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The Atlantis of NWOBHM Will Always Be... - 90%

RickJames, February 29th, 2008

I really don’t know why I didn’t find this album sooner, I'm still slapping myself. For the past few years, I’d been stuck in a real rut, dissatisfied with a great deal of black metal that everyone knows I listen to. It was at this time that I decided to put down black metal for a while and develop some listening attitudes of speed, thrash, and 80s power metal. I came upon Satan (who has went through several name changes), and thanks to the mp3 contributions made by my comrade DeathFog (hails, dude), I was able to immerse myself in NWOBHM that seemed fresh to me, something that would really give me some understanding of the genre and a very good foundation with which to pursue my higher education in NWOBHM.

It was after some time I kept investigating with some success here and there, but finally, it was when I found this immeasurably worth-filled gem that I could not put it down at all. What I found made me search for even more NWOBHM. Continually listening to this has made me seek older NWOBHM such as this: Diamond Head, Quartz, Tygers of Pan Tang and so on.

Every song on this album is magnificent; I couldn’t and still can’t get past the fact that I hear so much psychedelic rock influences, along with a strong blues feel, that are ingrained into the this album. One can notice these features by checking the organ playing throughout some songs, and the intros to many songs have a psychedelic effect, especially the tranquil, yet ethereal “Gorgon”, which is a personal favorite of mine. Also notable, is in the strong usage of occult and mystical lyrical content – both are markers of psychedelic rock.

It is this kind of nostalgic content and solos and that remind of Thin Lizzy (“Gorgon”, “The Sorcerer”) that make the album stuck in a vacuum, which I greatly appreciate from these guys. Perfect instrumentation and production (lovely, lovely bass I might add), not to mention the vocal delivery of Kevin Heybourne amplifies the performance from his repertoire of high-pitched shrieks to sustained vibrato on his falsettos. Everyone has already said enough about the well-pointed out addictive, fistitude*-filled proto-thrash riff of Atlantis, and I love the doomy twang that is “The Sorcerer”. What I thought topped it all off, however, is the grandiose, brooding "Angel of Death", signified by the commanding vocals of Heybourne, again! It’s terribly electrifying hearing his ‘ANGEL OF DEA-A-A-A-A-ATH’ throughout, which galvanizes the magnitude of the song especially. The conclusion of the track is just the imperial mark of NWOBHM, complete with grand, refined guitar work, and finally that overwhelming sensation that doom is imminent.

This album is difficult, if not impossible, to surpass. The entire album is spotless, and the magic of nostalgia makes for an even stronger force to resist giving it a 100, even if I wasn’t born in 1980 (heh, whatever). The sense of adventure brought about by Heybourne's incessantly satisfying riffs will never cease to amaze me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got more Angel Witching to be done.

*NOTE: Fistitude – fist-pumping attitude; a rather strong, epic, or otherwise kick-ass sensation that induces fits of fists (and/or horns) being pumped in the air. (Coined by yours truly, circa 2006.)