Profugus Mortis seems to have evoked mixed opinions in the metal community, but I’m on board as a believer in this powerful group from Montreal. Lazy opinions frequently compare Blackguard to Children of Bodom, but apart from insanely fast songs and a keyboardist in the band I don’t hear any resemblance. Others refer to Blackguard as folk metal – maybe they’ve only seen the band’s promotional pictures where they hold mugs and horns because this certainly sounds nothing like folk metal bands. Six of the nine songs on Profugus Mortis were previously released on 2008’s Another Round EP as Profugus Mortis. An apt description of Blackguard would be a speed metal band that incorporates keyboards with heavy, screaming vocals. If a single word had to be used to describe the album it would be intense. Every song is fast, heavy, and grabs you by the throat. The opening two tracks lead into the three best songs on the album, “Allegiance”, “I Demon”, and “The Sword”. The remainder of the album drops off a bit, but interesting arrangements and plenty of solos keep one’s attention throughout. It is fair to criticize Profugus Mortis for being a bit one-dimensional, but it could also be said that the band sticks with a clear consistent style. The biggest weakness of the album is the poor engineering sound. Vocals are too far back in the mix, and the guitars and keyboards tend to be too prominent. Nevertheless, I’m excited about the prospects and potential for Blackguard, and believe that a better-sounding sophomore album will go a long way towards establishing the band with a bright future. Blackguard continues to tour relentlessly, and live on stage is where the band demonstrates their full potential. Profugus Mortis isn’t a perfect album, but Blackguard undoubtedly is poised for great things.
Click here to view video, pictures, and a review from Blackguard’s show on February 6 with Epica, Threat Signal, Gracepoint, and Echoterra at Station 4 in St. Paul.
Blackguard will be appearing as support to Hypocrisy at Station 4 in St. Paul on Sunday, May 23. Additional support will come from Scar Symmetry, Hate, and Swashbuckle.
Blackguard returns on Saturday, September 25 to First Avenue in Minneapolis as support to Kamelot with Leaves’ Eyes.