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Brilliant take on classic metal - 90%

AlexRoy666, July 17th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Stormspell Records (Limited edition)

There seems to be resurgence in old school sounding heavy metal nowadays. Talented bands have already been signed, and new ones are popping up everywhere it seems. Some of the most prominent bands to really embrace this sound are Sweden’s Enforcer, Canada’s Skull Fist and Cauldron and now it seems Melbourne, Australia’s Elm Street. Elm Street, a band from Melbourne has combined the traditional elements of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with the sound of the Bay Area thrash movement. Using that vibe of bands from those movements and adding their own style, Elm Street have forged a sound that clearly conveys the traditional sound of the genre with a new, heavy sound that can be seen as some serious competition for many bands that are currently making their mark on heavy metal today.

The band writes intense, catchy songs that stand out in the genre because there seems to be resurgence in the more traditional sound of 80’s metal, which Elm Street captures on their debut album. Barbed Wire Metal is a surprising debut record, one that offers listeners a chance to experience a familiar, yet refreshing sound that has made heavy metal a timeless genre of ear splitting music, and in a way brings you back to the genre’s finest decade. This debut is a collection of heavy hitting energetic heavy metal and it’s an accomplished record with excellent musicianship from these young head bangers. The album starts off with the title track and it sets the tone for what’s to come.

With the third song, however, the band have got their first “rocker” type tune in Elm’s Street Children, which boasts a catchy riff, and tight rhythm playing from guitarist Ben Batres, who is also the band’s vocalist. The rest of the tracks are skillfully put together and there seems to be a dull moment that makes Barbed Wire Metal lacking in quality. Other standouts are Heavy Metal Power, Merciless Soldier and the epic sounding Metal Is The Way that closes the record on a high note, leaving the listener wanting more from this band. With such a stellar debut under their belt, these musicians are keen to carve their place in heavy metal lore. With Barbed Wire Metal, we have a collection of tunes that bring back the old school elements that made metal so much fun to listen to. This is the type of album that should be in every metalheads collection. The songs are tight, melodic and refined with a vibe that captures what is so great about the genre.

In their short, but impressive career, the band has toured with Iced Earth and has amassed a strong following in Australia. With such a solid debut album, it’s interesting to see what these headbangers will do to outdo themselves, and it that regard, we are all awaiting their follow-up to this impressive, confident slab of pure sounding heavy metal. We can all expect that Elm Street will continue to deliver the same raw energy that they’ve displayed on Barbed Wire Metal.

"if Megadeth and early Anthrax had a baby..." - 87%

ReaperMan, January 6th, 2012

Miles above albums that have been put out recently by traditional thrash heavyweights, Melbourne’s Elm Street have crafted a masterpiece of a debut album in Barbed Wire Metal. These songs are so well-crafted and are delivered with an enthusiasm that is hard to find in the modern metal scene. The drums and lead guitars stand out, but the album is without faults performance-wise. Overflowing with fist pumping thrash metal anthems, Barbed Wire Metal is an uplifting listen in a genre often dominated by doom and gloom. Ben Batres’s Dave Mustaine-like vocals combine well with campy lyrics about horror icons and the worship of metal to create an album that is, more than anything, fun.

For my initial review of this album I described it as if Megadeth and early Anthrax had a baby, and that baby was awesome. The comparison still stands, but Barbed Wire Metal is even more of a triumph compared to releases this year by both of those bands. If only the thrash godfathers could sound as invigorated as this.