[Melodic Death Metal] The Ottoman Empire – Way of the Blade (10th anniversary)

2016 is entering its last segment and before it ends I want to be sure that I give a thumbs up to any albums of my collection that marks a anniversary year. Among of them is a precious jewel that is not well known, from a band named The Ottoman Empire (aka Luna Mortis) with a certain Mary Zimmer. If there is a female metal front singer that masters both the growls and the clean in the US metal scene, it is surely Mary.
What this album has a special place? Well for different reasons. First, it is a melodic death metal band and I like the complexity of guitar riffs coupled with the brutality of fast drums and bass shredding. The second reason is probably the geography shared between me and the band. The band is originated from Madison, Wisconsin. Two bands as I know are Badgers at heart: Garbage (alternative rock that got some success in the mid-1990s) and The Ottoman Empire. I lived few years in Madison as part of my scientific training and Madison still kept a special place in my heart for different reasons. If you survive its winter, then you truly enjoy the city.
So this is their seminal album “Way of The Blade” released on October 7, 2006. It is made of 10 songs lasting about 50 minutes. Most songs last a good 4 to 6 minutes, with “The Mercenary” lasting a 12 minute.
The album starts with “Anemic World” that quickly set the tone. An amazing opening guitar riff sequence, followed by fast-pace drumbeats and the entrance of Mary bringing her magic touch, alternating between growls and clean. All well played that gives on this frenzy and yet very elaborated rhythmic. My favorite.
It is followed by “Demon Twin”, keeping on the signature and by “The Ottoman Empire”. I like the “Ottoman Empire” by its slower and bit more languish pace allowing to enjoy the musical arrangement and the lyrics. This kind of quiet interlude is only distracting from the next track “Wrathshot” that brings on back the fast pace and Mary all in her rage and fury (that will be her signature with “The White Empress”). Washing away is “One If by Sea” that is almost melodic and melancholic ballad, only to shake you up with rage and furor by intermittent. “Strike” is another typical song of the album marking the Ottoman Empire musical style through this album and their two other album.
“The Mercenary” is my second favorite, Mary bringing her melancholic voice and the great guitar arrangement, to only break it down brutally. Another great song. “Vendetta”, the 8th track, brings on the rage and the furor back from “Anemic World” and “Wrathshot”. The album almost conclude by an “Interlude”, a guitar solo.If you like the sound of an electrical guitar simple tones, it is a great way to exit from the tumult of the album. Finally, the last track “Way of The Blade” concludes the album, surfing on the same musical frame than “Strike”.
It is interesting to retrospectively rediscover this album, as I got introduced to Mary with “The White Empress” almost two years ago. You can appreciate that her talent was already present from the very first album and only refined, crafted and mastered it. If you like Mary vocal performance from her recent work in Santa Marta, you should definitely get your hands on this album. A must-have.

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