Wim S. : Three years after the release of the previous album 'Redemption Waves' Belgian outfit 23 Acez finally releases the successor, 'Embracing The Madness'. In the bio we read a bullshit story about the writing and recording process in 2015 and 2016 and that the band had to look for a real metal producer because the course of the music would have changed drastically. Well, yes. Right. Interesting. Not. The band eventually start working with producer Simone Mularoni (I do not know the good man) but it has to be said; the album sounds very good.
The music has indeed changed, I have to admit. This album is much heavier than its predecessor. Back then it was already obvious that Tom Tas and Benny Willaert know how to handle a guitar; on this new CD especially Tas shows that he is more than a gifted guitarist. He plays heavy riffs, flashy solos and he especially impresses through subtle tricks and licks between all the musical violence. The band has certainly retained its sense of melody, because despite the fact that the guitars are merciless at times, the music always sounds melodious. That is also because Benny Willaert always keeps singing, without screaming, going over the top or whatever. No, that is all very well cared for and refined and that the band was capable of that, of course we already knew. What I actually miss are real outliers; there is not a bad song on the album but I also do not find tracks that stand out above the rest. But since the average level is quite high, I do not have to worry about that too much, now do I. Well done boys.