Symphonic/Melodic Black/Death metal?!


Alas, Tyranny
Nov 15, 2006
Athens, GA
You heard right.

"I reviewed The Matt Parsons Band's first demo, 'A Moment Of Clarity', about half a year ago. It was a good release; extremely well-produced, perfectly played throughout, and having some very solid songwriting to back up its production values. At the same time, the tracks did tend to slip my mind after a while, and I felt that sole member Matt Parsons could have gone a bit further with the arrangement of the various instruments to really take this project to the next level. I can safely say that with 'Alas, Tyranny', Matt Parsons has achieved and exceeded that level. This demo is an improvement in nearly every way over the previous, and is filled with memorable songs and even bigger promise for the future of this artistic endeavor.

The Matt Parsons Band's sound has become more defined, and can be described fairly accurately as a combination of Abigail Williams (minus the -core), Amon Amarth, and newer Keep Of Kalessin. The production quality has somehow gotten even fuller and clearer, making the already professional 'A Moment Of Clarity' sound like 'Transilvanian Hunger' in comparison, and Parsons' playing has gotten yet another step better (though it was hardly slouching before). But really, the main improvement in the songwriting and delivery: the riffs are snappier, the vocals more vicious, and the insidiously catchy nature of the songs stay with you for long after the demo's run its course. Parsons has managed to combine the symphonic elements present in his style with the melodic black/death he specializes in to great effect, and this feature has been even more improved: a burst of violins and sweeping orchestral arrangement will always burst in at just the right time to give a rush of epic intensity to already driving and powerful songs.

Standout moments: the beginning of 'Defiance' is great, with a thrashy opening riff passing into a Gothenburg inspired passage that manages not to suck! 'The Dragons' concludes with an acoustic passage right off of Keep Of Kalessin's 'Armada', soaked with Mediterranean melody and perfect tonal reproduction. But really, they all just bow down at the altar of 'Prometheus', a totally sweeping and majestic piece of symphonic black/death metal that would sound right at home on Abigail's 'Legend' EP, with heavy and melodic riffing merging with organically implemented symphonic elements and just as naturally composed vocal lines and drum programming. The end result is absolutely stunning and the best example of natural songwriting this side of Zargof; the whole demo is massive and I'm amazed this artist isn't signed already.

I guess that if there's any accusation you could level at this music, it's that it's pretty mainstream and accessible music, but honestly, with composition this fantastic and memorable throughout, I can't even think of that as a problem. Of course this is the sort of thing you'd hear on Nuclear Blast, but in many cases that isn't a bad thing, and in the case of Matt Parsons, it's very good. Keep an eye out for this band when he's opening for Symphony X in three years and remember that I told you it'd happen first!" ~ Noktorn