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Tony Tears : Follow The Signs Of The Times

Very much the simple, heavy but mystically melodic Doom metal one might expect from Tony Tears' album cover.

Take a look at the cover image for Tony Tears' album 'Follow the Signs of the Times', featuring the trio reflected and mask-clad in a mirror, including Tony (as identified in the booklet) wearing a large bejeweled cross, plus the look of the band logo and typeface of the album title. Adding all that up, one might first, and correctly, guess that this is a band from Italy, in style the of classic Paul Chain. 'Follow the Signs of the Times' is an album that hides nothing about itself, delivering exactly the occult-flavored, simple, heavy but mystically melodic Doom metal suggested by its visual presentation. Its mission is singular, and what you see is what you hear. The advantage is that if you are already a fan of what your instincts tell you this album sounds like, you will be gratified. The disadvantage is that it's all too easy to judge Tony Tears against the considerable standard they impose on themselves by unapologetically living in such an inescapable shadow.

So, let's see what we have here. 'Follow the Signs of the Times' is a relatively concise 43-minute album across ten tracks, about half of which are interludes comprised of layered sound effects (occasionally sounding like a bunch of cell phone ringtones going off at once). The rest of the time, Tony Tears are rocking with pretty respectable gusto, drawing influence from the aforementioned Paul Chain's straightforward rock phase (including use of a Paul Chain composition, 'Armageddon'), some King Diamond, and a dash of Pentagram. Production is live-room, sacrificing clarity but boosting the smoky and monastic atmosphere. Unfortunately, the lead guitar tone is laughably bad, sounding like a saturated Boss Metal Zone pedal. That's relatively inoffensive when heard in a full-band context, but when it pops up without rhythm section support, I wince. Drums, however, are quite well done, a towering presence that doesn't drown out the rest of the sound.

Very much a vocals-led trio, the song construction is pretty simple, with singer David Krieg usually matching the pattern of the power-chord guitars (played by band namesake Tony), sometimes with a precarious hold on pitch. Each song contains maybe three or four parts; verse, refrain, an interlude and sometimes a solo break. There's not much harmonic activity here; this is pretty straightforward heavy rock made of riffs that are a good tier below Iommi quality, but get the job done. Innovation and experimentation are clearly not on Tony Tears' agenda; there's not enough ambition showing for this album to be more than a competent imitator. But the path they tread is one that hasn't been overexplored, so it doesn't sound exactly stale or tired. 'Follow the Signs of the Times' seems ultimately to be a love letter to the classic sound of early Psychedelic Doom, and it does successfully channel that atmosphere. If that's what you go in for, Tony Tears are worth your time.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Intro (Sighs Of Times' Fear)
2. Mark Of Evil
3. The Road To Research
4. Demoniac Puppets
5. Blind Love For A Medium
6. Deep Misanthropy
7. Queen Of Darkness
8. Covenant Of The Lords Of The End
9. Armageddon (Paul Chain cover)
10. Outro (The Awakening Of The Soul)

Duration : Approx. 45 minutes

Visit the Tony Tears bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-07-13 by Mark Rzeszutek
Aesthetic Death
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