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Denim And Leather Poser Killers - 80%

Dragonchaser, January 24th, 2023
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Hellion Records

I had a wild time with Metal Inquisitor on 2014’s ‘Ultima Ratio Regis’, and thought I’d check out their supposed classic, 2005’s ‘Doomsday For The Heretic’, as this one caused a lot of fuss back in the day. I missed out on this band while they were still slashing away, although I did know of them, and considering the candy-ass power metal I was spinning daily back in 2005, this would’ve sounded old as time. It still does, and though I don’t like it as well as ‘Ultima Ratio Regis’, it’s still a feral attack of poser killing 80s metal.

Revivalist bands are all over the place these days, and that’s a cool thing for the most part, but they are paying tribute to a time long gone, a time most of them didn’t experience themselves. Metal Inquisitor came before all that, and for them, no metal album was released after 1985. Hell, they probably stopped buying albums the minute Metallica signed to Elektra, and they only listened to shit that came out before thrash got big. People call these guys thrash a fair bit. They aren’t, though. But they do steal a lot of riffs from ‘Kill Em All’ and ‘Killing Is My Business’. They use them to propel their songs but don’t make it the main attraction. Metal Inquisitor are just old school 80s metal all the way, pure denim and leather poser killers that riff you to death on ‘Doomsday For The Heretic’ as if this was going to be the last metal album before the end of the world. ‘Ultima Ratio Regis’ had a strong power/speed vibe, but this one reaches farther back than that, to a predominately NWOBHM sound that chops up bits and pieces from early Maiden, Priest, and Raven, then feeds it through a wood chipper of burgeoning US metal like Jag Panzer, Metal Church, Lizzy Borden, and Liege Lord, to create a fusion of British and US steel. The production is much dustier than on ‘Ultima’, and would be, considering it was only their second album and recorded nine years before it, so it doesn’t have that modern punch. Songs like ‘Logan’s Run’, ‘Star Chaser’, and ‘Restricted Agony’ sound like they were recorded in 1985 and found on a warped cassette in some gatekeeper’s basement. The production isn’t rough, though. The guitars sound smooth and well-defined, which works well with the riffs, as most of them don’t have the bite of thrash, more the cleaner sound of early Saxon and Priest. There aren’t as many twiddling guitar harmonies on this one, either; it’s just a nail-spiked bat of tight riff work and wild solos. Vocalist El Rojo sounds like he’s calling from a distance, and isn’t as nasal as he was on later works. He still sounds like Mark Shelton with some kind of attitude problem, but he’s not as eager or unhinged as he was on ‘Ultima’, and I kinda miss that approach.

There are some top songs on this like the driving title track and the speed metal blaster ‘M4-A1’, but this generally has an earlier metal feel than their other stuff, and would’ve sounded way off in 2005. Revivalist bands would kill to sound like this. Metal Inquisitor just had it right from the start, because to them, the 90s never happened. Metal never got over its classic period. It ended before it went to shit, and that makes this album cool as hell. I wouldn’t call this a lost classic by any means, but it has no weak moments at all, and if you fancy a metallic mix of old Maiden, Priest, Metallica, Saxon, Metal Church, Grim Reaper, and even Thin Lizzy, you’ll bang your head like a lunatic to ‘Doomsday For The Heretic’.