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OK But Not Worth Hanging & Giving Up Left Hand For - 78%

CHAIRTHROWER, August 8th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Independent

Ah, Earache's good 'ol Heavy Metal Killers Compilation from 2009...what a fine collage of fist-pumping, foot-stomping all around heavy metal hurrah for rivet heads everywhere! While many of the bands featured carved themselves a compelling swath through the hard-rocking underground, a few unassumingly fanned out without further fanfare, notably Finland's caustically raw Cast Iron and the Netherlands's predominantly NWOBHM-ish Powervice. This last churned out a largely forgotten quarter hour demo in 2005 titled Behold The Hand Of Glory, comprised of three mildly promising tracks: an ever predictable self-title, "Nightstalker" and a longer, apocalyptic epic in the blandly titled "The End Is Coming".

For those who need to brush up on their black magic wizardry and lore, a "Hand Of Glory" is cryptically obtained by dipping the left hand of a hanged man in candle wax and reciting a token, darkly nefarious incantation, by then lighting up the putrid digits as candles thereby allowing its unholy bearer safe and unimpeded passage in order to carry out all manner of sordid deeds i.e. anyone unfortunate to be in its loathsome presence will be afflicted by utter paralysis and debilitation whilst still being able to see/ be cognizant of what's going on. Nice.

Back to the matter at hand (!), I'm taken by the first track, "Behold the Hand of Glory" proper, as it revolves around a swift, catchy and super melodic White Wizzard meets Blackslash minor-key guitar riff and an unmistakably Iron Maiden evoking solo. At only three-minutes, it made sense to include it on the HMKs compilation as it classically encompasses a tell-tale sound of the insurgent "new wave of traditional heavy metal". At first listen, I thought Powervice was Swedish as it also heavily harkens to Enforcer's compelling gem of a sophomore release, 2010's Diamonds. With his slight accent tinged bent, the vocalist readily brings to mind the Gothenburg outfit's Olof Wikstrand. Also, the crisp, conservative level of production is akin to Diamonds as well as White Wizzard's pinnacle, the cool High Speed GTO EP from 2009.

"Nightstalker" to my ears sounds very early Maiden-ish i.e "Killers" (the track) from 1981, especially the lugubriously pummeling bass/ guitar undertow commencing at 02:37. Although certainly not pedantic, with its slick, sinister lead break and obvious nod to the masters of yesteryear, I still find "Nightstalker" somewhat mundane compared to the more engaging title track and the next, (lock up your sons and daughters!) "The End Is Coming". Kicking off with a coyly serpentine lick sure to tickle your noggin which cloyingly gluing itself to your ribs, Powervice displays a knack for remembrance of days gone by once its haunting clear guitar progression and suave, emotional leads come into play, after which a ramped up second half spirals through the gates by way of reverb and a tight return to form.

All in all, Powervice's Behold the Hand of Glory is a fun, non-commitall demonstration of modern-day NWOBHM adulation and reverence; unfortunately, its banality is what holds it back for now anyways. It's time the boys re-group, chop hands and cast spells once again.

One of the better retro heavy metal bands - 79%

kluseba, December 7th, 2011

Powervice are one of many retro heavy metal bands that are clearly influenced by the hard rock and emerging heavy metal music of the late seventies and the early eighties. They are as solid as genre colleagues such as Bullet, Vanderbuyst, White Wizzard and so on. The band only released one demo tape in 2005 but this could also be a tape from 1982 in the middle of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. They got a record deal but for some unknown reason they split up before they could bring out something promising. The guitar player of the band, Selim Lemouchi, later founded the occult blackened hard rock band The Devil's Blood with his sister and experienced a different kind of music. This band from the underground got some massive media support in the last years, especially by the German Rock Hard magazine and became unexpectedly more or less famous.

What we have here is very solid heavy metal that should please to the fans of bands such as Diamond Head, Iron Maiden or Shy. It's a perfect album for nostalgic hours and to hit the open road during summer time. I like the edgy and smoky vocals on this demo that adds a lot of energy and authenticity to the sound of the band that distinguishes them from other retro bands of the same genre. The music itself has also some changes of style as the atmospheric middle parts in "Nightstalker" and especially the diversified "The End Is Coming". Slower and almost doom passages are mixed with energizing up tempo metal parts in this great track. The discordant guitar tunes make me even think of some grunge influences. As you read this you may understand that this band could have made it very far and been one of the better bands of a worn out genre. They could have found their very own style and are already diversified and charismatic enough to convince on this short demo tape. Powervice surprised me in a positive way.

If you like good old heavy metal with some variety and edges and look for alternatives to your old records and the high amount of mediocre retro rock bands, this tape could be what you need and you should definitely check this out. The three songs really grew on me and left me wanting more. Heavy metal is still alive thanks to the unknown fallen heroes of the present days such as these guys from the Netherlands.