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Cauldron were never really a band to embrace subtlety or shirk clichés. Going back to the debut album, Chained to the Nite, there was a nude woman on the cover and two songs (not to mention the album title) featured the word "chains", including the tongue-through-cheek idiocy of 'Chained Up in Chains'. The cover art for Tomorrow's Lost has already drawn a lot of comments as looking too dark and extreme for the Canadians' sound, though it comes as rather a surprise that some of the material on here does show some subtlety alongside the straight-up trad metal that the band had already covered.
Based on the same principles of '80s worship that inspired the likes of White Wizzard, Wolf, and Holy Grail to come out of their holes, the general aesthetic and sound of Cauldron adheres closely to the classic traditions of scuzzy power chord riffs, wailing vocals, and lead guitar diddling, though remains at the more restrained end of the spectrum. There are few songs that club the listener around the head as Wolf's mid-period output did, nor anything that aims to be as technical or downright showy as Steelwing or Jon Leon's ongoing project. Instead, the work is done in a far more meat and potatoes manner, ensuring that each song has something going for it, usually choosing between solid riffing, catchy vocals, or a more distinct mood, though not all the elements combine very often. Since there is little to choose between the songs in terms of quality, each one displays a slightly different aspect of the sound without managing to be essential, missing that epithet by their failure to fuse excitement with execution.
Cauldron climb the scale from cautious and mid-paced to an upper mid-pace that could rival Iron Maiden for speed if not the kind of glorious rush of momentum the Brits can produce. The quicker songs tend to be more instinctive and get the blood pumping more successfully, while the steadier likes of 'Born to Struggle' and 'Endless Ways' have hooks - mostly from the vocals - that just clasp their fingers around your heart and lend some credence to the darkness of the cover illustration. When the closing title track bounds off on its journey, one is puzzled and strangely titillated by the gloomy bassline that turns the classic heavy metal back in on itself like a sudden sunset on a glorious day, stamping a confusing and shady impression across the album's surface. This uneasy feeling crops up briefly in several other songs: the chorus of 'End of Time' and the behind-time 'Summoned to Succumb' both dip in mood due to the combination of Jason Decay's basslines and his uncanny voice. Despite the fact that he possesses by far the most underwhelming pipes of all the revivalist groups, there is something in the weakness of his voice that causes an uncertainty of feeling, as if in a moment of doubt, and transforms the simplicity of these songs into a more delicate and emotional experience.
However, it goes without saying that for large parts of the album, Cauldron's simplicity shines through as exactly that. For three-piece metal bands, there is a constant struggle to ensure that they are not just doing enough, but to actually do as much as possible. In terms of the mileage that they get out of their set-up, Cauldron are doing pretty well, yet the insistence of such hooks as the vocals or the Cathedral-esque riffing patterns of 'Born to Struggle' do not feel as generous as most fans of heavy metal would like. Quite simply, where White Wizzard often put too much needless content into their songs, Tomorrow's Lost feels like the opposite - at times, it lacks content. The lacking features of this album centre around the lead instruments and the smoothness of the mix. While each bandmember does his duty, there are too few outstanding moments of brilliance or focus, since the solos that Ian Chains plays are not the most inspired or original, nor do they appear frequently enough to alter the plainness of the songs. The other members do not offer much in the way of individualism either, as well as factoring in a sound that trims the edges off drums and guitar, almost as though this were a doom album that had no need of crunch or impact, just a broad bottom-end boom.
It seems cruel to berate Cauldron for being boring, because they manage a great economy with their limited number, though one rarely praises an album for its economy, but rather as a result of it being enjoyable. There are moments of Tomorrow's Lost that can be enjoyed and other that provide food for thought, particularly 'Fight for Day', 'Nitebreaker', and the interesting title track; however, the overall feeling is too much of medium attraction and attention. It might be worth mentioning that, in taking on the classic metal sound, Cauldron are here using an amount of dourness and taciturnity that genuinely separates them from others of their ilk: such a shame, then, that it doesn't suit the style very much and leaves the album wanting.
Cauldron’s third full length album Tomorrow’s Lost is a continuation of the style that began with its predecessor Burning Fortune. After that statement, this album might immediately be a hit or miss for some listeners. Personally I enjoy the heavier, more aggressive style presented on the band’s first two releases, but this is still a kick ass heavy metal album.
The songs here go for a more straight forward, traditional heavy metal feel and the band succeeds with this due to strong song writing. Every song is loaded with quality riffs and catchy melodies. There isn’t much diversity on display but this isn’t a bad thing as Cauldron clearly love what they do and are good at it. This isn’t some nostalgic throw away. This is genuine, old school style heavy metal played by guys that live the metal they love. Every song on here is very strong, making it hard to choose a list of stand outs. However my absolute favourite is Nitebreaker. Lots of razor sharp solos, a lethal main riff and a concert ready chorus makes this a real rager.
This classic style of heavy metal is further achieved through the band’s sound. As with Burning Fortune, the overall production is raw and stripped down of any sort of modern qualities. This is both a good and bad thing. I love the guitar sound and the drums sound old fashioned (this is a compliment) but I do wish the bass was brought up a bit higher in the mix. Don’t get me wrong, it’s there and the tone is good. However when I listen to Into the Cauldron and Chained to the Nite I can’t help but yearn for the massive bass attack that Jason Decay had. The performances here are stellar. Ian Chains’ guitar skills are as great as ever. The man is a very talented soloist. Session drummer Chris Rites does a pretty awesome job, providing many enjoyable fills and beats. Jason’s voice is always a matter of debate. He does not have a very powerful voice but I really enjoy it and I think it is unique. It certainly fits the music very well. He is a very good bass player and there are always nice licks and riffs to be heard.
I have to point out how truly awesome the album cover is. It would certainly be at home on any black or death metal album. It has a very Lord of the Rings feel to it in my opinion. If you want modern heavy metal that feels like the early eighties that you know you can count on to deliver the goods, Cauldron is the band for you and this album will surely be an excellent listen.
By just looking from the front cover, you may think that Cauldron is more of a black metal band than what they really are. Cauldron is instead a band that combines heavy riffs with 80's influenced metal. A pretty good mix if you know what you are doing. My expectations was some what high since the canadian trio did an excelente job on their latest album ("Burning Fortune" from last year). The only real problem I had with the previous album was the production that sounded dull and unfinished. Did they improve it on "Tomorrow's Lost"? Sorry, but no. The production is still making the band sound like they run on 80% strength. Oh why must it be like this?
Well despite the lack of the production that the band deserves, the guys are doing a swell job out there.the material that the band is putting out are of top quality. Most of the songs on "Tomorrow's Lost" have at least on catchy riff, a solid song structure and some pretty cool solos. Ian Chains really know how to handle his guitar to get the most out of its power. That does not help the singer/basist Jason Decay. Sorry bro but your singing voice is not among the best I have heared. Jasons voice sounds a little weak. Almost at the edge of wimpy. I do not know why but maybe that is because he has worked as a gardener for Rush frontman Geddy Lee (saw that trivia on Encyclopaedia Metallum. Do not know if it is true or not). So there is room for improvment on the singing area but I have a feeling that Jason will develop his abilities in time.
There is no real weak link on this even, but short (around 39 minutes), album which is a good thing. Only problem is that there is no real super strong link either. The closest one would probably be "Nitebreaker" or "Fight For Day" but they really does not stand up as strong as "All Or Nothing" did on "Burning Fortune". Speaking of, one of the tracks is actually called "Burning Fortune" on "Tomorrow's Lost". Did they forget to put it in their last album or couldn't they write a song with that title until now? I do not know and I do not care.
At the end I would consider "Tomorrow's Lost a step back for the band even though it is a small step. The lack of a real killer together with the remaining problem of the poor production are the reasons for the set back. It is still a good album though and I like what I hear in my headphones. The riffs are good and heavy and the band know what they are doing. Hopefully they will not get lost on the way. The album cover is cool but that does not make up an album that could have been so great but instead became above average.
Sings worthy of recognition: Nitebreaker, Fight For Day, Tomorrow's Lost (Sun Will Fall)
Rating: 7/10 Endless Ways
I seem to have ploughed my way through a collection of commendable releases in recent times, each with their own fair reason for being a listen I would recommend to fans of those sub-genres and now on Cauldron's "Tomorrow's Lost" I find no obvious reason for suggesting otherwise. Like on debut album "Chained to the Nite" and "Burning Fortune" the Canadians stick to what runs through their veins, the easy going but die-hard blood of heavy metal devoid of irony in it’s pastiche of softer 80s icons like Dokken through to the heavier (for the day) types of Angel Witch, Accept and Iron Maiden. This subservience to riffing melody, up-tempo beats at comfortable volumes and songs singing of metal, love and life make the band an easy one to appreciate for anyone with any sort of background in (true) metal and a string to the bow of those of us who proffer to it being no less than a whole lifestyle choice.
Nine songs running from 3½ to 5½ minutes in 39 minutes, "Tomorrow's Lost" stylistically differs little from "Burning Fortune". Infact the greatest change has come in the artwork department, with a move away from the female-orientated covers of LPs 1 and 2 to the more typical apocalyptic imagery more commonly seen on death metal packages (I love this cover, though it seems a little dark for the music contained herein). The production is uncluttered and friendly with Jason Decay's vocals in particular the key focal point of the record - whereas I have felt earlier on in their career he was singing a different song to the instruments, his problem is more simple these days: a lack of strength and power that is considerably more problematic in overcoming. Still though, this doesn't seem to hold back the man and for that I give him credit: he tries hard throughout to hold feel with the music as is evident in "Endless Ways" and "Relentless Temptress". "End of Time", "Burning Fortune" and the grammatically-questionable "Fight For Day" are fast by Cauldron's standards, one imagines them being nicely interspersed in the live show to cordially invite long-haired types such as myself to feel involved, with Ian Chains adding the requisite solo break-aways from the very hard line rhythmic riffing which underpins all their tracks. Besides the faster moments are of course the slower tunes - "Born to Struggle" with it's delightfully simplistic leading riff and my personal favourite "Nitebreaker" when Cauldron's softer influences show through. Softer they may be but it is these that separate Cauldron from far more generic heavy metal revivalists such as White Wizzard and Wolf pedalling similar paths.
Cauldron have never attempted to rewrite the rulebook and I can say with some certainty little attempt will ever be made to do so, but it is their underlying ability to still write hook-laden and easily enjoyable heavy metal tunes of their own recognisable nature which has progressed them to a position of respectability within the scene today, a status which not all of their peers could lay claim to. On that note, I can attest for having reviewed many better heavy metal albums in my time but there must be some reason why I most often find myself coming back to the Cauldron.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
The Canadian power trio is releasing its third album and intends on continuing to spread the gospel of traditional heavy metal far and wide. Armed with a will to rock and all the lessons learned this is an album that is bound to please fans of the eighties.
Cauldron is a fairly recent band with only half a dozen years of existence but they're hardly newbies. Lead singer and bassist Jason Decay helped gave birth to the band after the demise of his previous one, Goat Horn, and current axeman has gained a bit of experience with the legendary Thor, the Canadian band not the Norse god, while newfound drummer is already an experienced performer as well. The band has been on a good writing streak after a well received debut album back in 2009 and a sophomore effort released just last year, which was also seen as a natural progression from its predecessor. And that's basically the premise for this new album, to continue down the yellow brick road in search of the Emerald City. Cauldron isn't here to reinvent the wheel but instead to pick it up and roll it down the hill in burning flames. The early eighties were a place where the NWOBHM scene was ruler and lord of all things dubbed "heavy" before it would branch out into a myriad of different genres and styles, and it's this time and age that the Canadian act is trying to emulate. Metal is a cyclical thing, and given the resurgence of old school death and thrash in these past years the revivalism spirit was bound to extend itself to other genres as well.
It's in this set of newer bands trying to take inspiration from heavy metal acts of the earlier generations that Cauldron is slowly building a well deserved niche to thrive upon. I've always been a sucker for melodic hooks, and while I prefer more the post-NWOBHM boom and less of the hard rock oriented acts it's also a fact that Angel Witch is one of my favourite bands of that period. All things considered it's quite easy for me to enjoy Cauldron for what they are, and the way they mix more radio friendly hooks and choruses with the near speed metal instrumentation of bands like Satan or Blind Fury makes this album much more enjoyable than I expected it to be. There are plenty of riffs here to spellbind you as much as there are soothing melodies and rocking ballads to warrant the attention of non-metal fans. At its core Tomorrow's Lost is a metal album but it does carry with it a not so subtle hard rock influence and vibe that makes it strangely enthralling, although it does require you to be in the right mindset to be able to fully appreciate it. People expecting any sort of aggression will be heavily disappointed, but if you're after a good old heavy metal album to rock out with your friends and have a good time then you'll love it.
The album starts with the raging opener "End Of Time" and its quasi-speed metal up-tempo drum beat that immediately catches your attention. It doesn't take long before Jason's voice is presented in his peculiarly nasal and soothing tone. The chorus is catchy and the solo later on is quite the delight, making this a very interesting choice for opening the album. The following, "Born To Struggle" is a more mid-tempo rocking act that brings to the table the more melodic side of the Canadian collective, driving you along in caressing harmonized guitars and gentle vocal lines that become more enchanting with repeated spins, and the lead work proves once again to be pretty effective. Tomorrow's Lost is never an album to present you with too much of the same and instead it aims for a nice balance between the speedier moments and the more rock oriented songs. While "Nitebreaker", which is a total Satan worship song, provides you with enough speed and an infectiously good main riff and hefty rhythm its follow-up, "Summoned To Succumb", brings again the mid-tempo melodies and the image of two guitarists waving their instrument up and down and their necks left and right. At times I think to myself that I'd like for them to indulge more in the sped up moments and make this a more aggressive album but I can also ride along with the slower songs with a grin on my lips, so I guess that the choice of making this album as varied as possible was indeed a good one.
The album is very consistent throughout its nearly forty minutes of playing time, which with only nine songs makes up for an easily digestible album that's bound to be on repeat. In fact this is an album that becomes better with repeated listens as its initial impact isn't as strong as it could be. However, once you play this album a few times you'll be more and more enticed by it and more willing to give Tomorrow's Lost some air time. Virtually all songs have a riff or guitar lead that's good enough to stick with you and a vocal line or chorus that is infectiously catchy and memorable. It's not like we haven't heard all of this before but I don't care much for lack of originality when the presentation is passionate enough, and more so when the riffs and guitar melodies gel so well with the vocals and provide for such good moments. That's the case with this album and songs like the rampaging "Burning Fortune" or the surprisingly great sing-a-long tune "Endless Ways" are clearly highlights on a work which is very cohesive. The only point in this album which seems out of character is that scream near the end of "Fight For Day", as it feels a bit dislocated from the general feel of the album and fails to add anything to the song. But that's a minor mistake in an otherwise very consistent album.
Many newer bands are sprouting nowadays, building their inspirations and sonic output on better days that are long gone, and despite my poor knowledge of Cauldron's back catalogue I have to say that the Canadian trio may be one of the best. It's very hard to sound original when everything has been done time and time again, so where these newer bands can be distinguished is in their ability to create unoriginal music that still sounds great. Cauldron seems to be on the upper hand with Tomorrow's Lost, which surprisingly enough took my playlist by storm and is having a lot of difficulty in getting out at the moment. Fans of the NWOBHM scene, more traditional heavy metal or even 70s and 80s hard rock may find something for them as much as I did, as this album proves to be a good balancing number between the elements which made that season as memorable as it was. This Canadian act is definitely a name to follow for the next few years if they're able to keep up the pace and quality, and I for one think that they deserve their own place in the sun.
Originally written for and posted at Riff Magazine