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Still Alive; How Fitting - 85%

SweetLeaf95, May 22nd, 2017

Stumbling upon something like this is always going to have me guessing what it's gonna sound like before even giving it a go. Anytime I catch wind of a newer traditional metal band, it's inevitable that it has to be checked out. Upon first listen of this, the vocals caught me extremely off-guard, but I mean that in a good way. Obviously until recently, the name Mandy Martillo never rang a bell, but I've certainly never heard a voice like this one. The way that she is able to carry such a melodic tune and stay on key while keeping up with the fast groundwork of the riffs is super impressive. Even on the slower moments, such as the beginning of the title track "Satan's Hallow", the unique overlay is still present, despite dropping the range down.

Another surprising factor was how upbeat it all sounds. With an album (and band) titled Satan's Hallow, the first thing that pops into my head is deep, doomy, stormy riffs. Did this ever prove me wrong, as "Reaching For The Night" busts out fast, upbeat guitar parts that you could find in any NWOBHM record at the time. This stays consistent throughout, no signs of doom anywhere. Every riff and solo is clean and crystal clear, due to such a fine production. Despite this, there's not a lot that the bass has to offer, but the lead guitar draws enough attention to it to make up for that. "Moving On" displays some of the best guitar team work, fading out of a very energetic solo with a hard, crunchy riff to re-introduce a powerful vocal return.

There isn't much else to elaborate on, seeing that this is probably the most straightforward record of the year, and other reviewers basically nailed it all. Don't let that turn you off, because it doesn't drag on, and executes what was intended perfectly. A must listen for any fan of the early metal acts.