There is no substitute for honesty, and Order of the Blackguard have it in heaps. Hell, on The Way of Cross and Dragon, this British crew brings us back to the glory days of (not only black) metal when people actually had riffs, songs, ideas and attitudes, and didn't know they were supposed to follow some set of rules.
Although not perfectly produced, The Way of Cross and Dragon sounds perfect for what it wants to be. It is real, a real band playing real songs... and in this day and age that can (almost or rightfully, we're not sure on that one) be called original.
What you get is a stream of poisonous, screaming, preaching, romanticizing and blaspheming vocals, sometimes broken - but not disturbed - with a perfectly fitting sing-along part. The vocals are guided through by a ton of semi-anthemic, darkened mid-tempo riffs, all of them meaningful, none of them filler. The rhythm section provides a coherent backbone to all the nine songs and never even attempts to go the easy way. In other words, the drums are playing music too. And you can listen to them alone, as well as to any other element going on. Granted, sometimes you will have to listen a bit closer, but it will be worth it.
To some ears it might sound old school, but The Way of Cross and Dragon is actually new and relevant. Above all, it is passionate. And it's one of the better albums we've heard coming from the UK recently. (8/10) Mladen Skot. Maelstrom Iss. 71