"Desperate Souls of Tortured Times"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Releases like this are a real challenge to review. They fall into the great foggy domain of not quite bad but not real good. God knows Age of Taurus has a lot of company there...they are yet another band playing heavily doom-influenced classic metal in British tradition. Far too much of this stuff is now out there for consumption, which deadens the subgenre as a whole.

But this is not a bad album nor is Age of Taurus a bad band. It's just been done too many times before. They play something like a cross between Orange Goblin and a milder Electric Wizard. The pace tends to plodding doom, but like many a NWOBHM band and Orange Goblin itself, they can speed up to a very hard-driving pace. The riffs are very familiar but they are potent. Nothing wrong with the band's playing abilities, but I wish they were put in the service of something a bit more unique. The clean vocals of Toby Wright remind me much of the celebrated Brian Ross of Satan/Blitzkrieg fame, but not quite on that level. I am grateful that there's none of the hate-filled screaming type vocal here, as that has been pounded into the ground even more.

The band does end the album with the best material by far, which is a switch from the usual "front-loaded" album. "Embrace The Stone" is a long, powerful track with a number of tempos...a good epic with a very strong vocal performance. Album closer "The Bull and The Bear" is where the NWOBHM comparisons really come ou...great riffing on this one. I think if all the tracks were of the same stripe as these two, this would have been a more memorable album. As it is, I think you can enjoy "Desperate Souls of Tortured Times" while listening to it...and then forget it immediately thereafter.