Seeing how 2014’s I Am All was comprised of an A-side of new material and a B side recorded during Taiwaz’s late 80s heyday, it could be argued that their second album is their first true full-length. The Uninvited Guest certainly makes for a more cohesive and less anachronistic listen in comparison, but questions of quality can always be raised when a veteran band doesn’t have any retro material to fall back on.
Fortunately, Taiwaz puts forth a serviceable heavy/doom metal presentation on The Uninvited Guest. It feels like a cross between Mercyful Fate and Anvil’s slower moments as the former is channeled in the guitar tone and occult atmosphere while the latter comes through in the blunt riff construction and gruff vocals. The doom influences are most clearly conveyed by the drums, which opt for almost exclusively slow tempos and rhythms that are tight yet laid back.
But while The Uninvited Guest has plenty of enjoyable ingredients, the result lacks a certain spark. The emphasis on slower tempos ends up working against the band as the performances can feel rather stiff, resulting in the riffs being less impactful than they could be. It doesn’t help that the compositions tend to be rather pedestrian. I can get into the grooves on songs like “Dark Season” and “Six Feet Under” as well as the more ambitious flashes on “Escape” and “Why,” but the title track and “In the Dead of The Night” come off rather awkward.
Taiwaz’s second album may not be the flashiest heavy/doom fusion out there but it is solid enough representation. It would’ve benefitted from more energized musicianship and memorable songwriting, but a vibrant production and a manageable runtime ensure a faithful execution. Fans who like their metal slow and ominous should get some mileage out of this album and nothing about the band seems washed up, leading me to believe that they have potential to give us something even better.