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Traditional and fun - 71%

Noktorn, June 30th, 2010

The opening track on this album surely raises some eyebrows when viewed in conjunction with the release date- a bit prescient, perhaps?

This is one from Metal Blade's cutout bin- Hades never had spectacular legs in their best days, but this album is littering the bargain racks of nearly every metal distro in the world. Surprisingly enough, unlike the average Pavement release, this has some serious chops behind it- oldschool USPM/thrash with a hint of glam here and there which makes for a surprisingly well-rounded and listenable package. This is hardly a style that I'm very familiar with, so I can't immediately think of any bands this sounds like- it's hardly the pure go-for-the-jugular material of Jag Panzer, but it comes close in places, with just a hint of thrash propelling the power metal forward into greater aggression and intensity. While I can see why it wouldn't be tremendously popular given its time of release, this is really a forgotten item which should be investigated by dedicated metalheads.

The riffing on this tends to be pretty muscular and speedy; Hades periodically lapses into a rather rockish track owing to their glam influence, but the rest of the time they play cranked up to 10 with high tempos and speedy riffing. The riffs are carved right out of the USPM tradition tempered with just a bit of rock- fast palm-muted runs and dramatic leads mix with a more restrained sense of epic grandeur in huge, held chords. The vocals are perfectly capable, I suppose- I listen to music with clean vocals so rarely it's impossible to tell where this dude rests among the rest of them. His thrashy shouts, though, have a percussive edge to them that owes to bands like The Cro-Mags, which I find rather interesting- they bounce off the fast power metal riffs in a neat way. While the songs are rather simple, they're to-the-point and well constructed, with a good sense of traditional songwriting flow and enough cool riffs going around to keep anyone happy.

This is certainly not spectacular, but it's a perfectly respectable entry into a genre that only recently seems to be going back in style. Perhaps this album was a victim of its time, but I imagine there's a number of people out there who haven't heard this but should.