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Burning Fortune is a noticeable departure from the sound Cauldron presented on their debut Into the Cauldron and first full length album Chained to the Nite. While this new style is done incredibly well and every song is fantastic, for me it just isn’t the same and I do wish they kept the heavier, more aggressive approach. Nonetheless this album is highly enjoyable!
The album opens with what would eventually become Cauldron’s main concert classic- All or Nothing. It features a solid riff and a very memorable chorus. Other notable scorchers on here include Frozen in Fire and Rapid City/Unchained Assault. The band goes into more melodic territory with songs such as Queen of Fire and I Confess (a cover that fits in so well with the other tracks that for the longest time I assumed it was an original song). There’s not a weak tune on here and the band again shows why they are so good- every song has quality riffs, choruses you can sing along to and a genuine heavy metal feel that immediately feels classic. If you can track down the bonus song Serpent Sorceress I highly recommend you do. It’s an excellent song and definitely should have been on the main album.
The production is overall very good. The band stripped down any sort of typically modern sounds that were found on their previous releases to go for a raw and old fashioned album. For the most part this works very well. It certainly fits with the songs and the guitar and bass sound really good. My only complaint with the drum sound is that I wish the bass drums were a bit higher in the mix but everything else sounds pretty good.
Like the production, everything performance wise is overall very good except some of the drumming. “Celebrity” Chris Steve plays the drums on this album, and while I know for a fact he is an extremely talented and versatile drummer, unfortunately Cauldron did not put his skills to their best use. His drumming is solid here but when you compare it to the other work he has done Burning Fortune ends up looking kind of stale and boring. Ian Chains is as reliable as ever with his guitar playing and every song has solos to enjoy. He even gets a spotlight solo at the end of Rapid City entitled Unchained Assault. Jason Decay is a great bassist and his talents are put to good use. On this album he has shed the use of his aggressive singing and makes full use of his clean singing. He’s a love it or hate it vocalist, and you really have to listen and judge for yourself. For what it’s worth, I really enjoy his vocals and I think they fit the music very well.
If you have checked out the first two Cauldron releases and enjoyed them, this one is an essential listen to hear the new direction they went in. If you are just getting into them this is a very solid album to check out. Cauldron brings the old school and does it in a genuine way.
A riff almost copied from Accept's "Breaker" marks the start of Cauldron's sophomore album, "Burning Fortune". When I heard this opening for "All or Nothing" as a teaser of this record months before its release, I really thought that this second effort was going to widely surpass the averageness of Cauldron's debut, "Chained to the Night", and sometimes it does, but the album never starts to take off. For example, the sound is more adequate than in the debut, tending to have an organic and untriggered production (done by Jameson Elliot), but it leaves a slight sense of amateurism. Then there are the songs. Although having good moments here and there, they seem without punch, going for easy choruses, but without anything memorable. They pass around without being annoying, but you won't get hooked on them. In fact, the opening "All or Nothing" (with some guest vocals by Olof Wikstrand from Enforcer), the fast "Rapid City/Unchained Assault", and the cover of Halloween's "I Confess" would be the standout tracks, and if a cover stands beyond the rest of your songs, you have a problem. Another flaw would be Jason Decay's vocals. There's nothing wrong with them and at least they follow the music with correction, but that's it, so if they want to take things to the next level, I think they should better find someone else to sing. Overall, it's not a bad album, just correct, so you'd better don't trust the "real" media when they enthrone these guys as new heroes of traditional heavy metal.
Originally written for Ample Destruction 'zine.
It's 2011, two years after the release of their first LP, and Cauldron puts out a second record called Burning Fortune. 'Chained to the Nite' was a really good album that was one of the few new heavy albums that broke off from the underground and got noticed. Many people said it was good while others said it was boring and tasteless, just like most of the so called revival bands. After months of digging through all these bands I came to a conclusion the there wasn't a revival at all. It was just a bunch of bands coming out at the same time and capitalizing on each other's moderate mainstream success (in the genre, of course). Ever since the release of the first lp, I wondered if Cauldron could capitalize on the success of their first album and release an another solid (at least) release.
One thing's for sure, I got what I hoped for. This album is a little bit different than the previous one and perhaps the most noticeable thing is the production. It's much clearer and as much as I hate to use this word, analogy. All in all, the overall production is just better sounding to the ear. The bass is more audible than before and the guitar is less overpowering. The drums are rather simple, yet powerful and heavy at the same time. I should also mention that this is the first time since a drummer other than Jason played on a Cauldron record. The vocals are also an improvement, and even though they pretty much retain the same high pitched sound, Jason has learned to control them and give them that needed polish.
One of the biggest strengths this album has (and Cauldron in general) is the songwriting. You don't come across a lot of bands that write well thought out lyrics that take more than a day to write. What do I mean by that? Take a look:
"Lost in an empty room
The scent of her perfume
Has guided me so far away
Hard to face another day
Time does not help to mend
Continue to pretend
That you can cure as you redeem
Everything's not what it seems"
Lyrics like this are all over the album, and you can see that a lot of effort was put into them which is why Cauldron is a unique band in that aspect. A lot of it is about general, non-fiction issues that affect our everyday lives: relationships with others, life in a band, struggling, and not knowing what will happen to you in a matter of 10 years. Life is a gamble, and this is what Cauldron does best. Their songwriting is unmatched when it comes to newer albums.
To sum things up, if you are a fan of heavy metal, I recommend you get this album. There are a lot of cool songs that really shine, and while originality is not the greatest aspect, it's still a very good album. With great songwriting and structures, I'd say this is one of my favorite albums of 2011.
With traditional metal becoming a force in the world again, many bands have come from the shadows to deliver their take on the genre that was put on the map in the 1980s. Some bands have “got it” and have made their mark, while others are trying to find their own niche. Canada’s Cauldron is one of those bands still searching.
The three-piece do a fine job of crafting songs, but most flutter around the mid-paced drubbings while keeping it low on up-tempo, fast riffing. The first three songs are virtually indistinguishable from each other. “All or Nothing” is a solid opener, but the next two don’t ratchet it up and move forward from that.
The best songs are “Rapid City/Unchained Assault” and “Breaking Through.” The former is fast and incredibly infectious and gives the feeling of driving through the city. The lead part at the end puts the icing on the cake as well. The latter is another breath of fresh air with the bombastic and machine gun riffing of Ian Chains and the aggressive approach to the vocals by Jason Decay.
Something that does separate Cauldron from other bands is the lyric approach to the songs. You are not going find fist-raising anthems or rockers about partying and living the metal life. Most tracks on here deal with dark love as in missing somebody or lamenting somebody’s loss. This is a good direction to take and adds to the mood of the songs. They even picked “I Confess” to cover from the rather unknown band Halloween to add to the theme.
Also on the plus side are Decay’s vocals. He does a good job capturing the high vocal registry, but also maintaining control with a mid-ranged delivery during the verses of songs. However, I am not particularly fond of the guitar tone on this album. Its clear sounding, but I wished it had more crunch to it and was just plain heavier.
In the end, Cauldron cooks a decent metal offering. If they mixed it up more and brought upon more memorable riffs and choruses then this would have been amongst my favorites of the new breed, but they are just not there. They have much potential and that is shown in songs like “Rapid City” and “Breaking Through.” They can definitely offer up something better in the future.
BURNING FORTUNE- 2011
This is the second album by Canadian metal band “Cauldron”, and I must say that it is a personal favorite of mine now. You see, this all started over a fight with a guy on YouTube. I was told, upon recommendation by a friend, to check out the track “I Confess” off this LP. I had already known the track because my dad used to work for Halloween (the original performers of the track), but I do say that I was not immediately hooked on “Cauldron”. I even said that they butchered this song. What a fool I was to even say that. After a few weeks of bickering back and forth, I decided to look at another song called “Chained Up in Chains” from the first “Cauldron” LP. I was blown away by it. It was so dynamic and yet so heavy. Ian Chains did not waste any time with any technical mumbo jumbo, he just shredded it out. I then decided to check out the music video to the opening track from “Burning Fortune”, “All or Nothing”. Again, 4 minutes of straight forward METAL IN YOUR FACE! The riff is so simple, but yet Ian brought it out and made it into a classic masterpiece in my book. Jason Decay’s vocals, while some may say that they suck, I think that they are stunning on the entire disc. Chris Steve does an amazing job on the drumming, it just adds that punch to the track to blow you away.
The Next few tracks are equally as stunning. “Miss You to Death” is somewhat of a metal song with power ballad style lyrics. But the music, again, is so simple, but Ian just adds that touch to just rip it up. “Frozen in Fire” has more of a complicated guitar part. It starts out with a gallop pace, but when it kicks in full speed, it has a clean guitar line, paired with the distorted line. But once the lyrics kick in, the cleanness is lost and it turns into a gritty thrasher. “Tears Have Come” is personally the weakest track on the LP. It is more of a slowed down tune with emotional lyrics. It kicks ass, but just not as much as the rest of the album. “I Confess” is a cover of a song by a band that has been a personal favorite of mine since 1998 or so, it is HALLOWEEN, from Detroit (Not to be confused with Helloween from Germany. 2 Different bands entirely). I was not really impressed by it when I first heard it, but now it is very tolerable. I like how they put that modern touch on a song that was written back in 1989! “Rapid City/ Unchained Assault” is personally the best track by “Cauldron”. It is a song about touring and the road according to Jason Decay. But whatever it is about, IT IS MINDBLOWING!!! Especially the solo at the end, which I stared at the record player in awe as I listened to the solo. My jaw was on its way to the floor within the first few notes of the solo.
The remainder of the album is equally as solid. “Queen of Fire” is an awesome track with some amazing riff work. The album closes out with the solid “Taken by Desire” which is a good way to close out such a heavy album. My one complaint with the LP is the production. Holy crap is the mix muddy. The drums seem somewhat muffled and the rest of the mix is a bit fuzzy. But oh well, that is an invalid reason to complain about such a killer album. K.G
Burning Fortune is the second full-length Cauldron release. Cauldron are at the forefront of this resurgence of traditional heavy metal that's going on right now, despite being somewhat new to the scene. After putting out an admittedly somewhat-weak debut album Chained to the Night, it seems like the band is really coming into their own on this release. Jason Decay's vocals sound far tighter here than on their debut album, which still had a lot of traces of Goat Horn in their sound, which I didn't really like to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I like Goat Horn, but I think that this (Burning Fortune) is how Cauldron are supposed to sound. There's still a bit of the Goat Horn sound present, but I don't think it's anywhere near as prevalent as on their debut, which, to me, is a good thing.
The album opens with the very catchy yet fairly simple track All or Nothing, which I believe to be one of their best songs so far. It sets the bar a little too high for Miss You to Death and Frozen in Fire, but the songs are still pretty solid on their own. Tears Have Come is, in my opinion, a stand-out track, bringing out the same stalker-ish lyrics of Miss You to Death with just enough of catchiness thrown into the formula to make it a good listen. Next up is I Confess, a cover tune by a band that I can just about guarantee that most of the people who pick up this album have never heard of before - Halloween. It's not an amazing cover on it's own, but it's still a pretty cool track. Rapid City/Unchained Assault is the next song up. This is easily one of the best songs that Cauldron have ever wrote; it's ridiculously catchy, totally heavy, and is a nice change of pace from the more mid-paced tunes that preceded it. After that, it's Queen of Fire, which is an alright track. Next up is Breaking Through, a pretty Goat Horn-y (hehehe, horny)/earlier-Cauldron-ish (say, the Into the Cauldron EP) tune that I actually really love, despite what you read at the beginning of the review. If you have the standard version of the album, then it ends on a solid note with Taken By Desire. If you have the extended version of the album, then congratulations, because you have another track - Serpent Sorceress (the Fermenting Enchantress' hotter sister), an equally solid tune.
In conclusion, this album is just as the title of this review would imply - solid. There's not much else to say. I think this album is easily better than Chained to the Night, which was an ok in it's own right. This album more accurately portrays the whole 80's heavy metal sound the band are successfully reviving than it's predecessor, which I really dig. To be honest, this album took me a few listens before I started to really get into it, as was the case with Chained to the Night. I think the solidity of this album warrants your purchase of it, as I would recommend. If you're a fan of the heavy metal of olde, or any of the other bands riding this wave of traditional heavy metal success like Ram or Enforcer, than I think you should pick this up and give it a few good listens. Not necessarily a must-have release, but it's definitely starting out 2011 on a good note.
It comes as accepted that when any scene flourishes it is always to the cost of bandwagon jumpers attempting to justify their inclusion with sub-par, contrived music. No doubt heavy metal and it's recent revival could tell of a number appearing with nothing to say and no great knowledge of the genre, however this is an argument that could not be levied at Canadians Cauldron. Their sound both on debut LP "Chained To The Nite" and now on "Burning Fortune" is distinct, confident and metal to the bone - Cauldron don't attempt to be the fastest or heaviest for they know they are metal, and frankly, I'm more than happy with that. Earache labelmates Enforcer have rightly assumed the mantle of leaders of today's heavy metal pack but like them, Cauldron have a unique sound and the feel of a distinct purpose about their music.
With an analogue production job that to my ears sounds both intrinsically 80's in nature (especially the vocals of Jason Decay) yet with some of the heavier post-2000s about it, songs like "Miss You To Death" and "I Confess" rest at the softer, melodic end of the hallowed NWoBHM sound and feel, while it takes faster tracks like "Rapid City/Unchained Assault" to push Cauldron closer to the Diamond Head's and Saxon's of their sound range. Think mid-80s Ozzy teaming with Angel Witch and you wouldn't be too far out. The natural benefit of this analogue production over today's compressed, polished, Pro-Tools sound is that a band's true abilities are exposed for all to see - yes, it might not be a total benefit in Cauldron's case as Decay's voice and the overall song constructions lack the strength of Enforcer (as a case in point) but their willingness to take this route is commendable and one of a band with no false delusions. If only more would follow suite…
At 9 songs long and only 38 minutes "Burning Fortune" does not exceed it's welcome and leaves with the impression of a capable band happy to play the music they love, but one who still haven't yet exploited their full potential. The tunes might be catchy and ready for the live show but with too many still resting comfortably in the 'decent' zone it will take a few more in the 'great' category to push Cauldron's mark on upwards into the heavens of heavy metal, the place where their passion deserves to reside.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
I have been waiting since about August of 2010 for this album and hell, am I ever excited. Cauldron are definitely my favorite out of these new traditional metal bands (though Holy Grail come quite close) and they did not disappoint me at all! This is even better than Chained to the Nite, something that I did not expect. This album still contains everything that Chained to the Nite did, the heavy guitar tone, the thick bass sound, the loads of melody (even more here) and yes, there's still loads of cheese in the lyrics but amazingly, it is done even better!
Jason's vocals haven't changed much but he uses much more power here. Where as on the last album his vocals could get a bit dull after a while and didn't seem like he was giving it his all, fixed it all up here. His bass playing here is top notch as well, just like always. The bass opening in Rapid City is very Motörhead influenced, punky speed metal stuff and it's the main song where his bass playing sticks out.
The guitar work is awesome, the guitar tone isn't as heavy and crunchy as on Chained to the Nite but it's still has a thick, cool tone. And as always, Ian doesn't take any time for warming up and kicks you in the ass from the first second in All or Nothing. The simplicity of that riff is really what makes it amazing. All the riffs here are flawless. Solo wise, Ian is a shredder. He shreds like a fucking beast (don't believe me? Listen to Unchained Assault) but still maintains to stay in the melodic area Cauldron are known for. One thing many shredders lack, he can actually play with feeling and emotion, not just random wank.
The drumming is awesome, Chris is a great drummer. I've been a fan of Aggressor for quite a while and I've always been a fan of his drumming style. Though it may be simple, he does it without flaw. Stays solid throughout the whole album.
The lyrics may seem actually a bit ...hmm.. "emotional", if you will. You might have been able to guess that if you looked at some of the song titles like Miss you to Death, Tears have Come... But that isn't at all a bad thing, no different than Chained up in Chains. In fact, Miss you to Death is probably my favorite song on this album alongside Queen of Fire. So, one might not exactly be into lyrics but if you listen to it with an open mind it shouldn't bother you at all. Anyone who dislikes this album because of the lyrics is well... dumb.
In conclusion, this album is mind blowing. This is really one of the most melodic albums I have ever heard and man do I ever love melodic metal. I recommend this to fans of 80's traditional and NWOBHM bands like Judas Priest, Anvil, Raven, fans of newer traditional bands like Enforcer, White Wizzard, Skull Fist and I won't lie, even fans of some of the more glam stuff like Mötley Crüe, Ratt and Dokken. Oh, and judging by the title of this review, Cauldron did NOT forget about chains!
Best tracks -
Queen of Fire
Miss you to Death
Rapid City / Unchained Assault
Weakest tracks -
Tears have Come
Taken by Desire
Frozen in Fire
^ Though, I wouldn't say any of the songs here are "weak".
Cauldron is another of the wave of throwback heavy metal bands that have been snapped up by Earache Records in an attempt to help cement the surge of hopeful old school 80s worship, alongside the better regarded White Wizzard and the simply better Enforcer. Of those three, none are necessarily 'bad', but I feel like only the Swedes do it for me the way metal used to. I could pick a record almost at random from my 80s bin and come away with a better, more authentic experience than what White Wizzard are pushing, and my only real interest in Cauldron comes from the fact that they once belonged to the Canadian heavy/doom metal Goat Horn.
Their last album, Chained to the Nite, was okay, possibly impressive if you're very new to the traditional fare, and if anything, Burning Fortune offers a mild tidying up in the same style. The mix here is a little better, drawing out Jason Decay's average, nasal melodies above the din of the guitars, but the songs don't really go anywhere fast. Like a lot of retro metal, they are so intent on recapturing what we already have decades of than taking the style and giving us a bright new spin. Songs like "Miss You to Death" and "Tears Have Come" serve little more than as a tribute to bands like the Scorpions, Fastway, Judas Priest and the like, but lacking the great guitar solos and catchy chorus parts that made them legends to begin with. Oftentimes, as in "Rapid City/Unchained Assault" or "Breaking Through", Cauldron will pick up the pace a little to the speed/power metal level of early Riot, and I feel like this mirrors a direct increase in the quality of what they're writing.
I don't mean to give an impression here that Burning Fortune sucks, because it definitely does not. The vocals and guitar tone are sufficiently taut and clean. It's the sort of album you can sit through if you enjoy the old days, and at least be happy that guys like this actually care about revisiting the terrain. If you've heard Goat Horn, you will understand that these guys are no trend jumpers. They love the past. But come three months time, or six months time, you will not remember a thing about this album. There's a reason for that, and that reason is that Cauldron simply has nothing on the old days, the huge hooks of their forebears. It's not enough to just reprint nostalgia like paper money, a band really has to snatch that hidden fire and brand itself. Where a band like Enforcer marries speed, flair and energy that has just enough charm to serve both retro and future interests, these Canadians just sort of hang out in the exhaust, breathing the dust. Dust enough to get you high for a few moments, but not nearly addictive.