough. Lyrically, the four tracks cover a cast of characters across evil sorcerers, werewolves, and possessed warlords. Somehow the acoustic introduction and coda make the whole affair sound like it should be tied together, like some kind of gothic opera. Instead, the songs are clearly separate entities despite the EP’s structure, when they would all be well served as part of a high fantasy concept album.

I know that sounds like criticism, but really that’s praise for a band’s first EP, given that such discs are, to all intents and purposes, demos. The structure of March of Fate’s song writing is reasonably complex, so to show that kind of promise on a collection recorded in a mere two days speaks volumes both for their musicianship and their producer.

So what do they sound like? Well, they’re a different take on the genre. Heavy though their sound is, and determinedly metal, there is a real melody to their songs. The vocals aren’t incomprehensible roars, Lord Mattias (AKA Matt Frobisher) opting instead for a vocalisation that sounds not unlike Shane MacGowan (minus slurring). It fits the medieval ballad element of their lyrics perfectly, while matching the hard and heavy guitar work. Not that they tend to unnecessary shredding or doomy power chords – the heaviness is in their guitar sound, allowing March of Fate some melodic complexity in the interplay between the guitars. Maybe they wouldn’t suit the tastes of the “heavier the better” crowd, but they’re an easy band to like if your music tastes are diverse.

All told, I think I’ll be paying to upgrade my review white label to the fully-printed disc.

Let the Ritual Begin is available on iTunes and Spotify, or as a physical disc at any March of Fate show

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~ by Scary Rob on 2 May, 2016.

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