Bilocate - Summoning the Bygones
Label: Code666 Records
Reviewer: Mujtaba M Badr - 2012-08-09
Highlights: Hypia, A Desire To Leave
When I first got Bilocate's new album, “Summoning the Bygones” sometime around two weeks ago, I thought writing the review would be an easy task since they dominate the Middle Eastern scene and achieved international acclaim after the release of their second album, “Sudden Death Syndrome”. For those who already enjoyed Bilocate's sound and genre (and even those who didn't), had to appreciate the amazing work that Bilocate put into this album. After a couple of spins of the new album, I started to realize that, 'no', it ain't gonna be an easy task at all:
It's one of the best releases I've listened to already.
“Summoning the Bygones”, as its title may indicate, is re-recorded, remastered material from the band's debut album, “Dysphoria”. An album that, at its time of release in 2005, was considered a huge step for Metal in Jordan and the Middle East. Though, a few years after that, “Dysphoria” became a auditory burden for Bilocate fans simply for the reason that it was near impossible to go back after listening to their masterpiece, “Sudden Death Syndrome”. Considering this, I was very pleased when I heard that they are re-recording “Dysphoria” as such great music deserves to be delivered in the proper way, also, adding some new flavors into the mix wouldn't hurt too. Now, I will try to show off these new additions and what makes this release standout when compared to the original.
Starting with, “The Tragedy Within” is the best thing the band did in my opinion, when comparing the track to the others, this one has the greatest intro. Personally, I always go back to this track just to listen to its intro and skip the rest if I haven't the time.
The second song, “Beyond Inner Sleep”, is the new song in this album and it is a great continuation of the path Bilocate took with their second album, “Sudden Death Syndrome”. The track presents a great mix of Doom and Death Metal and showed Ramzi utilizing his clean vocal capabilities here perfectly.
Followed by the shortened, “A Deadly Path”, then by the atmospheric track, “Passage”. Here, I should bring up the creativity of Wassem Essayed, his work is one of the boldest highlights in this album, his keyboard skills and the atmosphere that he creates with them is what gives the album its new soul and identity compared to the original. This is clearly heard in tracks like: “Passage”, “Dead Emotion” (a cover that had been given an unique touch mainly due to the strong work of Wassem).
“Hypia” is the re-recorded version of, “Days of Joys”. It is more of a new track than a re-recording as the song went through an overhaul in reconstruction: new lyrics, new musical passages, and, the most important element that made it this album's most impressive song was Dan Swano's incredible vocals featured in it. His vocals are just what the album needed to make Biloacte's atmosphere not just perfect and awesome, but heavenly. Dan Swano just blends in with Bilocate's music so purely that it made it seem like Dan is an original member of the band. At the end of the song, there was a surprising treat of both Dan and Ramzi growling a double vocal line – it just made the song a historical moment for the Middle Eastern metal scene.
The album's last two tracks, “2nd War in Heaven” and, “A Desire to Leave” were also the last 30 minutes too! Yeah, you read the number right, one of the things that make Bilocate a big name, is their ability to make long tracks that feel short as they transport the listener to another world where time goes in different pace. “2nd War in Heaven” is already a favorite of Bilocate fans and probably doesn't need me explaining how awesome it is. “A Desire to Leave” is the near 20 minute epic song, it features Dan Swano and is the best farewell the listener can get as they're just about to leave the universe that is, “Summoning the Bygones”.
As I mentioned earlier, the album's production is what makes this release an important landmark in Bilocate's history. Its crystal clear sound and Jens Bogren geniuse in mastering and mixing makes this release Bilocate's second album and “Dysphoria”, a demo release.
The artwork is another milestone that shows the excellence behind Bilocate's work and choices. The amazing coverart reflects the album's title and the band's situation with this release. It's something that you will love to look at for hours while you are listening to the album, and even while you are not.
Now, after enjoying this great piece of music, it's the perfect time to expect new material from Bilocate. As much as I believe that this album was necessary to give “Dysphoria” its proper fix, I also believe it was necessary to bring the band back to together into the studio and closer to the fans. After four years of no new material, I hope that this album marks the last time we must wait through wide time gaps for Bilocate material. Luckily, I heard that this will happen as there are plans for a new album to be released the next year or the one after – this is all based on my sources in the Bilocate camp! Hopefully, that will be accompanied by more touring/gigs, especially since they signed a management and booking deal with the respectable, The Flaming Arts Agency (associated with acts such as, Behemoth and Novembers Doom).
The bottom line in this review is that, this album is going to end in the top five, or three, if not the number one spot in the end of the year Top Releases Lists. I'd recommend grabbing yourself a copy because, even if you have, “Dysphoria”, “Summoning the Bygones” is a whole different experience.