Romancing with Black Metal.

Britain has been lacking on black metal bands for quite a while ever since Black Sabbath removed themselves from the lime light, only appearing every so often to give performances, and with our current scene being overrun with mainsteam/indie music something dark and forbidding is really needed on the scene. Now a three piece band from Wales hail to answer the call of all that is black and sinister and to breathe life back into our musical productivity.

Tor Marrock are an eclectic blend of black, death and gothic metal, bringing the styles together in a way that's surprisingly delectable, the mix smoothly executed but sharp in its impact, hard and bitter and utterly addictive. The dark and dismal characteristics of their sound have already built them quite a fan base and now with their debut release of their concept album 'A Gothic Romance', Tor Marrock look set to reignite the dark mysteries locked within the dark chest of heavy metal.

Their first track 'Death of Summer' is relentless from the start, the introduction being only a few strokes on a delightfully down tuned and overdriven guitar before the vocalist charges in with a coarse and devilish screams. The structure is still wonderfully together, where some bands working in the hardcore scene would fall into the same trap of vocals being lost in overly violent guitar riffs, Tor Marrock seem to keep the vocals and riffs together in simple but effective rhythms, the accents timed to fit perfectly together which allows the layers of the track to come through in amazing clarity. The track is relentless, the constant riffs changing through and driving on the vocals which although gruff and coarse, do have a strangely melodic and seductive appeal about them. The chorus is particularly strong in its assault as the double bass drum fills add to the violent effect and the bass keeps the riffs and melodic outline supported. Tor Marrock himself has a great talent himself, usually only displayed within Scandinavian melodic death metal bands where in his screaming vocals the words and melodic line can still be heard which really does make a difference to the overall dynamics of the piece as the lyrics themselves are incredibly beautiful, poetic and well written.

'Delude our Poisoned Minds' displays the more gothic and vampiric side to Tor Marrock's sound and this sound is where the real power and beauty of Tor Marrock's writing is displayed. The overall sound has a melancholic and seductive sound to it, the track begins with a marching drum beat and the spoken voice of Tor who manipulates the natural rhythm of the vocals to sound as dark and mysterious as the night. The guitars then roar in with delayed and overdriven riffs that fall and fade away into the next before the drums signal a change in speed and here two sides to the vocals are shown. Here Tor Marrock also displays a very beautiful and flowing singing voice, a voice so chilling and clear that it's a shame that it's not used more but used against the aggression of the screaming the sound is just as seductive and atmospheric. The lyrics are also chilling and icy against the cold beauty of the song and this blend of gothic romance and black metal is the starting point at which the album really grows into an innovative and beautiful score of music.

Just as Black Sabbath reign as the most powerful on the UK's metal scene, so will Tor Marrock one day reign as one of the most dark and beautiful. Their unique sound and taste for the decadent and romantic through the darker aspects of life gives them great potential and they are sure to gather a great following.