The Holy Guile – FSU (2013)

For those of you who have read my short biography on the staff page, you know The Crimson Armada’s Guardians is one of my favorite albums. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when The Holy Guile came to fruition and the Guardians 2.0 EP was released in late 2011. While there were some good tracks on The Crimson Armada’s second offering, Conviction, it lacked the punch of Guardians. The Holy Guile brought the Guardians sound I had been missing back and Guardians 2.0 quickly became one of my favorite EPs (I am the top listener for The Holy Guile on, if that’s any indication of how fond I am of the EP). Now, after The Holy Guile has become a full band with Saud Ahmed at the helm and the disbandment of The Crimson Armada in late 2012, The Holy Guile is preparing to release their first full-length effort, FSU, independently on January 7th.

For those unfamiliar with The Holy Guile, the first four tracks on FSU comprise the Guardians 2.0 EP. I was expecting them to merely be identical to the version found on the EP, but they have been redone with several tweaks and they end up sounding much cleaner as a result. These four tracks, “Fap Fap,” “Uber Douche,” “Cool Story,” and “Kthxbye,” are the closest thing to a reproduction of the Guardians sound. These tracks are also accompanied by some wickedly brilliant lyrics, some of which are anti-Christian. My personal favorite in the lyric department, “Kthxbye,” incorporates the names of many different metalcore and deathcore bands in a very creative way.

The six tracks that follow are almost a completely different beast, but that is, by no means, a bad thing. Part of what made The Crimson Armada’s Guardians such an outstanding release was the technical and melodic aspects. The first four tracks on FSU bear these same elements, but the last six are distinctly different. Most of the last six tracks are much bouncier than the first four and many of them also bear some nu metal elements and rap-inspired verses. Think of The Crimson Armada’s Guardians with a more modern twist and you’ll have an idea of what The Holy Guile’s six newest tracks sound like. These tracks are more technical than quite a few deathcore bands that are still standing, just not as much so as the first four tracks on FSU.

All of the individuals involved in the creation of FSU are undoubtedly very talented and I’m glad to see them making this type of music again. The drumming is superb and the release benefits from having actual drums instead of programmed ones. Saud, however, steals the show with his vocal chops. From shrieking highs, bone-breaking lows, and even some rapped verses, no range of the dynamic is left untouched by the extremely talented vocalist. As I discussed earlier, some of the lyrics on FSU are absolutely brilliant, which compliments Saud’s outstanding performance. This brings me to my next point.

While some of the lyrics are great, others are not so great. “The Celebration,” which was recently released as a lyric video, is particularly guilty of having poor lyrics. The song as a whole is still excellent, but the lyrics are not anywhere near as hate-filled or as clever as “Kthxbye,” for example. While it is a minor detriment that barely hampers the release as a whole, it is still worth noting.

As a huge fan of Guardians, I can’t help but be extremely excited about this release and about The Holy Guile’s future as a band. Instead of replicating the aforementioned sound completely, The Holy Guile adds a few twists and turns and a modern flair to create a sound that is both new and familiar. FSU is an absolutely stellar release and an excellent way to begin the new year.


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By Mike O’Hara ~ Me Gusta Reviews