Penumbra – Tension Rising (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Rock music, perhaps more than any other genre, has kept the idea of labels, demarkations and sub-genres alive even as the rest of the musical world has embraced a more post-genre attitude towards such things. But, as always, where you chose to place any band on the musical map really depends on your own individual ideas of where the boundaries really lie. And Tension Rising is a perfect example of this predicament. Is this metal? And if so what sort? Is it alt-rock or classic? Best just call it rock music and be done with it.

But Penumbra is an album forged out of all of these things and more. Find The Betrayer exhibits some kick-drum pedal work which screams metal, a fact underlined by the phantasmagorical narratives and rising dramatics of the music. No More Goodbyes is a soaring and symphonic anthem and Masquerade runs low-slung, classic rock sonic moves across a more modern, alt-rock background.

Above all Penumbra is an album built from power. The riffs are searing and solid, the bass lines cavernous, the drumbeats tribal and tectonic and the vocals walk the perfect line between diction and diabolism. But it is thebans ability to wander between sub-genres, weave melodicism through the music and in doing so create something which is both familiar and comfortable yet fresh and forward-looking which makes it a worthy, perhaps necessary, addition to the rock canon.

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