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you really can't go wrong with NWOBHM - 72%

UltraBoris, August 5th, 2004

This really isn't an amazing album in any way, especially considering that it is 1984, not 1980, but what it does, it does well. It's similar to Diamond Head's seminal "Lightning to the Nations", and fans of that album should certainly enjoy this one as well. Both have a combination of more rockish and more epic-classical numbers, and the mix of the two is effective on here, possibly even more so than on Lightning, as this one doesn't have anything as overtly AC/DC-bent as "Sweet and Innocent"...

What does it have? One nifty opener, to set things alight with a crash - slightly suffuse, trebly guitar tone that is par for the course for the early 1980s, combined with a textbook NWOBHM vocal approach... bellowing, without any overt high notes - projecting power and melody at the same time. Again, there isn't anything really unexpected about anything to be found here, but what it does, it does well. For 1981, this would be groundbreaking. Here, it's sort of middle-of-the-pack, and a bit late on the ball chronologically, but not in any way BAD. It's classic heavy metal... lots of solos, identifiable proto-power riffs, NWOBHM at its most average is not that much differentiable from NWOBHM at its finest, and that is a good thing.

Nightstalker opens with a riff vaguely reminiscent of some of the more melodic DH (Borrowed Time, to be specific), though here the riff is in full distortion from the beginning, and the song then explodes into a typical power-metal structure. A bit of an interlude leads into the more epic second-half (last two thirds?) of the album, with the march of the damned leading into the march-like Gates of Gehenna, with the one obligatory falsetto refrain... then another shorter, hit single styled number - Crack the Whip, but again this is more Sucking My Love than Shoot Out the Lights.

Finally, the absolute highlight of the album - the last two songs. Cloven Hoof and Return of Passover... both of these are long, epic, and the final moments of the last song are a complete bow to standard classical music, with the outro bit simultaneously invoking The Prince and Screaming for Vengeance... pure fucking heavy metal - let us march forth into battle and rule! I have a vinyl rip, and the extra touch of distortion on the rhythm guitar while the lead wails away is just fucking perfect. Then throw in the extra Green Manalishi vocals... these guys did their research, and did it well.

Do you like it heavy? Do you love it mean? Do you hate shitcore? This is the album for you. One of many.