Traitors Gate: Fallen (No Remorse Records)
Yet another ‘cult’ NWOBHM returning nearly 30 years after their original break up, the ‘classic’ line up of Pontypool's Traitors Gate was active from 1985 to 1989, but split up only to reactivate in 2016. Since then vocalist Dave McLean departed with ex-Mayhem Messiah vocalist Sy Davies taking the mic. His power metal pipes are perfect for the battle infused traditional British metal Traitors Gate, so with all the pieces in place we get Fallen, the bands first full length album, (although their Devil Takes The High Road EP is considered a ‘classic’) which has been released through Greek record label No Remorse Records. So how is it will it reach the heady heights of reactivated NWOBHM act Hell? Or fall by the wayside like so many?
Well it sits firmly in the middle of both, it’s strictly meat and potatoes British metal, galloping bass, chugging riffs and fists aloft choruses. I’d continue to plug the NWOBHM tag but Traitors Gate have more of the barrel chested machismo of Manowar due to Sy’s vocals however just as you’re settling into the Manowar influences they bring Halford squawks on Edge Of Destruction. Fallen serves as a compilation album for everything you love about traditional metal, it’s not going to change the world and the ‘cult’ status of Traitors Gate is a little suspect but in 2018 they’ve released a fine album. 7/10
Chandrian Kill: Bring Out Your Dead Bar3 Records
Bring Out Your Dead is the first part of a sequence of EP’s based on a loose concept of “life, being self aware, our experiences, relationships, knowing who we are and how we feel about our existence and place in the world." It’s the debut release Chandrian Kill a band made up of only two members, behind the mic is Nic Whitmore previously of Number One Son and joining him is songwriter/guitarist and former member of Moesaboa and My Life In The Making, Ted Clark. The two set about creating a new vehicle for both of them and on the back of those sessions we have this initial three track record which is a far cry from their previous projects having a post-grunge style to it the passionate vocals of Whitmore acting as foil for the emotive compositions of Clark.
Out of the three tracks on this record check out Remain Alive which gives the best overview of this project nailing down exactly what Chandrian Kill are trying to do. Painfully modern in their sound it’s writ large and name checked by the band, as having the influence of Deftones and Stone Sour but with three tracks this is just an embryo, I’ll be paying close attention to the next instalments to see where the band can go. 7/10
Motorowl: Atlas (Century Media)
Atlas is the second release from German band Motorowl and frontman Max puts it like so: “The new album is definitely a step forward. I don't know which direction it is but it feels great.” Well I’d say that the direction is towards Krautrock as along with the normal psych rock tropes of doom laden Sabbath worship and the hard rock posturing, they use of sweeping organs and swirling synths means that Atlas is treat for those who love a good keyboard. A track such as To Take is a key example of the synthesis of styles Motorowl deal with, it’s got a big lumbering guitar riff that is augmented with the organs for a Gothic sounding doom track where Max rings out the emotion in his voice before it breaks into a sparse almost Muse-like middle section.
If this doesn’t give you an indication of what Motorowl sound like then I’d liken their sound to Baroness or the most recent releases of Opeth. Although a Maiden influence creeps in on Infinite Logbook as max admits the whole band “loves Iron Maiden”. It’s modern retro recorded on analogue equipment and harking back to the days of real music, recording the album live in 10 days you really hear the symbiosis of the group come through as they all head toward one common goal. It’s trippy, heavy hard rock raised by its influences but firmly in the now like Atlas had the world on his shoulders Motorowl have the it as their oyster! 8/10
Seven Hells: Prologue (Self Released)
Leicestershire is a hot bed for metal in the UK so here’s another up and coming set of metallers from the region. Seven Hells formed in late 2016 and they are the winners of the 2018 Leicester Metal 2 The Masses competition meaning they will be playing Bloodstock this year. In anticipation of that they have also released a four track EP (coming out August 3rd) to whet the appetite on what to expect in the New Blood Stage, well folks I’d expect some pits as Prologue is a lesson in brutality, at just four tracks it doesn’t stick around but from the outset it grabs you by the scruffs and gets your head banging with modern groove metal taking a bite out of the Machine Head pie on The Prophet and defiant opener Resist. Prologue has blistering thrash solo sections, massive beatdowns and harsh vocals making for an aggressive listen, another band added to the ‘must watch’ list. 7/10