Sound: So, here we go again, Earache trying to kickstart another trend in metal, this time with the NWOTM (New Wave Of Trad Metal). But ignore the obvious invention of another non-existent movement, and what you're left with is a pretty damn good CD. All of the bands here have a more classic metal sound, and it's doubtful that any of their main influences go past 1985. The vocals are high, the guitars driving but melodic and the lyrics, nonsense.
I think I have this in the wrong order, so sorry about that, but here is a track by track:
01.Chained Up In Chains-Cauldron: Has to be said, stupid title. What the hell else would you be chained up in!?! Anyway, the music. The song opens with a nice reverb drenched clean melody, before the driving guitars, audible bass and pounding drums kick in. Some great hooks in this song, very melodic. Good singer too. Not the best lyricist though, but that's for the next section.
02.Live By The Sword-Celtic Legacy: my favourite on this album. Great intro, following the melody of the chorus which I must say is EPIC! The singer does have a slight ring of Brucie about him, but has enough of a different tone to get away with it. Good solo aswell. I forgot to say that for Chained Up In Chains. From now on, assume that the song has a great solo until I say otherwise.
03. Sea of Dead Dreams-Crowning Glory: when I first heard this one, I thought there was maybe a little bit of the Prowler intro in there, but I'm changing my mind now listening to them parallel. I like the singers voice, but he reminds me of cartoon character who I cann't quite remember. The chorus is great, with a nice little guitar lick interchanging with the vocalist on the title line.
04. Mistress of Hell-Enforcer: great riff. This track moves along quite fast, but is still very catchy. Slight delay on the vocals, which I think is used on all the tracks, as it was quite a popular technique in the 80's and makes it sound bigger. Again, great chorus, this singer is pretty damn good. Oo, I just hit the jey change. That's a good bit.
05. Kicked To The Kurb-Hospital of Death: I love this track, though I think it may be better in the context of their actual album. The vocals do sound like they're in a room, if you know what I mean. If you don't, listen to Megadeth's Holy Wars. Demo and then the final track and you will see. Great chorus, with the gang chants and the little descending lick. And this guy really can sing.
06. Witches Sabbath-In Solitude: these guys clearly love Sabbath. They do sound like a modern version. To be honest, their name sounds like that of a third rate metalcore band, but that's not important. Goodness, I really am rambling. Sorry dudes. I like the vocals on this one, different to the other tracks, but I'm not too keen on the chorus. Oh well, can't have it all. Good slower section.
07. A Thousand Nightmares-Portrait: nice fast riff here. The vocals are a little too low in the mix for me, but then I am a vocalist, so I'm biased. Nice variety in his singing approach too, gruff, melodic and Halfordy.
08. Behold The Hand Of Glory-Powervice: great intro riff on this 'un. Honestly could be an older Maiden riff. Great vocalist too. Well played.
09. Sudden Impact-RAM: as you can see, my paragraphs are getting shorter. This is A) Because I am getting ever so slightly bored, and B) Most of the good things apply to all the tracks. Oh well. This one is a powerhouse of a track, speeding along, reflecting it's subject matter. Again, different vocalist=good change.
10. Steel Maker-Voltax: For me, this is a great finisher, but it's not actually, because my iTunes has put the album out of order. Quite possibly the best vocal performance on the album here, on the what also could well be the best chorus (well. All the choruses are singalong magic! ) Shortest track on the album, but that is by no means a bad thing, and if anything, enhances the impact. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are pure traditional metal (ok earache, you've snared me! ). As none of them can be particularily criticised, I shall give you my top 5 lines from the album. Ok, Bollocks. That didn't work, I can't find them anywhere. How ghey. Alright, top 5 vocal performances. Is that allowed computer? Good, I'm glad.
5. Robert Alexander-Sea of Dead Dreams
4. Olof Wikstrand-Mistress of Hell
3. The Rev D-Kicked To The Kurb
2. Ciaran Ennis-Live By The Sword (Holy shit, Celtic Legacy's guitarist is called David Morissey! )
1. Jerry (Voice of the prophets apparently)-Steel Maker.
As much as I hate to be immature, I swear the chorus to Steel Maker is "Steel Maker, He's In, Sodomy Of Steel!" Someone please correct me before I die of immature, boyish giggles. From what I can hear, the lyrics are great. But a can't go any deeper. Please post this mods, it's not my fault. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall, I like this album. I wasn't a huge fan of older metal before, (I basically started at thrash), but now I'm off exploring. Witchfinder General, here I come!
My personal favourites are Live By The Sword, Sea Of Dead Dreams and Steel Maker. But all the others are a miniscule distance behind. Loving the retro feel. This album harks back to a time when metal was just meant to be fun. Nothing preachy on here. Oo, that's a lyrical point. Their all mainly story telling lyrics, rather than, 'You suck, because you are different' or something. (That wasn't aimed at any particular band, just the 5th rate ones who think they are changing the world.) If you want to be intellecually challenged, look somewhere else!
If this album were stolen, I wouldn't buy it again or even be annoyed. It's already on my computer. // 9