Happy Days – Alone And Cold

‘Alone And Cold’ is a lot like a newly born foal: it’s rather gooey and has difficulty walking, but it’s oddly endearing at the same time. This demo is composed of three lengthy tracks of traditional suicidal black metal that, despite its technical shortcomings, does manage to convey its atmosphere fairly effectively. The music here is in a very raw and unformed state, but it most certainly has all the core attributes to become something great in the future. It’s not for those who are seeking something professional, though, as the material here is most certainly not that.

The opening title track encapsulates the band’s style fairly neatly: mid-paced suicidal black metal with simple drumming, primitive and depressive riffing, and tortured vocals on the part of Morbid. Like most suicidal black metal, the focus of the music is pretty exclusively on the interplay between guitar and vocals, with the drumming operating merely as a steady pulse to keep things moving. An interesting note: not a single blast beat occurs on this release, unlike the artists such as Nyktalgia who delight in such a technique. The riffing throughout is pretty samey, with only a couple per song, but they’re traditional and effectively written, and the lack of variance helps consolidate the atmosphere nicely. Vocals range from traditional rasping growls to spoken word and shouts, with the only misstep being the attempt at Silencer-style wails which, due to a low quality microphone, end up sounding more comical than truly tormented. The rest, however, are solid.

Technical skill is low: drums are somewhat clumsily played, with audible mistakes occurring on a semi-regular basis, though this will not be an issue on future releases, with Cid from AOC having been recruited to provide percussion. Production is similarly raw, with a high emphasis on the vocals over the instruments; a more measured, even production would help the music greatly. But with all suicidal black metal, everything that is not songwriting and atmosphere is rather tertiary, and within that scope, Happy Days succeeds admirably at conjuring the rainy, melancholy atmospheres of artists such as Sterbend. While the flaws present in this release do harm it a bit, it’s overall not a bad demo and hints at greater things to come.

So, overall: flawed but memorable. Happy Days obviously doesn’t hit all the right notes, but their intentions are undoubtedly sincere. The band is likely to only improve once some of the technical kinks have been worked out, so keep an eye out for these guys in the future.

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~ by noktorn on August 15, 2007.

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