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Young & Hungry And It Shows! - 100%

CHAIRTHROWER, September 27th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2009, 2CD, Earache Records (Limited edition)

I owe much of my re-emerging fondness for heavy metal (and further inherent discoveries) to Earache's 2009 Heavy Metal Killers CD my mom - God bless her! - brought me back from a trip to England while visiting my sister and her brood. Unearthing gems such as Enforcer's "Mistress From Hell", Portrait's "A Thousand Nightmares", Cast Iron's "Running From The Law" and RAM's "Sudden Impact" was exciting enough but whoo-eee! - it was Cauldron's "killer" single, "Chained Up In Chains" which literally made me freak out, jump up & down, and count my chickens (basilisks?) before they hatched; meaning I animatedly raced down to Montreal's Sound Central music store - prior to it becoming a well-missed relic in this digital Age - and snatched up the nascent trio's limited edition double CD full-length debut Chained To The Nite without missing a beat. Needless to say, its super salacious, 80s retro/ Ratt style cover withstanding, I was amply rewarded.

Front man/ bassist Jason Decay (formerly of Goat Horn) and his acolytes - axe man Ian Chains and drummer Steel Rider - cruise right into a most epochal heavy metal anthem in "Young And Hungry" and never let up, be it on the mind-blasting shred fest - as well as Cauldron's finest hour composition wise - "Conjure The Mass" or highly incremental, suspense-filled dirges such as the haunting "The Leaven/ Fermenting Enchantress"/ closer "Restless" and kick-ass, galloping stomper "Midnight Hour", whose insanely powerful build-up and jarring cadence will likely make you grip the edge of your seat for its entire duration. Phew! Its running "chains" theme aside, this Canadian classic is assuredly one for the ages!

Although it's not the Pembroke, ON native's first rodeo, nor will it be his last (three more Cauldron releases follow, and while they're all commendable, fail to top this one), Jason Decay astoundingly hits the bulls-eye vocal wise; utterly liberating and chill to a fault, his drawn-out and at times halting, breathless verses coast magnificently from one to the next, fitting the strong, soaring riffs like ball bearings on a track while melodiously peaking on the choruses as well as in and out of lead breaks like he does on the stunning, ethereal masterpiece which is "Chained Up In Chains", unarguably an instantly gripping gem in its own right. I apologize for this gushing bit of fan boy-ism but frankly, it's duly warranted. The opening clean guitar progression is flawlessly executed and melodic as hell, exuding a super cool, feel good vibe whilst also soon giving way to a swift and expressive guitar riff backed by a thumping, prong-y bass line and poised drum beat alongside Decay's vivacious and vivid vocalizations (never mind the oxymoron!). Now, I was tempted to quote its opening verses but after due consideration, felt it would besmirch (spoil) the joy of discovery. All the same, here's the fresh, lively chorus in all its glory:

"Chained up in chains under the moonlight
I’m trying hard to make it alright
She’ll never make it out here all night
No other, blinded by her sight"

Not only is Jay an evocative and spell-binding singer but a competent bassist as well - dig his "haranguing", prodding bass line on "Dreams Die Young" or thick, menacing tones on "The Leaven/ Fermenting Enchantress" and "Witch Trail". That said, Chained To The Nite is unique as far as gritty, heavy hitting production values go; unfortunately, later releases fail to sound as genuine and vintage. Along with its "old school" flair and stellar musicianship, this is what makes the debut so great and unmatched thus far.

As far as Cauldron's succession of drummers go, Steel Rider (!) is unequivocally the more forceful of the three, suppling bursts of rapid-fire machine gun-like beats on the harder hitting tracks such as "Dreams Die Young" and "The Striker Strikes" while keeping things level and steady without too many deviations on mid-tempo fare such as opener "Young And Hungry" or the later chill-axed Black N' Blue cover "Chains Around Heaven", where Decay unfailingly reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne at the height of his solo career (i.e. Blizzard Of Ozz, Diary Of A Madman). However, it's specifically on another prime number, "Midnite Hour", where he totally blows me away: not only from the start as the song gradually builds up in intensity, or when things gratifyingly take off as Decay opens 'er up with "A horse storms backwards into town/ Glowing bright without a sound/ Takes whatever can be found..." while mixing in an equally pumping bass line but notably right after the sinisterly graceful guitar solo when the repeatedly crashing drum beat sounds like it's whoosh-ing in reverse! It's crazy stuff, egregiously adding a whole new dimension to an already enthralling track. It's hard to pick top selections, but I'd say this one as well as the first three are what immediately turned me into an inveterate "Cauldron-ite".

Last but not least, Ian Chains (!!) overwhelmingly deserves an accolade for bringing his high-flying, at times fancifully neo-classical fretwork to the fore. Again, he shines brilliantly throughout this affair, especially on "Young And Hungry", "Conjure The Mass", "Chained Up In Chains", "Dreams Die Young", "Midnite Hour" and "The Striker Strikes". While he tones things down a notch on following releases, make sure to catch his fine-tuned progress on Cauldron's latest opus, last year's "In Ruin", which, while perhaps not as stupendously great as Chained To The Nite, does a fine job of stamping the group back where it belongs on Canada's metal map.

The only somewhat humdrum track is "Bound To The Stake" as it never really takes off like the others, rather mildly turning in circles like a bewitched, stunted carousel; it's not a bad track at all - it simply pales in comparison to the ones which come before and after. This is no biggie considering it casually sits nicely in the middle without detracting from the album's wicked aura. (Also, props must be given to the gal on the cover for being such a good sport!).

Not only has Cauldron's Chained To The Nite kept me sane during an especially grueling, week long cross-Canada dirty dog, er, Greyhound bus ride and re-launched my faith in heavy metal, but also paved the way for my discovery of other compelling Toronto metal bands such as Call Of The Wild, Midnight Malice (unfortunately both now defunct), Phantom and Skull Fist. Suffice to say, I so desired to do it justice I prayed to my higher power in order to get it right as it's easily, without a shadow of a doubt, among my top ten favorite albums of all time. If you've yet to hear it, heed my words and make a beeline for it NOW!

"A youthful struggle has come to be
The time is now for all to see
So make your fortune come true
And go fulfill your need

You've had this dream all of your life
The time is now to end your strife
Head down the path you choose
The time has come

We are calling out
We're shouting out
Will we be heard?
We are young... and hungry!"

The mighty Cauldron. - 88%

ralfikk123, August 5th, 2011

O Canada, such great metal comes from thee. For me, Anvil has always been the best metal band that Canada had to offer, but as of lately I am beginning to have doubts. I first heard of Cauldron around 2009 or 2010 when someone mentioned these guys and said they are one of the best bands out of the whole revival movement. Now at first I was a bit hesitant to give these guys a listen, but after a while I decided to go on YouTube and search these dudes up. The first thing that came up was their single "Chained Up In Chains", which on my first listen I did not like at all. I though to myself, "Why on earth do people considered these guys an awesome band? I can't see anything great about these guys." However, there was something about that song that made me come back to it many times, and after awhile the song grew on me and I couldn't stop listening to it. After that I decided to buy the full album and experience Cauldron to the fullest.

Now I won't go into a long review that details every song because each one of them pretty is consistent and you will not be bored when listening to them. This album consists of down right fast, aggressive songs such as "Dreams Die Young", "Chained Up In Chains", and slower songs such as "Young and Hungry", and "Bound to the Stake." My favorite song off the album is the 6 minute epic "Fermenting Enchantress", (I completely have no idea what it talks about), which starts out slow with a stunning riff that picks up speed, and then continues with more stunning riffs and lyrics. When speaking of the instruments, the band is somewhat limited. I know everything is done separately, but the band member who sings has to limit both his playing and vocal duties if they would ever want to succeed live. Nonetheless, Jason still does a fantastic job singing and laying down those bass lines. Ian does some top notch guitar work (especially the solos), and although Steel Rider doesn't do anything extraordinary with the drums, he does not fall behind.

I want to conclude this review by saying that while Cauldron may not have the best vocalist out there, they overall have the better songs. I have enjoyed this album from start to finish, and although it took longer for it to grow on me, it has become one of my favorite albums. I have had this for quite a few months now and I still keep on coming back to it. It is safe to say that Cauldron, along with Enforcer, are the top dogs of the entire revival movement.

It flows... - 79%

SpyreWorks, June 23rd, 2010

When listening to an album, you can look at the album in two different ways: a collection of distinct musical pieces OR one musical piece split up into bits; you either focus on the album as a whole, or on the songs. If you look at this album as a collection of songs, you'd probably be inclined to rate it quite lowly, since the songs are indistinct, follow a basic formula and generally don't vary much. But if you look at it in a "whole album" perspective, it's a pretty good record!

The entire album has a flowing and whole quality to it -- the vocals have little range and are intoxicating in a monotonous way, the constantly pounding secondary instruments and the endless sharp guitar tone producing half-stoner half-thrash riffs puts you in a strange trance. After a few songs, you reach a crossroads in your experience wherein you might a) get really fucking and realize you have a headache or b) nod off to sleep. Now, am I saying that this is a bad album? Not at all, it's just special and unique, and I mean that in the least sarcastic way possible.

The music itself is definitely something you wouldn't mind flowing for a long time. Vocals are high-pitched (and stay high-pitched the whole damn time!), but lack punch of any kind most of the time -- there's no range, no real effort or force, which is a huge pity, because the instrumentation on the album is a thousand times better than the weak effort of the vocals. The riffs are (like I said earlier) half-thrash half-stoner riffs, a bit like newer High On Fire, which gives a nice speed/heavy metal quality to the music. The guitars have an interesting sound too (thanks to the great production): it's as if they were recorded very sharply with high treble, but then someone put a large damper over it. Like an extremely sharp knife that someone then put a blanket over -- it's still sharp, but it doesn't hurt as bad. As for bass, I just couldn't hear it. But I'm assuming that it was played majestically with lots of effort, since Jason Decay put almost zero effort into the vocals.

All in all, this is a good slab of speed stoner metal, if you enjoy flowing music about witches & bitches that sounds like it would be great to get wasted to. I hope these guys get a full-time singer who can sing or Jason tightens his act up a shitload, because the only thing that really detracts from this album is the monotony, which can easily be broken by a stronger and mightier singer. Highlights include "Chained Up In Chains", "Dreams Die Young", "Young and Hungry" and if you have the limited edition with bonus tracks "The Striker Strikes".

Where's the Pickle? - 60%

ChildOfTheDamned77, April 6th, 2010

Cauldron are a new band, already considered at the fore front of the NWOTHM (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal) that's kicking up some dust in the underground. It's pretty obvious that the band draw the majority of their influence from NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal Band) bands like Angel Witch, Grim Reaper, and Iron Maiden, as well as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and bands of that nature. Knowing that, and being a fan of both the NWOBHM and NWOTHM, I was excited to buy this album. But after listening to this album, I was more than a bit disappointed.

One thing that bugged me about this album was the way they spelled night in the title, but that really doesn't matter at all. I never really heard the "goofy" lyrics the albums songs were supposedly loaded with, but that's probably because I couldn't really get into these songs enough to actually pay attention to whatever Jason Decay (the vocalist) is saying/talking about. The rules for reviewing albums on Metal Archives say you're supposed to talk more about the songs themselves, not just the whole album in general, but if I did, I'd be repeating myself - this album's just bland.

There's a heavy Black Sabbath influence to the bands sound itself (probably being that most of the members were once in the doom metal band Goat Horn), but it really comes across as boring. Decay's vocals don't really give the band much more personality, either. His voice just doesn't click with the music at all. Imagine Taylor Swift fronting The Sword - it just doesn't work. His voice itself sounds reminiscent of Kevin Heybourne (Angel Witch), but whinier with the range of Ozzy Osbourne (virtually nonexistent). The songs all seem to run together, and the album itself just doesn't seem to show any razzle-dazzle.

In conclusion, Chained to the Nite isn't anything new. And it's not a "It's nothing new, but this still sounds cool and unique to some measure" kind of nothing-new attitude the majority of bands associated with this movement seem to have. The song Chained Up in Chains is worth a listen or two, but none more than any other NWOBHM obscurity you might find clicking around Youtube or a blog site or some other musical outlet. I think Cauldron are shaping up to be a real love-em'-or-hate-band, seeing the mixed reviews they seem to be getting. I'll be leaning more towards the hate-em' side of the debate, at least until they record and release some new and hopefully better material.

Definitely not an instant classic - 68%

DiscreetMachine, February 13th, 2010

Before listening to any of the tracks from this album, I was told that this band was many things. They sounded like "iron Maiden and Iced Earth with a hint of Rainbow", "like the guys from Saxon had intercourse with the guys from Angel Witch while the dudes from HammerFall watched". And I was a huge fan of lead singer Jason Decay's previous band, Goat Horn, who I really believed were headed for international fame and recognition. I was quite excited to review this album. But upon listening to the first track, my enthusiasm turned into confusion. I was confused that this band was going to "revolutionize the spirit of traditional heavy metal", I was confused that this was coming from the same guy who fronted one of the greatest Canadian metal bands of all time, and overall, I was confused about how a fairly goofy band has received worldwide attention.

Now, I'm not saying Cauldron are a bad band. I really do love the riffs and the melodies of the songs. I think in terms of riff writing, they really can be compared to their idols. Their image is also awesome, and they put on a hell of a good live show.

I'm just saying that what they're doing is nothing new. I mean, sure the songs are catchy and fun, but if I wanted catchy and fun, I'd reach for "Lightning To The Nations" or "Mob Rules". It's a far stretch to say that this is a bad thing, but honestly, when I heard about how good they were, I was expecting them to have a hint of originality and flair to their sound.

The vocals are pretty bland. Decay was never a great vocalist, even in Goat Horn, but atleast they went with the music. In Cauldron, he just seems like he's trying too hard, and it doesn't seem to work. He's obviously not trying to be the next Halford.
The lyrics are fairly goofy, but you can't blame them for this, because the songs are supposed to be like that.

I dunno. I'm not sure I really get this traditional metal tag. Hopefully the band will break up soon and Goat Horn will get back together. Until that happens, I think I'll play this record once more, and than leave it.

Cauldron - Chained to the Nite - 85%

mentalselfmutilation, July 6th, 2009

It's bands like this that have caused me to open up a passion for newer wave bands. The new wave of traditional metal is full of surprising and excellent bands, this one being one of them.

When I had first heard of Cauldron it was through a best friend whose cousin was the drummer for Goat Horn / early incarnation of this band. I didn't think much though of either band until I came across this release. Even though the days of the traditional metal classics are mostly over, Cauldron has reinvented the wheel in their own regard and made what could be a classic of their own. I'm usually much more pessimistic to a new album when it grabs me so suddenly, but this may just be an exception.

This carries everything you'd expect from older traditional/power metal bands from both lyrics and the riffs themselves, but takes advantage of the advances of modern recording that it still has a new luster to their tone. Most of the songs are pretty mid-paced and powerful, however I've got to say this album is incredibly catchy. We've all sang the choruses of Maiden and Priest, well this time around I can't help but sing along to tracks like "Bound to the Stake" "Young and Hungry" and "Chained Up in Chains" over and over again every time I play the album. The songwriting is incredibly solid, and this album can be enjoyed repeatedly, even in sequence while other albums become more dull with each listen, I find myself discovering something new to enjoy on this album with each spin.

This is definitely an excellent release, and a good indication of the direction of the more modern traditional/power metal bands who capture the old sound. This and White Wizzard are both highly recommended as the forefront of modern traditional metal bands! Get this if you can!

Fantastic Debut of Traditional Metal - 95%

Shadoeking, May 20th, 2009

This is the first full length album by Canadian heavy/thrash metal band Cauldron. Cauldron formed when the doom metal band Goat Horn broke up. They play a more traditional style of metal, sounding like a thrashier version of Iron Maiden or other NWOBHM bands. They released one EP prior to this album. This is definitely in the run for metal album of the year for me. The album is fast, fun, and catchy as hell.

Traditional metal has been on the upswing for the last several years. Cauldron joins a growing list of bands that play traditional metal that includes The Gates of Slumber, Grand Magus, Twisted Tower Dire, Wolf, and Icarus Witch. Cauldron's reference points are bands from the NWOBHM and early thrash metal bands like Slayer or Overkill.

The band plays short, choppy, staccato guitar riffs that call to mind Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer, over a galloping bass line, very similar to the style of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris, bringing the best of both styles together into a very well-done whole. The bass can always be heard very well in the mix, which is a good thing on this album because it is a major highlight. The guitar solos are incendiary, yet another influence from Maiden and their ilk. The drums are done capably but are not an outstanding feature of the music. They are played well, but the real focus of the band is on the riffing and the vocals.

Jason Decay provides the vocals for the band and, while he is not one of the better metal vocalists out there, his vocal style seems to fit reasonably well with the music. Decay's vocals bring to mind early Dokken, which is a bit of an unusual style. They are higher with a little bit of a whine to them. This is not a bad thing by any stretch, but they are something of a grower.

The lyrics are a little cheezy, the band certainly seems to have an affinity for chains. The album is titled "Chained to the Nite" and there are songs called "Chained Up in Chains" and "Chains Around Heaven". It's something of a theme. Despite the repetitiveness, the vocals are fun and do not detract from the music at all. The songs are extremely catchy and can easily become lodged in the brain for days at a time. Once again, that's not a bad thing.

The only complaint I really have is that my version comes with a bonus disk with just two songs on it. I am a little torn between liking and disliking that idea. On the one hand, the complete album is there and available to be listened to as the band intended. On the other hand, this is a short album, so why not include the bonus tracks at the end of the album? I guess ultimately I would prefer to have the bonus tracks at the end of the album instead of a separate disk. Just personal preference.

This album is fun and very catchy. The band sounds like they had a great time doing it which is communicated well to the listener. I look forward to seeing what the band does from here. This album is highly recommended to people looking for new metal bands that play the traditional genre the right way.