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A powerful salute to the gods of old - 80%

Xyrth, January 26th, 2012

Absolute Power is another of the so-called supergroups of late, also another indicative of the solidarity and companionship that exists within the metal community. The aim of these well-known British extreme metal musicians is clear: to fuckin’ rock in classic heavy metal fashion. The monolithic hand giving the horns on the cover artwork perfectly encompasses the music and attitude within. There’s nothing new under the sun, just the power of double bass drums, heavy riffs, good ol’ shredding and soaring vocals that pay homage to yesterday’s (and in some cases, still today’s) metal heroes. The might of Priest, Accept, Manowar, Riot and especially Saxon, amongst others, is conjured up though not plagiarized. This is all “new” unadulterated heavy/power metal, and had the names of the musicians involved been undisclosed, I’d have never guessed they are related to extreme metal bands.

Absolute Power starts with the title-track, which is one of the faster, more power metal oriented songs, and like other songs from the album it sports the talent of guest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens, who supports the Biff Biford-sounding Simon Efemey. Another high-profile guest is guitarist Brian Tatler of Diamond Head fame, who provides some extra soloing. However, the core member themselves are more than capable of writing solid material, and most of the other songs range from highly enjoyable to a bit uneventful. Actually, the pair of two-minute songs is the weak share of the bunch. “The Hidden Battle” wouldn’t totally be out of place as the soundtrack of a fantasy-themed RPG, but as an interlude in the middle of the album it feels a bit like filler. And the brief ballad “Circles” doesn’t adds much to the table, maybe serves as a calm buildup for the amazing closer that is “Faster than the Speed of Evil”, my favorite track, again featuring the sky-high shrieks of Mr. Owens, and as it name implies, the faster song on Absolute Power.

But as a whole, this record is rock-solid in terms of quality. There are plenty of sing-along choruses, like the ones found on the title-track, “Sea of Horns”, “Land of Steel” or the hard-rocking “Full Metal Roar”. Riffs are derivative stuff, but they are efficiently enough and manage to get you steadily headbanging. “Raging Pursuer”, has quite a propulsive rhythm, and wouldn’t be out of place in an early 80’s Priest album, while “Standard Bearer” feels a bit more modern mid-paced power metal, having an old Hammerfall vibe. The solos are totally 80’s shreddy stuff as expected, but they’re not overtly technical or flashy, and are usually short. As for the rhythmic section, it never gets to play at the forefront, yet it serves its purpose of providing the needed backbone, though I have to add that just like on Lock Up’s Necropolis Transparent, another recent album featuring Shane Embury’s bass, he is not heard much here, and it’s a shame, since he is an excellent bassist. In this case, the other instruments do not overpower his bass, it’s just that he mostly follows the guitar lines, vanishing in the process.

While far from being absolutely outstanding, Absolute Power is a lighthearted classic heavy/power metal album, and its good and reliable for what it is. For what one can hear, it seems that all the band members greatly enjoyed playing and recording this album, which was primarily available for download through Feto Records, although there was an intention of releasing physical copies as well. Whatever you choose to get, this is worthy and amusing. Truth is, I probably end up listening this more than many of the works of the regular bands from which these gentlemen come from.