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Stallion > Slaves of Time > Reviews
Stallion - Slaves of Time

Wake Up (All) Your Sorrows And Leave Them Far Behind! - 89%

CHAIRTHROWER, March 28th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, High Roller Records (Slipcase)

Soldiering onwards with flash-point driven and raw, equitably equine and galloping, turbo charged ardour and compunction amidst new world, er, wave of traditional heavy metal dragnet is Weingarten (Baden-Württemberg)'s heart rate challenging Stallion, with third full-length in six years, titled Slaves of Time, available on both CD and 12" vinyl under "Sverige"'s "timeless" High Roller Records. Excessive "und"s notwithstanding, these on-the-rise (& ride) Central European decimators have conjured ten contiguously ripping cuts which measure up, if not slightly surpass, lot ascribed to metal World in 2017 with second focus, From The Dead, in itself, a brave and "enslaved" precursor, as well as step up, from backward efforts.

Except for filler-affecting, mid-point interrupter "Brain Dead" (more on this later), Slaves of Time - which we all are, really, come to think of it, since roughly LP's late Feb admonition - does justice to its surplus forty-some minutes, beginning with schizophrenic, oddly "riff ziggurat-ed" opener "Waking the Demons" (a prosaic yet effective title, no-how, for what sounds sorta like Cauldron, Widow or High Heeler), as it launches straight into harried and razor-sharp mid-to-cranked tempo fulminations sure to enrapture at drop of a peevishly hifalutin jockey cap. Its sped-up, thrash-y as eves about-race at 02:17 instigates loftily cramped and no-less "feverish" bouts of scrap-yard, jaw-bone flinging, rampantly revved up gesticulations, of both (a) sonic and tonic (mis)order.

S. of T.'s totally un-succinct successor, "No Mercy", alongside further downwind, huckleberry snortin' revelation within "Time to Reload", fascinatingly brings to mind a vestigial Tankard-meets-Anthrax type missive, while also (s)carrying on tradition, as well as torn, (heavy) metal flag, much in way as done for said anterior release, back whence Land was saner, more sanguine, salubrious place (and even then!). Actually, we'd have to take your temp(erature) and check your pulse, should latter fail to assiduously pump n' flex muscles, nerves, overbites, clefts, you name it! (Hence, kangaroo boxing battle wounds worn proudly.)

Admittedly, and although I don't overly care, that is, am left neither hot, cold, tepid or lukewarm, in regards to front jack Pauly's (who chooses to abscond, perhaps wisely, on surname) rasp-caved, oft times shouty, at some, outright scream-y, bar/Sturgis (SD, USA) motor bike show-conducive interposing, refrains are hard to resist; (the) same goes for more commercial, not to mention visually rendered, "All In" -- pure, unadulterated or (un)encumbrate'd Stallion, yo!

Leads, particularly on last cut, scorch and sizzle thanks to old hand/hat (band) Äxxl, alongside newcomer to (stampede) floor, Clode Savage - of Invisible Mirror and Piranha score, while often exhibiting wickedly ambient, or rather, fully developed and fretboard worthy style reminiscent, largely (so), of Steelwing, Ambush, Air Raid, Skull Fist, and latter's on-the-[p]rize protege, from Mexico, Hellmidian (not to mention fellow countrymen Booze Control). Squaring off line-up, this "time" around (argh!), is bassist Christian Stämpfe, of Moros - not my clan, btw, if going by own surname - and drummer Aaron (no surname), of Pyre Procession. In any event, don't notice any inherent difference, battery-wise, although production sounds somewhat better.

Now, by no means, is "Brain Dead" really that bad. Instead, it's more a question of innovation gone off the ramp, as feels too alien and maverick, in a dark, too-evil and caustic, un-Stallion kind of manner, if such makes sense, however dense. Power ballad "Die With Me" surprisingly holds the reigns tight, particularly during its mellifluously exerted chorus - certainly a first, as well as next step-up, for Pauly. In fact, "Die With Me" harbours one of, if not "the", rockiest, downright coolest guitar solos on record, here, prior to seething and soothing return to burn-dressing form (plus additional kick-ass, killer, kolorful leads which seem to go on forever!).

Aside from goat ruffling nail-on-scratchboard feeling procured from all-too gentrified - thankfully, very brief! - coda to "All In", have no right(s) to formulate or address nary complaints in Stallion's wound up and revved, pedal through the floor method of untidy composure (in all its metal madness/radness). At risk of evoking half-job-in' bum (omitting on second half play-by-play), will state thus: each song, thereafter middle of Slaves of Time, simply steps up in/its volume, volition and validation! For serious metal heads who dig their riffs tough, leathery and loud, whilst putting up with imperfect front man.

(That said, bet my next windfall Stallion's fourth instalment will trump, with no room for compromise or argument, this here hoof-stomping foray - definitely no forage [foliage].)

Worshipping the eighties in an inspired way - 75%

kluseba, March 14th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, High Roller Records (Slipcase)

Stallion is a German quintet that celebrates classic heavy metal of the eighties on its third studio record Slaves of Time. Its mixture of heavy, speed and thrash metal is truly energetic and in the spirit of the golden era of said genres. The youngsters already sound like experienced veterans with tight rhythm section, energetic guitar play, diversified vocals and appropriate production for the instrumental work.

Especially the vocals are noteworthy, sounding like a mixture of Judas Priest's Rob Halford and King Diamond in the late eighties and early nineties. Highlights include the pitiless ''No Mercy'' with its energetic gang shouts and variable vocals that could even appeal to extreme metal fans thanks to their pitiless delivery. ''Time to Reload'' shows the band's more melodic side and has obvious hard rock influences in the key of AC/DC without sounding too bland, conservative and predictable thanks to excellent guitar play and emotive vocals. ''Die with Me'' clocks in at seven minutes and turns out to be a haunting power ballad that could come from Accept in its best years.

This very good album however has a few flaws as well. First of all, the heavily nostalgic songwriting is at times quite predictable and missing an own note to offer a creative take on the genres it worships with so much passion. The second and most important flaw is the echoing effect on the lead vocals that gets rather nerve-firing after a while. While the instruments sound precise, organic and dynamic, the vocals seem to have been recorded in a cave. Perhaps the band wanted to give the album a unique sound or add some underground production value with this but the combination of the excellent instrumental sound and the flawed vocal mastering is an odd mismatch.

In the end, Stallion's appropriately titled Slaves of Time is a feast for fans of hard rock, heavy metal and thrash metal of the late eighties and early nineties. Instead of spinning the classics by Accept, Judas Priest, King Diamond, Running Wild and W.A.S.P., you should give these five motivated German youngsters a chance. They certainly don't reinvent the genres they are worshipping but especially the charismatic vocals and excellent guitar play elevate this record above so many exchangeable heavy metal revival groups around the world these days.

March Of Time - 75%

Sweetie, February 28th, 2020

Stallion are a recent act out of Germany that aim to add to the pile of traditional revival. Forming in 2013, they’ve focused most of their style towards the speed metal end. Their third full-length album Slaves Of Time continues down this path. But repeated listens reveal a lot more influence than what that cut-and-dried description would lead you to believe. I truly think that this would sit well with heavy, speed, thrash, glam, and rock ‘n roll junkies.

The heavier songs are very front-loaded, which was likely meant to grab the attention of those who prefer their music a bit more extreme. “No Mercy” is all but a thrash song, churning out pissed off riff after riff. The only thing that dilutes it down is the welcoming chorus. Drastic changes in attitude are a strong point for these heavier songs, which can be found immediately in “Waking The Demons.” The solo completely shifts the rhythms constructed on major scales to a lead attack from minor ones.

The deeper you go, the more you can pick up the direct influences. Vocally, this brings falsettos to complete overdrive, which I’ll admit was overdone past the max. Naturally, that lets on later Judas Priest vibes. “Brain Dead” is way too close to “Painkiller” for comfort, as if they dropped that song into a blender and poured it into a different shape. “All In” manages to whip up some King Diamond vocals near the end, despite a slight drop in intensity.

Side B of Slaves Of Time dials a lot of this over-saturation back. You’ll find more rock ‘n roll tropes and dashes of sleaze, leading these songs to be more consistent and balanced on the traditional spectrum. “Kill The Beast” has the best fret-board attacks, and “Meltdown” follows this perfectly, closing the disc on a note that expresses Stallion’s shredding abilities. The best song, however, is a ballad in the middle that divides both sides, titled “Die With Me.” The vocals don’t lose any energy, and the clean melodies with somber riffing are fucking beautiful. Even with the emotional peak, it remains so powerful.

Admittedly, this was a harder disc to dissect, since there’s so much brought to the table for something that should feel straightforward. There are two things that hold Stallion back from being great. For one, their vocalist needs to tackle more range, so that it doesn’t get tiring. A more solid flow and consistency would be the perfect finishing touch. But I won’t pretend that this isn’t an enjoyable listen, and anyone who likes heavy albums that aren’t extreme should give this a listen.

Originally written for Indy Metal Vault