TAO of the Faroes
Sounds like a movie title doesn’t it? Who knew there was even a metal scene on this little island situated between Iceland and Great Britain. But if The Apocryphal Order (TAO) is any indicator, they know their metal. In fact, I believe our folk metal heroes Týr hail from said island.
TAO is a fairly new band, hailing from Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands. The band didn’t play their first show until July of 2010. The quartet is fronted by vocalist Torkil J. Thomsen, along with guitarist Ken Johannesen (Heljareyga), bassist Jóhan Bjartur Kjærbo, and drummer Martin Rói Vilhelmsen.
Last winter the band went into Kohlekeller studio in Darmstadt, Germany to record their debut four song, self-titled EP. Which displays a caustic and blistering mix of progressive thrash and death metal elements.
For me, metal of any sort lives or dies by the guitar riff, and TAO has biting and memorable licks both progressive and technical. If a song makes me want to pick up my guitar and jam, then the band has my attention. From the opening riffs of “Deteriorate To Gain” my fingers began to twitch. Always a good sign. There’s plenty of melody here without sacrificing the brute heaviness of the song.
The technical precision continues on “Beyond The Depraved Scope Of Salvation” which is pushed along by some serious driving rhythmic work from Kjærbo and Vilhelmson. This is a darkly disturbing beast of a song.
“Through My Eyes” is one of those pounders that feels like a show opener, with its drum and riff intro. It cries, get ready for the onslaught.
Perhaps my favorite track among the few here is the thrashy speedster, “Blood Shall Be Raining”. Johannesen is on fire here, tearing up the fretboard.
Throughout the near half-hour EP, I remain impressed with both the guitar playing and the triturating drum work. These two elements create the bulk of TAO’s sound, which takes me back to the birth of thrash and death metal in the Bay Area in the early 80’s. I definitely hear some Legacy/Testament influence in there along with some Chuck Schuldiner and Death. The bass work is well done too, but it’s not as prominent as the fret pyrotechnics or crushing skin work, and it doesn’t need to be. It works. Laid over it all is Thomsen’s coarse growling.
If this is what the band can do in less than a year, the mind explodes with the possibility of what a full album might do.
You can listen to all four tracks on their Facebook or MySpace pages, but to give you a taste here’s the EP opener “Deteriorate To Gain”: