Can you imagine mid-era METALLICA with a Rock/Heavy Metal influence? That is pretty much how STYGIAN sounds. Thrash Metal whose intensity has been taken down a notch and mixed with some Heavy Metal- and Rock-influenced guitar work. The drumming still lingers in the realm of Thrash though, creating a groove with its unending start-and-stop technique. All this makes for an album that invites to some casual headbanging and is fairly easy to listen to. What completes the comparison to METALLICA is the vocalist. Damn, I have seldom heard a singer that tries so hard to sound like another singer. The style on here is heavily influenced by James Hetfield’s style of singing, when it comes to both rhythm and tone. The only comparable example I can remember is the vocalist of LAZARUS that seems influenced by BRUCE DICKINSON on a similar level.
In the fourth song, “My Regret”, the METALLICA vibe gets even stronger. It reminds me quite a bit of “The Unforgiven”, especially regarding the vocal style. It also manages to be a quite interesting semi-ballad. Throughout the album, the guys in STYGIAN succeed fairly well in keeping the interest of the listener. Even though the rhythms tend to similar, the guitar-work and the vocals give an extra edge to some of the songs. “Crimson Sand” is one example of a song that rises above the rest, mostly because of the catchy and well-written chorus. “Last Redemption” is another highlight of the album.
What would be needed here is either a more varied sound or a smaller format. 48 minutes is a tad on the long side for this material. Sure, there is some really good music here, but as almost all the songs follow the exact same rhythmic pattern, only with different speed, the result gets a little monotonous at times. That is also what makes an album hard to remember afterwards. An album with an even quality is a good thing, but ultimately, the gems are what you are after. I would have wished for more variation on the rhythmic side, to accentuate the good songs more from the filler material. I would also like a little more independent vocal approach next time. The vocals are well-executed, but James Hetfield could be mixed with other influences for greater effect.
(Online May 12, 2010)