REALMBUILDER (Fortifications Of The Pale Architect) CD
For those unfamiliar with the work of New York's epic metal duo REALMBUILDER, they don't offer the usual heavy metal fare. These guys have created an individual sound which is best described as an eccentric blend of doom-tinged heavy metal riffs, epic song structures and clean vocals. In doing this, REALMBUILDER do not care about current trends but appear instead as a relict from the times of the NWOBHM. Already the first album 'Summon The Stone Throwers' (review here) conveyed this vintage feeling so well, while still retaining a very individual sound. Although it sounds contradictory, it's a fact. Based on that alone REALMBUILDER is still able to completely polarise - which can't be a bad thing.
The cover artwork alone of 'Fortifications Of The Pale Architect' will doesn't get much sympathy, especially in current times where everything needs to be stylish and hip. As I said, REALMBUILDER give a shit about what's hot today. Craig "Czar" Zahler (drums, vocals) and J.H. Halberd (guitars, bass) dwell in their own world and this is exactly how their second album sounds like. The included 7 songs are epic tales about a long forgotten world and are charged with an ancient vibe. This is primarily related to the fact that the vocals are lavish of pathos, and even though I normally don't like that, I have to admit that REALMBUILDER have gotten over the hump. 'Highwayman' is an uplifting, fast-paced opener with some real nice riffs and a strong hookline.
In contrast to this, 'Old Savage' is much darker and more epic including references to later Bathory, while 'Ascend To The Glass Kingdom' plunges deeply in doom and gloom. With the help of trumpets, majestic vocal lines and swaying wind, REALMBUILDER generate a sacral atmosphere in this song without being embarrassing in the process. One of the strengths of this album is its variety. Some songs are slow and others are faster, whereas the song arrangements are well thought through and bring on one or two surprises as well. In all, 'Fortifications Of The Pale Architect' is an odd and very individual work that needs a certain time until it displays all of its magnificence. So, if you missed the strictly limited vinyl version (which has been released by I Hate Records in 2011) and if you have also a strong affinity for bands such as Cirith Ungol, Pagan Altar, early-1990's Bathory or Manilla Road then you should enter the cranky world of REALMBUILDER. I did not regret.