Honey for Christ - The Darkest Pinnacle Of Light
Rundown Records
Death/Gothic Metal
5 songs (26:28)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Kayla

Sometimes you run across a band that proves difficult to pigeonhole into one particular genre. This can be a great benefit to a band trying to make a name for themselves – having a unique sound can draw attention. However, embracing a unique sound carries a certain measure of risk; parts of your sound may not gel properly, especially if you’re fusing elements of different genres, and more experimental parts may fail entirely. When this happens, your unique sound becomes a liability. Such is the unfortunate case with Honey for Christ, an Irish band fusing death metal with doom and gothic elements.

The watchword of Honey for Christ’s new offering, The Darkest Pinnacle of Light, is mutability. While the sound is a mix of death, doom and gothic throughout, the ratio continually changes. The beginning is almost pure death metal. The opening track, Satan & Swastika, begins with a fast, heavy, sharp-edged riff that crashes into a mid-tempo death metal tune heavy on the melody. However, that’s the most death metal we get on the entire album; every track after that has a much higher doom/gothic content; The Final Transition slows down to a plaintive, syrupy slide. In addition, there’s quite a bit of experimentation with tempo changes, although that proves to be one of the weakest points of the album. For example, much of the title track features a tempo change every other measure; the effect is one of a purposeful accident – like someone rushed or dragged in practice one day and everyone else just decided to make it part of the song. It sounds awkward and interrupts the flow more than anything else.

All this playing around with different tempos and genres is not meant to make Honey for Christ’s music technically inaccessible, however. The heavy dose of melody and clean vocals ensure that few listeners will be automatically driven away by any particular aspect of the music. The only inherently off-putting quality of The Darkest Pinnacle of Light is the production. Raw and a little unbalanced, the snare drum tends to overpower everything else, and the vocals have a hollow, tinny quality to them.

Speaking of which, the biggest beef I have with this album is the vocalist. The raw production does him no favors; Andy Clarke’s voice is unfortunately better suited to emocore than any death hybrid. His vocals on Satan & Swastika are jarring – he doesn’t have the power or depth of tone to match the heaviness of the music. His vocals work much better on the gothier tracks, however, like The Final Transition. While a genre mongrel like Honey for Christ doesn’t necessarily need a death growler, it does need someone with a deeper, more powerful set of pipes than Clarke.

The Darkest Pinnacle Of Light shows creativity and experimentation; Honey for Christ certainly don’t lack for ideas or the willingness to take risks. Unfortunately, it can be hard to recognize failed experiments in one’s own artistic endeavors, and Honey for Christ have incorporated too many of those into their final product. These guys have some potential, but it might take a few more returns to the drawing board for them to fully realize it.

Killing Songs :
The Final Transition
Kayla quoted 52 / 100
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