This two-CD set collects the entire prior output of Massachusetts-based melodic death metal band the Year of Our Lord, which basically consists of one EP (The Frozen Divide), one self-titled album, and four brand-new, previously unreleased recordings. Formed around the core of brothers Nick and Scott Heigelmann, the group played melodic death metal in the Scandinavian style familiar to fans of In Flames, At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, et al., but with a slightly unique and more gothic tinge to their sound manifested through the judicious (and uncredited) use of keyboards. Vocalist Scott Heigelmann had an evocative if somewhat excessively raspy and high-pitched voice, and it matched well with the band's catchy guitar riffs, fleet solos, and hammering drumbeats. There are lots of interesting sonic touches on the tracks from the self-titled album, including bits of cello, clean vocals on "Fire Skates the Water," and the atmospheric synths-and-samples interlude "Horror Hotel." But it's the songs themselves that simultaneously make TYOOL stand out from its metalcore peers (the band arose at the same time as Killswitch Engage, Unearth, and All That Remains) and make it curious that they didn't attain broader success during their creative lifetime. The four new tracks featured at the end of disc two were written at the same time as everything else, but never recorded until the idea for this compilation was proposed. They don't really add much to the band's legacy, featuring a stronger (and unwelcome) black metal influence than the older recordings.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2