Conjuring Fate: Valley Of Shadows (Self Released)
Belfast's Conjuring Fate play proper British metal and Valley Of Shadows is their debut full length. Now what I mean by proper British metal is heavy, leather clad metal that throws the horns to Maiden, Priest and Saxon as influences with tight guitar harmonies, a rhythm section that runs at light speed, muscular vocals (Tommy Daly take a bow) and tough guy posturing with songs about horror and fantasy themes. They are particularly heavy too more in the Iced Earth style (or UK based Intense).
The shredding of Phil Horner and Karl Gibson is top notch see the thrashy Dr Frankenstein which sees the band attacking their instruments the rhythms section of Bogdan Walczak (drums) and Steve Leager (bass) ploughing away as Horner and Gibson trade-off solos with ease. This is just one of the strong metal anthems on this record as for the rest of the record the standard is maintained Trust No One is more Maiden-like with a serious gallop developing and is fully realised on Chasing Shadows which has more horsepower than a Gold Cup winner.
The album is made up of 8 new tracks and three tracks that have been re-recorded but were originally released on their debut EP, of these the shout along Mirror Mirror and House On Haunted Hill are the picks, with gutsy, proper metal Conjuring Fate have breathed new life into an old sound, a great mix of classic sounds delivered with modern toughness Valley Of Shadows is an excellent debut record of proper metal. 9/10
Iron Bastards: Fast & Dangerous (FDA Records)
You can probably guess what French band Iron Bastards sound like, well here's a clue, they are Iron Bastard and they play rock n roll, yes folks it's an unashamedly blatant Motörhead copying taking it as far as naming themselves after two of major Motörhead tropes and lyrics featuring references to 'white line fever' on Vintage Riders. The band is a three piece (naturally) with the David Bour taking the gravel gargling vocals and Rickenbacker bass (also naturally) backed by David Semler on guitars and Anthony Meyer on drums.
From the title track through The Code Is Red the painfully silly Rock O'Clock, the percussive proto-thrash of Out Of Control and the tough as nails Ballbreaker Number One its just one big Lemmy love-in, while that's fine and dandy it won't win any prizes for originality and equally it displays why Lemmy was so revered, anyone can play fast and loud rock n roll but it was Lemmy's lyrics that really made the songs stand out and this is where Iron Bastards let themselves down, still if you have listened to every Motörhead album 100 times and need another fix then put Fast & Dangerous on, turn it up loud and turn your brains into a cocktail with headbanging. 7/10
Vanik: Vanik (Van Records)
Vanik the album is the debut from Vanik the band who are led by Vanik the man (with me so far?) They (he) have come out of the gate (of hell) playing dirty speed metal with punk snarled vocals and a horror fetish Rob Zombie would love. The debut record is just over 30 minutes of furious, riffs, shouting and aggression. It's not big or clever but if you want something to beat you about the head for half an hour you could do worse than Vanik, there's not much else I can say really, dirty speed metal from the USA like Ronseal it does what it says on the tin and like or lump it. 6/10