Flashing back to March 2015, we headed down to Audio in Glasgow to catch The Courtesans live at the venue. One of the acts supporting them was a band by the name of Splintered Halo, whom we had never heard of beforehand but were happy to give a chance.
To put it lightly, they blew us away that night, and since then they have remained one of our favourite metal groups in all of Scotland, if not the whole UK.
Fast forward to November 2016, where following a successful fundraising campaign, they have come out with their debut full-length album titled The Splintered Minds Asylum. Since it was initially announced, this has been one of our most anticipated records of this year, and expectations could not be any higher.
In most circumstances, this would lead to disappointment, but in this case, the final result proved to be something extra special; capturing our imaginations like nothing else.
The record opens up with the instrumental Welcome To The Asylum, the most perfect way possible to kick things off. In creepy, hair-raising fashion, it hooks you in straight off the bat.
Things properly get going with I Bathe In Blood, where we get our first showcase of Evelyn’s multi-range harmonies which are devilishly spectacular, with a hint of underlying psychopathic tendencies for added effect.
Following that is the creative Dark Side Of Oz which does what it says on the tin; taking a charming children’s classic and shining a whole new demented light on it – similarly to what the returning Bloodshed In Wonderland does with the famous Alice tale – plus we enjoy the more menacing take on the film soundtrack.
In fact, there are a lot of songs present here based on popular media, such as The Butcher featuring an immense chorus, the turbulent riff-fest Your Face Is MY Face and Duality Of Personality which is highlighted by some really gripping writing.
But for sure the holy grail of the album has to be Mad Love, where we take a deep look into Harley Quinn’s tragic, obsessive romance with the Joker. The combination of an insanely catchy melody, tremendous lyrics and, above all, an extraordinary vocal performance which has to be the greatest we have seen in 2016, make for an outstanding number which gives us goosebumps all over without fail every time.
The solid Dark Disease serves as a bridge into the Exorcist-inspired final tune, Diabolus, an incredible finale brimming with sinister macabre.
It goes without saying that we listen to hundreds of records a year, but coming across one that makes a lasting impact on us is an event as rare as a blue moon. Splintered Halo have pulled off that feat here.
The Splintered Minds Asylum is a fiercely formidable masterpiece, portrayed as an auditory avant-garde theatre show of cinematic proportions, with each deranged and maniacal track as awesome as the last, sure to leave both metal and horror fans gushing and begging for more. An instant classic that we could not recommend enough.