For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Portrait, Beyond Grace and Doctor Smoke

What’s up, guys? It’s your old boy Waldo here to peck in about some new releases, and you know, sometimes I review stuff that people are actually interested in. This one may sound a little rough as there’s not much to be excited about. Wanted the new Iron Maiden, but…

Man, there’s nothing more ominous than naming your band Portrait—that’s dark. Anyway, these Swedes are releasing At One with None on Metal Blade in early September. In this, power metal/thrash is alive and well—and, uh, kinda boring. There’s nothing shocking here, thrashy riffs with some operatic vocals and soaring solos. Apparently, this is what these guys are known for, and although I’m not crazy about this, they do it well. There’s got to be some “occult” sort of vibe here, but it doesn’t come across as “evil” or “dark.” The production—delivered by Helloween and Hatesphere knob-turner Tommy Hansen—is pretty solid but really par for the course. I dunno, this isn’t beaking terrible, but if there’s ONE thing that I learned here from watching the video… is never take pink lemonade from a stranger in the woods. Fans of this band and this genre will not be disappointed, but the whole thing just kinda comes across as not exciting at all. 5 Fucking Pecks.

In another similar logo (not sound) as above, U.K.’s Beyond Grace drops their first full length for Prosthetic, titled Our Kingdom Undone. Falling right in line with a lot of the Prosthetic releases, this is kinda spazzy style, tech-influenced death metal. There are some crazy time changes and breakdowns here, but what really sticks out to this avian, is the tapping parts. Definitely a little different than the norm. This is cool but could certainly use some better production. The whole thing just comes across with no beak, and if it had a little more presence, it’d be cool. This is a solid effort from a new band, and a lack of experience shows through (production wise) but in general, a solid release. 6 Fucking Pecks.

Doctor Smoke is a stoner sorta band (if you couldn’t guess) and are unleashing Dreamers and Death. It really seems like the underlying vibe on this blog is “this would be better if not for the production…” and that rings true here. Not a bad record, Doctor Smoke mixes stoner type riffs with arpeggiated solos and vocals more reminiscent of Ghost. Some of these riffs kick some feathered ass, but in general, the polished tones on this really take the ass out of it. This is decent, but certainly no Witching Hour (their last and best), and clearly aiming for the Ghost market. 5 Fucking Pecks.

Hopefully I’m a less cranky parrot next time… Waldo out!