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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Reviews: Trivium, The Answer, Death Dealer

Trivium: Vengeance Falls (Roadrunner)

Following swiftly on from In Waves which was an album that many saw as a massive return to form and also huge step forward in Trivium's evolution, the band have changed very little on Vengeance Falls they still have some simply staggering guitar riffs and solos from Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu, the opening track Brave This Storm has a distinctly djent palm muted riff that came on about during the last album. The bass of Paulo Gregoletto and the drums of Nick Augusto are both amazing, with Augusto just drumming like a demon throughout! The album is a continuation of Trivium's emergence as a band with their own identity after a career trying to find it; the title track has all of their hallmarks with heavy verses and a huge sing along chorus that really shows off how good Heafy's vocals have become, he has taken his singing to a new level, gone are the days of The Crusade where he was aping Papa Het', here he has found his own style effortlessly blending clean and harsh vocals with at least another octave to his clean vocals, he's able to hit notes that I have never heard him hit on any of the previous albums! Part of this all round improvement could be because of producer David Draiman's, he has put a lot of his own influences on this album with some massive sing along hooks, some excellent riffs and melodies that hark back to his own band and a production is crisp and modern. What is abundantly clear (and was also pretty transparent on In Waves) is that Trivium are now making music for themselves and not because its popular, with tracks like the amazing Strife the very Disturbed-sounding No Way To Heal (which is only lacking Draiman's signature monkey howls), the thrash along At The End Of This War which starts off with gentle acoustics and then proceeds to rip your face off. Trivium have now managed to create 3 amazing albums in Ascendency, In Waves and now Vengeance Falls which is good going for any band, add that their catalogue of anthems, their unmistakeable live talent and when you couple this with the current drought of headline material bands, the Florida natives look set to be finishing festivals with a bang in the next few years! 9/10    

The Answer: New Horizon (Napalm)

Northern Irish rockers The Answer are now on their fourth album and they have honed their craft to a point where quality can be assured. So again on this album we see Cormac, Paul, Micky and James busting out the hard rock grooves. The album is again pitched to the fans of swaggering hard rock pitched between Zeppelin's thunder see the opening title track, Free's bluesiness, some funk on Leave With Nothin' and even some 90's style rock that would be at home on a Thunder or Little Angels album, this must be deliberate, as the album is produced by Toby Jepson of Little Angels (who also co-writes 5 of the tracks). Ok some may say The Answer are bringing nothing new to the table but they have a formula that works and it is at its best here. The guitars of Paul Mahon are excellent bringing the rock riffs and bluesy melodies and a killer solo on Speak Now, the rhythm section is a powerhouse driving things along nicely see the percussive Somebody Else and Neeson's vocals are nothing short of Spectacular on the track of the same name and also on the Zep-like ballad Call Yourself A Friend. This is another hard rock master class by The Answer who continue to be leagues away from any of their compatriots and will only get better, this is a must for fans and anyone that likes a little hard rock boogie (having Stu is optional). 8/10

*I also need to mention the front cover which is the final project of the legendary Storm Thorgerson a man who produced some of the most iconic album covers of all time and will be greatly missed by the music community. RIP Storm thanks for all the memories*

Death Dealer: War Master (Self Released) 

With a name like Death Dealer I'll give you one guess to what kind of music they play, well the answer comes in the first thirty seconds of the opening track Death Dealer which features furiously fast shredding and a scream that could shatter glass! This is true heavy metal full of songs about war, death and cars played at high speed with all of the bombast of Painkiller era Priest; Rippers band Beyond Fear and Teutonic power metallers Primal Fear. Now there is one more influence that hits you like a mace and that is Manowar, this is because Death Dealer's drummer is former Manowar man Rhino and one of the six-stringers is Manowar founder Ross 'The Boss' Friedman, so the powerful riffage that is present on the early Manowar albums is evident here. Ross takes a bit of backseat in terms of solo's as he leaves that to one of the bands founders Stu Marshall who pulls out every trick in the book during his face melting solo spots, however the band are not all about the shredding they have a killer rhythm section with Rhino charging the drums like his animal namesake and bassist Mike Davies plucking the four strings like a demon rumbling bones along the way. Last but not least is frontman Sean Peck who has simply staggering voice that is part Tim Ripper Owens, part Eric Adams. So with all that out of the way let’s get down to the music well right from the off its full steam ahead with Death Dealer moving like light speed, then Never To Kneel is a pounding, bouncy anthem with loads of shout along potential, then comes the title track which has all the pomposity of Ram It Down. Rest bite comes with Children Of The Flame which is ballad straight out of the Dio songbook. However this doesn't last long as the following five tracks proceed to rip your head off until the final track Wraiths In The Wind finishes the album with the Accept style euphoric chorus. This is a killer debut from Death Dealer, now how do we get them to Bloodstock!? 9/10    

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