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Wednesday 18 September 2013

Reviews: Volture, Lancer, Sign Of The Jackal

So I thought with this review I'd bring together a few retro/trad metal revivalists for one review, because I'm a bit of a fan of tight jeaned, bullet belted metal!

Volture: On The Edge (High Roller Records)

High Roller Records is quickly becoming the place for retro infused sneaker wearing metal with the likes of Enforcer and Axxion on its role call you can now add to that list Volture who play twin guitar infused trad-metal. The band hail from Virginia and are the brainchild of guitarist Nick Poulos and Ryan waste who plays bass in this project but most will know him as the guitarist of crossover thrash maniacs Municipal Waste. The album is full of hard hitting anthems full of scything guitars from Poulos and partner in crime Dave Boyd, rumbling galloping bass from Waste, smashing drums and some high vocals from singer Jack Bauer (no not that one). From the opening riff of the title track you know what you are going to get but this album stands above many others in this genre as the band have the hallmarks of early Maiden or Priest but with a distinctly European flavour of Enforcer despite being from America. The song lyrics as per usual with trad metal are about bikes, women and the joys of heavy metal and with song names like Ride The Night and Desert Pursuit the band focus more on the Iron Horse, with Desert Pursuit sounding like it should feature on Killers in fact it’s the early Maiden influence that is the most overriding sound on this album, yes the songs are samey but Volture deliver them masterfully meaning that this album is definitely one to pick up for retro fans. 8/10    

Lancer: S/T (Doolittle Group)

In a slight change of style Swede's Lancer are from the power/speed school of metal but they maintain the trad-metal sound of dual guitars etc. The album kicks off with Purple Sky which features a dual guitar rundown for the main riff, some cracking drumming from Sebastian Pedernera, and classic European-style vocals of Isak Stenvall who sounds a lot like Timo Kotipelto from Stratovarius and in places like fellow Swede Joey Tempest. In fact the band sound a lot like early Stratovarius albeit without the massive keyboard passages that Strato are known for. They do however fill their songs with guitar solos (see The Exiled) rampaging blast beats (Young And Alive) and even some progressive influences on the 7 minute plus Seventh Angel which is a ballad that Timo Tolkki would be proud of (and features some keys!). The production is not as crisp as Strato (and nowhere near as clean as Europe's) but with big backing choruses and lots of meaty guitar action this is a solid power metal album that will entice completists. 7/10    

Sign Of The Jackal: Mark Of The Beast (High Roller Records)

Another treat from High Roller this time with more of an occult vibe, so you need to be thinking Angel Witch, Mercyful Fate, Withcfinder General, Venom and more recently In Solitude. In a twist of (Mercyful) fate though the banshee at the microphone, is not some tall, dark stranger but a small perfectly formed woman; in the shape of Laura Coller who howls the occult lyrics over the retro metal blast. Coming from Italy the band should be well acquainted with the works of Satan and with tracks like Hellhounds, Night Of The Undead and Queens Of Hell they are defiantly in the Angel Witch school of occult metal. The album is good with lots of little B-movie references sprinkled throughout (and lots of Italian) it makes for an authentic 80's sound, obviously you know what the music sounds like but it’s the vocals that will make or break this album, you will either love them or hate them but still in the right frame of mind and with Halloween on its way this is one to put on at a party. 6/10  

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