“Serenade of Fall”, the minute and a half long introduction, begins with an electro sound akin to The Crystal Method before switching to acoustic and electric guitars; which produce a very mellow and moving sound. Some piano can be heard in the background. At 1:10 the playing becomes a little more dramatic before falling to synth and once again reverting to electro. This amalgamation of genres does not give much away to the listener in terms of what they can expect from this EP.
The second track, “Harder Faster” is a completely different pace and feels more what you’d expect from a power metal band. The vocals on this song are pretty standard, and also what you’d expect, when it comes to power metal: grand. At 2:33 there is some synth, i can only think to describe as space age, which adds another dimension to the track.
“Fear and Guilt” follows and begins with some beefy bass (the best kind). This song has a steady pace which, at times, becomes a bit stale. An addition of exciting synth at 2:36 provides a much needed change of pace. Unfortunately, this is short lived and the track reverts to its former pace and sound.
Follwing this is “Heading for the Light” which is a more upbeat number. It features some great drums and bass for introduction and contains some beastly guitar solos. This is my favourite track on Fear and Guilt for the amount of energy it has.
“Lords of Salem” is the finale which sounds a bit like an 80’s movie sound track. The height of the guitar playing on this EP feature on this track. Unfortunately, after the energy of “Heading for the Light”, this track feels like it drags and does not leave me wanting more when it is over.
This EP was not for me. It isn’t bad, by any stretch, but it was not as grand as it felt like it could be at times. When I listen to power metal I was to be taken on a thrilling music journey and Hard Tension did not take me on one. Fear and Guilt just felt too slow for me and left me hoping that each track which followed would change that.
Review by Eileen Bate