One of the coolest things about writing about music is you get to discover bands that you may never have heard of otherwise, in All Hail The Yeti’s case that would have been a tragedy!
I recently had a Skype chat with Richie Cavalera regarding his band Incite’s new album Oppression (also reviewed by me) and we talked about the innovative filming technique used on the music video for “Life’s Disease”. He also spoke about the guest vocalist on that track, Connor Garrity and his band All Hail The Yeti. After the interview curiosity got the better of me and I began trawling the universe of YouTube for footage of AHTY (Live footage only as live music is such an integral part of Pit Troll) A few videos later and I’m already a fan, eager for the guys to get their asses over to the UK so they can play what I will help to ensure is a rager of a show!
When the opportunity arose to review their new album Screams From a Black Wilderness I grabbed it with both dinner plate sized hands and my appetite for aggressive, adrenaline pumping metal was well and truly satisfied let me tell you.
The cover of the album for me immediately evoked memories of horror classics (opinions vary here) such as The Ring, Blair Witch Project and The Grudge. It perfectly co-relates to the album title. A dark, desolate place. A malevolent force contained within.
In the opening seconds of “Before The Flames“ we hear the quaint sounds of children playing, but just like when you’re watching some of the movies above, deep down you know something’s away to shatter this tranquility. Thirty seconds in and the sinister “Evil is in the air” music starts to chime then emerging like a demon in the night is the bass of Nicholas Diltz, a demon that quickly multiplies in the form of Ryan Kittlitz on guitar and Alan Stokes on drums. Connor is the last demon to make an entrance with screams of “What is this place! Why’d you let me fall from grace!” AHTY certainly succeed in grabbing your attention from the offset in the first track. There’s a genuinely disturbing voice over towards the end of a little girl, who I interpreted to be in an orphanage or school phoning home to her parents begging to be picked up. We’re not given much time to feel any empathy towards the girl as chillingly her words become “It smells like the gas station. There’s fire!” Despite the incredibly sinister lyrical content the opening track I can foresee being an ideal opener to any of the bands future performance as the chorus not only showcases Connor’s awesome clean vocals but would give the audience the chance to warm up their vocal cords.
If the first track is the one for the getting the audience warmed up, then “Plague Dance“ is the one for getting the mosh pit kicked off! The fast music and Connors vocal depiction of the man with the horse and cart collecting the dead are killer! Horse and cart hopefully won’t be required when I eventually get the chance to participate in an AHTY pit, but with my presence at a gig you can never tell what’s going to happen! Again, quality clean vocals from Connor and a nice breakdown in the middle too.
What I love about “Let The Night Roar“ is not only does it make you want to actually roar but the riffage makes you want to bang you headbang so hard that that your forehead touches your toes. This is followed up by my favourite track on the album “Mr. Murder”, my Favourite for 2 reasons – 1. It kicks f**king ass! 2. It features guest vocals from Brock Lindow of 36 Crazyfists, one of my favourite bands. Keeping this violent crescendo going is “Lady Of The Night“. Fast, heavy and offering plenty of opportunities for Connor to extend his mic into the crowd and hear the crowd chant the lyrics back to him.
Sounding like the most evil nursery rhyme ever composed is “Witch Is Dead“. Part of me would love to trial this track in primary schools up and down the country but that will no doubt result in lots of angry letters to schools because of the new words the little cherubs had learned. Should the authorities discover who was responsible the result would be Pit Troll being trialled by water, if I survive that I’ll be burned at the stake, 14th century Scottish justice, you just couldn’t beat it!
Not shying away from the edge of controversy is “Daughter Of The Morning Star“. It seems to depict the story of a woman in 1493 (Presumably a witch or accused witch) Who’s taken from her home and put into a dark place which I took to be a form of dungeon or gaol. Musically this track has Ryan Kittlitz really shining through with the guitar work. The controversial part I hinted to comes towards the end when the music simmers down and a message of “Burn the Christians. One by one” begins to angrily mutter through before exploding into the climax where Connor is very much in charge.
I’ve written a few album reviews now and for anyone who hasn’t read any of my previous ones, rather than talking about all the very technical aspects of the music I tend to place more emphasis on putting the music I hear on the album in a live setting and how it would be received by the crowd and in a slightly egotistical way, how it would go down with me as the Pit Troll. When I listened to “Sun Will Never Set“, “Fall Of Core“ and “Breaking The Wheel” all 3 gave me the same reaction. They all have hurricane force moments of aggression where I think “I would go nuts to this” but they’re not consistent through out the songs. This is in no way a criticism but big parts of these songs are clean vocals and at times I felt I was possibly listening to a Stone Sour album.
Even though “Nemesis Queen“ is another track that you might not go bonkers to (Glasgow crowd would hopefully prove me wrong here) it stands out to me mainly because of Ryans guitar shredding, he gets a couple of very brief but very pleasing to the ears solos towards to the end of the track.
“Angels Envy“ is the final musical track on the album (*Spoiler Alert* is a seven minute recording of what sounds like a small stream in a forest followed by one of the band members telling a short story *Spoiler Alert*) It has a very slow, very eerie opening and with Connors moody vocals it begins to lean towards Puddle Of Mudd material (I have an incline the AHTY guys might want to kill me for saying that) This had me a little worried that an album that had managed to get my blood pumping all the way through was going to finish on a low point. Thankfully it’s ramped up and again, while you might not pit to it, you’ll almost certainly bang your head and pump your fist until the cue of running water and the sounds of nature let you know that it’s either time to chill out or push the reset button and listen to it all over again.
I’m really glad that I found out about All Hail The Yeti from Mr. Cavalera and I’ll be even happier when they hopefully play the UK at some point. In the meantime, I’m gonna give the album 7/10
Header photo by Kristin Vahl.