Mad Parish - Procession

Self-Released 2014

Right from the very first notes of the opening song "Darkness Befalls This Cursed Land", you know you're in for a trip down metal lane. The classic fade in sets you up for the righteous metal saga that Procession so eloquently weaves from beginning to end.

I really dig the way that no riff sounds rushed. The spacing accomplished in these arrangements are brilliantly suited for Josh McConnell's classically-highish metal vocals. I quite like when and where you can find the vocals in the midst of all of these tasty hooks.

The second song "Doppelganger" seems well placed in the order of the songs on this burner of an album. Totally makes you start humming/singing along by the time the second chorus comes around. That's a golden moment my friends, and you should embrace that shit like it's never coming back.

The progression of notes sung during the chorus in this song (as well as in "To Build a Fire") specifically reminds me of the sick anthemic quality of a more guitar heavy Journey song like "Separate Ways", only minus the wet keyboards and well, metal as fuck. Yes, I said Journey. Make no mistake, the compositions of these hard rock pop icons of the '70s - early '80s were a force. Neil Schon (lead guit) came out of Santana and let me tell you, cutting your teeth with a band like that, as well as Ross Valory (bass) and George Tickner (rhythm guit) from Frumious Bandersnatch, and you have gold baby. It won't happen any other way. Great tunes are an inevitability for that kind of song writing and like the aforementioned, you just can't deny the sing-a-long-ability of so many tunes on Procession. Kudos to Mad Parish, they've got a collective ear and a knack for this.

"A Stitch in Crime" is a great, cheeky tune. Heed the chorus my friends... "You'll get yours too!" is as foreboding as it gets. Reminds me of an old Omen tune from their Battle Cry album, was it "Torture Me"? So long ago...

Love the classic metal double picking, it certainly hastens the pace, and the solid chugging bass of Max Canuel goes a long way, as does the epic hammering of Bobby Girard's drumming, a rhythm section that gets ya right in the feels.

These songs are not short little three-minute efforts either, they are downright beefy, but the meat just falls off the bone and before you know it, the song is over, making some of the six-minute songs seem like the shortest, sweetest six minutes you lived out that day.

Their song "Mad Parish" is a juicy number, with frenetic picking and wicked harmonies. Lest we not forget, Mad Parish has no less than three guitar players. Totally opens the door for the delicious layering that we're treated to.

You can appreciate these dynamics in the title track "Procession" in spades boy howdy. It starts off with a very classically Germanesque intro lick à la early Accept or Scorpions. The guitar solos in this song are great. Neuromancer, Matt Harbour, and Bob Eaglesham are trading solos like they've been doing so in their sleep since the womb. They're that tasty.

Mad Parish chose the last three songs very tactfully with the almost spacey/stoner rocky "Red Baron", followed by the über rocker "The Right of Belonging"—another song that makes you howl out the chorus without even realising you're singing it like a champ in your car, stopped at a red light, amusing the person in the car stopped next to you, and you just... don't... care because that's how you roll. Well, at least that was my experience a few hours after Max dropped off the album for me. Just let it happen, just let it in.

Finishing off this bad ass piece of wax is a little number called "Dawn of the Unforgiven", a total head banging, horns up, balls out, stomp-a-long. A tune that leaves a lot of space for the heavy to sink in, like a tattoo that you've been craving from sun up to sun down for the last few years.

This album is a testament to classic metal arrangements and technique. It is a beacon of positive light in today's quagmire of uninformed, talentless pop noise that passes/poses for metal. Procession proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that tone and technique trumps triggers and 'tude, every time. Made me revisit my '80s metal albums like Judas Priest, Omen, Saxon, Nasty Savage, Metal Church, Accept... you get the picture.

Whether you are getting a Saxon or Maiden vibe, it makes no difference. One could go on and on with broad, simpler comparisons. What counts in the end is that you will dig the Mad Parish, no matter what awesome old school vibe these songs may evoke, they are 100% metal.

Rating: 9/10


--The K-Man hosts Beyond That Graveyard! III, every Friday night from 9 PM to midnight. Love it. Accept it.