Review by Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
Book of Job: Hamartia (album)
Even before this debut album by Harrogate metal band Book of Job had been released, their Italian record label Wormholedeath was telling everyone they could find that it was a “masterpiece.”
It’s certainly an amazing piece of work, so much happens in under 40 minutes it’s obscene - and this comes from someone who isn’t a metal or thrash expert.
It should be said I have seen, and enjoyed, the likes of Napalm Death, Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer live, but I prefer melody to power.
The ideal, of course, is a blend of both – and that’s what this ambitious young band are aiming for.
A concept album with a proggish album sleeve by designer friend James Rhys and a proper, deeply philosophical story from start to finish, Hamartia sees Book of Job bidding to redraw the metal template in 10 genre-melting tracks.
To the expected stop-start onslaught of monster riffs, juddering basslines and howling, growling vocals, messrs Kaya Tarsus (lead vocals) Luke Nelson (drums), Mike Liburd (guitar) and Chris Norris (bass) throw in all sorts of twists.
But there’s no sense of any lack of direction. Despite their wide range of influences, Book of Job are always focused on the final destination - like Mars Volta with a time limit.
Then, talking to BoJ last December, they admitted they’d been studying Beatles’ songs for ideas on song construction. Without ever sounding anything less than dangerously loud, the minor influence of the Fab Four is there to see in BoJ’s use of clear hooklines and warm harmonies.
This is particularly so on what I think are Hamartia’s best two numbers – track four Pursuing the Chaos and track ten, Anagnorisis.
Both display these youngsters’ dazzling instrumental abilties and command of melody, structure and power to, alternately, subtle and fearsome effect.
And if that was it, Book of Job’s debut album would still be pretty good but there’s more. From the first time I saw them on stage in the inaugural final of Harrogate’s AMP Awards competition in 2009 they’ve always felt like a real band - and they still do, despite the odd line-up change since then.
There’s intellect and soul at work on this impressive album, a passion for musical greatness and a rejection of the idea that things have to be done the way they’ve been done before.
Book of Job make music like their lives depend on it.