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Heavy metal: not just a good idea, it's the LAW! - 75%

0kill, March 5th, 2009

Whoever said you can’t judge a album by it’s cover obviously never listened to Metal Law.

Yes, our Germanic four-piece retro-metal outfit is back after 2007’s surprisingly good Night of the Wolf. This time, instead of writing a concept album about Werewolves, they are writing a concept album about metal. Yes, no cliché is left unturned by our intrepid warriors of steel, be it lyrical or musical. Originality is given a big middle finger and forced to take a backseat to unadulterated worship of 80’s heavy metal icons.

In other words, this album owns. Sometimes pretty hard.

The guys of Metal Law realize that there is no reason to reinvent the wheel, so they don’t try. Hammerfall, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar, and Running Wild are the key influences behind this album, and you have to give the guys credit for blending said influences together so nicely. Too often when retro-metal bands set out to recreate the music of their idols, they get too caught up in just trying to sound like one band, and end up sounding like a worthless knock off. Metal Law weaves their homogeneous-yet-distinctive influences together well enough that you feel like you are hearing something new even if though you know you aren’t.

The flaws on this album are mostly on the technical side. The guitar tone sucks butt out of a can (for those of you familiar with Fireaxe’s work, I think they were using the exact same tone), and is especially strange in light of the competent sound on their first album. Also, while bands like Kaledon layer their vocals to the point of idiocy, Metal Law ridiculously layers their guitars. On some tracks, I can count four guitars playing at once. Completely retarded.

Anyways, Lawbreaker is a fun play from start to finish. It begins (not counting the pointless synth intro) with the mid-paced anthem Crusaders of the Light, which is reminiscent of the better parts of Hammerfall’s Crimson Thunder. The album really gets going when the almost embarrassingly pirated riff (it’s scant a note away from Death or Glory and is surprisingly the only instance of piracy [pun originally unintended, but I eventually figured it out] on this album) of Right to Rock kicks in. From then on, the album keeps the listeners attention fairly well, with a few boring moments and a lame ballad (made worse by the singer’s annoying habit of pronouncing ‘sword’ ‘serd’), but a lot of catchy riffs, cool solos, and fun lyrics.

From a musical standpoint, this album isn’t as good as Night of the Wolf. The guitar tone alone is liable to turn many people off to this album. Nevertheless, those who can get past the technical flaws will be treated to a pretty sweet tribute to the greatness of heavy metal.