Review: “Smoke And Mirrors” by The Colony

Returning with their fourth studio album “Smoke And Mirrors” are Glaswegian 5 piece Metal act The Colony. They’ve been around the Eastern European touring circuit since their 2011 debut having been a band since 2006, clocking up festival appearances in as far flung places as Romania. All of which means they can’t have been inspired to take their name from the Lawrence Fishburne Horror film of the same name which appeared in 2014. The band announced a new guitarist in Tristan Dales during the build up to this release though he doesn’t appear on the recording itself. Vocalist Peter Cullen, Guitarist duo Aaron Hobkirk and Konnar Anderson are alongside drummer Riki Hobkirk and bassist George Struthers for one last time.

Eerie feedback and swirling sonics build into a classic Metal introduction passage, a majestic bridge to the castle of the opening track proper, “Smoke” has been severed from “On My Own” for no apparent reason. Not that it matters. The latter is the first track proper and wastes no time in the vocals kicking in. The Trivium esq riffs and transition between the unclean venom and beautiful cleans is masterful even if those uncleans seem a little forced. A barked spoken word akin to something you might find on a hardcore track doesn’t work at all and is fortunately short-lived and overshadowed by the quality of some simply stunning lead guitar work. The pace drops a notch for a second spoken word with a much improved atmospheric delivery. “Soul Saviour” continues the flow with some programming used in the opening riff salvo and in some of the unclean vocal switches to good effect. Perhaps less this time out is that hardcore esq spoken word one line that is out of place at best but as it’s buried in the mix of In Flames inspired pitch harmonics its less of an irritant. The guitars and the clean vocals which are both brilliant will keep you coming back for more, as will the fragile honesty of the lyrics. Slowing things down and introducing an acoustic guitar after a classic Metal introduction “The Flood” has that classic radio appealing big slow epic sing-a-long anthem chorus and mass appeal. A piano passage adds a wonderful atmospheric and the change up between the acoustic and electric guitar work is with impressive skill and craftsmanship.

After the epic comes “Here We Stand” with some Iron Maiden influence in the opening riffage before going full on Metalcore with some classic era leanings. A fist pumping, headbanging anthem of a track, the Jesse Leech esq backing vocal uncleans add a nice edge to the cleans while the tempo shifts and symphonic lead florishes add a shine to crunch of the rythmic pummellingly. “Always” has a similarly relentless battering ram of kit work from sticksman Riki Hobkirk during its opening and end up with creating a heart wrenching juxtaposition of driving riffs and bold sentimental vocals with thought provoking substance in its style. As with album introduction.”Smoke”, “Mirrors” is an instrumental bridge that cleanses the soul with a melodic passage of melloncholic overtones…

…and then things go left. “Carry On” takes the programming to a whole new level with a dubstep introduction that remains buried in the mix as the guitars kick in beside some cold synths. It’s not that it’s a bad thing necessarily, just that it comes as an unexpected double take shock on the first few listens. A picking passage with a whisper that builds into a scream before breaking back the guitars is a masterful moment and the some introspective lyrics “you give me a reason to carry on, the rain never fell so hard, the sun is yet to come” Cullen brings poetic intrigue to the weight of sentiment in the passionately delivered vocals. The Groove Metal riffs that bring the track to a close are choice as by this point in the album you will have come to expect. Slowing things down with the melodic acoustic guitars and pained clean vocals comes “Disconnected” which swirls on the edge of the darkness of mental health with deep and meaningful thoughts. The closing “Sands of Time” echoes that with the heartbreak of a broken relationship the lyrical theme. Unlike it’s predecessor, after the melody laiden introduction, the guitars come down and the energy rises with a rhythmic powerhouse. Cullen’s savage elongated unclean roar is real moment during the epic cut that falls just short of 8 minutes. A fine album, well worth a listen if you fancy sinking your teeth into its epicness. [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Smoke (Instrumental)
  2. On My Own
  3. Soul Saviour
  4. The Flood
  5. Here We Stand
  6. Always
  7. Mirrors (Instrumental)
  8. Carry On
  9. Disconnected
  10. Sands Of Time

“Smoke And Mirrors” by The Colony is out on 28th September

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