Welcome to Ferry Templeton's latest assault on the holy land of underground heavy metal...
First up this month are Poles Lux Perpetua, whose blistering brand of neoclassical power metal is a real joy to behold. At first look they might seem to be a bit cookie cutter, what with their galloping rhythms and sweeping guitar solos, but live with their fantastic The Curse of the Iron King album for a little while and you’ll realise there’s a lot more to them than that. Sure, the double kick is pretty relentless, and the arpeggios are at times extravagant, but the fact of the matter is that Lux Perpetua don’t actually sound like anyone else around at the moment, and that surely has to be a bonus. As do the Crusaders on the cover of their album!
At the heart of this is the vocal performance of Artur ‘Rooz’ Rosiński, who really is a bit of a find. He’s got the perfect power metal voice, capable of hitting the highs of course, but also fulsome and warm in the lower registers. His work on the excellent ballad Eversong is a real highlight, and marks him out as a man capable of mixing it with the very best.
Guitarists Tomasz ‘Tommy’ Sałaciński and Mateusz Uściłowsk aren’t exactly slouches either, the result of their combined endeavours making The Curse of the Iron King one of the most downright listenable power metal albums I’ve heard in a long time. Add it to your collection today!
Hailing from Mexico, Revenge purvey a thunderous thrash/speed/trad metal hybrid that is absolutely guaranteed to get the pulse racing and cause outbreaks of manic air guitaring wherever it’s heard.
Their new album Metal is Addiction and Obsession is an absolute riot, opening with the frantic speed metal of Hell Avenger (Let’s Go to Hell and Hail to Satan) and not letting up until the final chords of Fire Attack give your ravaged ears some respite some half an hour later. I say your ears will be ravaged, but that’s definitely ravaging of the good kind; Esteban Mejia (who also sings) and Esteban Muñoz wield their axes with the sort of stinging precision we demand of our favourite six stringers, riffing and soloing with equal adroitness throughout, beefing up every track with some superb playing.
Fast, undeniably simplistic yet superbly executed, Metal is Addiction… is a superb slice of pure heavy metal mayhem – just the kind of music we love here at the Crusade of Power!
A bit more straightforward are Italy’s Sleazer, who released a new album, Fall Into Disgrace, last month. Supercharged heavy metal is the name of the game here, simply presented yet still pretty compelling.
Andrea Vecchiotti is more than a match for the mic, whilst the chunky, chugging rifferama provided by Edoardo Artibani and Clemente Cattalani keeps things Crusade-worthy at all times. The band like a simplistic, anthemic metal tune that’s for sure, and if it’s nothing you’ve not heard before then you’ll certainly not have heard it delivered with as much gusto and barefaced commitment that often, of that I’m sure. Straight on Your Way is a classic metal call-to-arms, and probably the best track on the album, though every song here has something going for it, and is certainly worthy of further investigation.
Danish progressive metallers Theory have managed to get Dream Theater alumnus Derek Sherinian to guest on their album, so probably don’t need the endorsement of our humble little column – but I’m going to give it anyway!
Unsurprisingly given the name dropped in that first paragraph there’s more than a whiff of Dream Theater about Theory, although gratifyingly they are a much heavier proposition overall. Songs like Sea of Damnation are completely spellbinding, throwing downtuned guitars into battle with spine tingling melodies and danceable, tribal rhythms to create a mesmeric melange of metallic madness. Imagine Sepultura duking out with Symphony X in a death match for the ages and you’re getting into the right post code, but this music is so much more than a mere rehashing of other people ideas. On top of all this polydecibel pandemonium there are the stratosphere-bothering vocals of Nicklas Sonne, a man who eats melody for breakfast, lunch and dinner, making Theory the absolute complete package. ARTIST OF THE MONTH!
Slovaks Signum Regis deliver pure, old school heavy metal of a very high quality indeed.
Great vocals, top notch musicianship and fine songwriting are all a given when talking about this kind of music, of course, but Signum Regis deliver all that and very much more on their soon-to-be-released new opus, Decennium Premum. Decennium Primum actually means ‘the first decade’ in Latin and I assume therefore that this album celebrates the tenth year of the band’s existance; certainly they’ve put that experience to good use on the record! There are no gimmicks here, but there is an awful lot of top drawer traditional metal on offer if you’re interested. Check out their moves below!
Finally this month we bring you Germany’s Fairytale. The heaviest of the band’s we’ve featured this month by a country mile, these boys from Recklinghausen bring the noise with booming drums and big – make that BIG- guitars on their recently-released romp Battlestar Rising.
Iced Earth are clearly a big influence on the lads, though not so much that Jon Schaffer becomes some sort of metallic elephant in the room. Guitars alternate between chug and gallop, whilst vocalist Carsten Hille has the Matt Barlow style of metal bombast well under control. These blokes deal in big, personality-packed riffs as their stock in trade, though they aren’t afraid to suffuse the thunder with a bit of melody when needs be. The title track of their new album is a real stormer, whilst Cain might remind you a little bit of Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years but is none the worse for that, and if the material starts to flag a little towards the end in terms of originality it’s a minor fault you’ll be able to forgive Fairytale for the consistency of headbanging spirit they’ve displayed throughout the rest of the album Great work German headbanging blokes!
As ever, thanks for joining me on this month’s Crusade of Power – it’s really great to know so many of you enjoy the column and that bands look forward to see if they’ve been asked to take the metal cross! See you next month.