DARKNESS - XXIX
Review by Spirit In Black
Thrash Metal Command 'Darkness' hails from Germany, the 'Ruhrgebiet' to be more precisely. 'Darkness' is formed in 1984 and released a couple of albums until they broke up in the early 90's. In 2004, two original members decided to bring the band back to life, followed by re-releases of the old albums and a new album. The band is still alive today and proof that fact with a new EP called 'XXIX', released through Scare-Records.
The EP contains four old school Thrash Metal songs. If I have my information correct, 'L.a.W.' and 'Hate Is My Engine' are new songs of which 'L.a.W.' is a fast and raw thrasher with sometimes hysterical vocals, actually an old school Thrash Metal composition with a modern touch. 'Hate Is My Engine' can be described as an in-your-face thrash song, a bit combined with melodic parts. As for me, well I really like the guitars featuring this one!
'Death Squad' and 'Burial At Sea' are originally from Darkness’ debut full length entitled 'Death Squad', a mighty strong effort these days to be considered as a classic Thrash Metal album. They’ve re-recorded both tracks so the sound quality is equal to the sound of the new ones. Make up your own mind about which recordings are better… the original or the re-recorded. The old for nostalgic reasons, or the new ones because of a more refreshing sound? Just see for yourself is the only way out ! In my opinion, both versions are very good !
Without a doubt, old fashioned Thrash Metal maniacs with a good taste better watch for Darkness’ official homepage at: http://www.darkness-thrash.de/ being there, you’re just a few clicks removed from purchasing your own copy.
My rating: 80/100
DARK QUARTERER - ITHACA
(Metal On Metal Records)
Review by Sloof
Omega R (Omega Erre) was the original name of this band from 1974 till 1980, but they changed it into Dark Quarterer about 35 years ago. Some bands say it’s a long way to the top, but so far Dark Quarterer from Italy didn’t reach that height yet. The band, that encountered only few lineup changes, released already 5 albums and with this new, meanwhile sixth release, they hope to get more recognition from the music scene in general.
Metal On Metal Records cooperate with the band and support them all the way to get the band abroad of the Italian borders and spread their message of dark, esoteric topics with lyrics that are influenced by myths, legends, history and poems. The Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933) inspired the band with his poem ‘Ithaca’, one of his 154 poems that he wrote about the enjoyment of the journey of life and the increasing maturity of the soul as that journey continues.
Excerpts from the song: ‘And if you find her poor, Ithaca hasn’t deceived you. So wise you have become, of such experience, that already you have understood what these Ithacas mean.’ It all sounds pretty fiercely and truculent, and in a way it also reflects in the foundation of the songs. “The Path Of Life” is the opener and has a very beautiful opening. You simple hear that something is going to happen, something is ready to take place. It’s like an approaching thunderstorm that you can’t outrun, it’s simply something that you will have to experience.
When the vocals of Gianni Nepi start, you will agree that it adds a special vibe to the music of Dark Quarterer. Some might be surprised, perhaps a little disappointed will occur, but after listening several times to this album, I must admit that it simply fits to the music of the band. Another remarkable fact are the arrangements of the songs. You will get outstanding breaks, totally out of the blue, you will hear special twists in the structure of the songs, but when everything comes to place, you will agree that the material of Dark Quarterer offers a lot!
The music of Dark Quarterer partly reminds me of Dream Theater and Threshold, although the band claims that they received the good spirit and vibe from bands like GFR, King Crimson, Mountain, Iron Butterfly and some Epic elements from Manilla Road as well. The progrock that they deliver combines so many different styles that a few listens will be necessary to find out what this band is capable of!
I guess that I have a soft spot for this band, but the only warning that I want to add is: be cautious when the vocals reach higher regions, as Gianni Nepi is limited in his skills and range. A total duration of 56 minutes, divided over 7 tracks result in a very decent score of 85 points, and a band that can be proud on this achievement! Order right HERE. More band info at: https://www.facebook.com/DarkQuarterer
My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
DEFYANCE - REINCARNATION
Review by Nathan McLeod
Not the 'Bay Area' "Defiance", rather the 'Knoxville,Iowa, USA' based "Defyance"! Whom have been in existence since '1989'. Of almost a good 'solid' hour of material appearing on 'Reincarnation', truthfully cannot call it regarding whom these lads sound like, much less into 'influence's'?? There's 'numerous', 'mixed-up', 'combination's'. What is heard are mostly '80's' 'power-metal'. Hint here & there of some 'glam-rock' of the same era. Maybe some early 'Dream Theater'.
Sure, the 'Reincarnation' CD cover looks a lot like something from the 'early-80's' 'Journey' albums. NO, there's NO 'Steve Perry' vocal 'comparison's' to that of 'Brian Harrington's'. But, quite possibly some '70's' 'classic-rock' influences brought out with 'Defyance'. Some 'classier' 'Kevin DuBrow' vocals? (Rest In Peace) For ALL that may have served in the 'military', with the track names on 'Reincarnation', you can see what a lot of 'Defyance' are 'singing-performing' about with 'Rangers Lead The Way', 'Fix Bayonets', 'Devil Dogs'.
There are some 'galloping' 'heavy' riffs present in 'Passing Of The Night' & 'Rangers Lead The Way'. Even 'heavier' with the 'Riot' cover of 'Sign Of The Crimson Storm'! There is some 'over the top' 'symphony' 'orchestrated' backround music appearing on 'Loved Honor More'. Displays a HUGE 'musical' 'diversity' 'accomplishment'! 'Props' to 'Defyance'.
I can imagine seeing 'Defyance' in a HUGE ballroom/hall-type venue. 'Perfect' music for it with the 'exceptionally' 'crisp/clean' 'professional' 'kick-ass' production of 'Reincarnation'. (Give your audio engineer, production department an A+) Talented 'musician's amongst the ranks of 'Defyance' whom appear to take a 'real' 'professional' 'expert' 'marksman' approach to music!
My rating: 94/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)
'Reincarnation' track info:
1) High Ground, 2) Rangers Lead The Way, 3) Deeds Not Words, 4) Loved Honor More, 5) Fix Bayonets, 6) Devil Dogs, 7) From The Ashes, 8) Against You, *bonus tracks*: 9) Passing Of The Night (Original Demo Version), 10) Wings Of Destiny (Fifth Angel Cover), 11) Sign Of The Crimson Storm (Riot Cover); run-time 52:32.
*Brian Harrington: Vocals/Acoustic Guitar
*Marcus Peterson: Guitar/Keyboards
*Brent A. Scott: Guitar
*Doug Beary: Drums
DEVASTATION - PUSSY JUICE BLUES
(Battle Cat Productions)
Review by Sloof
The band is from my area, that means Meetjesland in Belgium, and they conquered already many stages with a pure Thrash Metal assault! Devastation is the living proof that hard work will pay off at a time! I slightly compare them with Evil Invaders that worked very intense and are now ready to conquer the world. Their new album ‘Pulses Of Pleasure’ aims for a Speed Metal attack in the style of Raven (High pitched vocals), but the foundation of Evil Invaders is comparable with Devastation. So guys, if you dwell the country, play numerous shows and release albums like “Pussy Juice Blues”, you will get to the land of the rising sun as well!
A lot of Kreator (‘Endless Pain’ and ‘Pleasure To Kill’ era) and Tankard (‘awesome lyrics’) influences are melting together with old Onslaught riffs and a pace that is ready to break through the sound barrier! The drummer of Devastation is Tom Heynssens and he’s playing in several bands but the speed that he’s developing is nearly inhuman. Rapidly and enraged he’s hitting the skins with a precision of nanoseconds! Coincidently, my son told me that he’s a teacher in everyday life who gave my son two years of computer science at school.
his ‘Pussy Juice Blues’ is the second album of Devastation and is the successor of ‘Leather Jack Maniac’ from 2011. The band evolved since then as the structures of the songs are more compact and direct. Now and then you will notice a break (‘One Night In Pig’s Hole’) which results in a pleasure to listen to. Variety is present all the time, even when the pace isn’t decreasing at all.
The four members of Devastation succeeded in creating a life feeling in the sound and having the songs spiced up with humor, results in a smile on my face. A track like ‘Rudolf, the Badass Reindeer’ is crazy as hell and fits in the stories of hookers, bitches and hanging out with the lads. All songs are about drinking, getting drunk, fucking and getting fucked. On the latter, I refer to a lesser pleasant adventure that Mathieu Brasseur (Vocalist) encountered, referring to the title track of the album.
The new Devastation album is exceptionally pleasant and after 33 minutes and 10 tracks, you will push the play button again, as songs like ‘Who Stole My Beer’ and ‘Pirate Trash’ are inviting to have a few more spins! Timeless entertainment until the last seconds where Arnold Schwarzenegger comes in and mentions ‘alright, party’s over’ and when someone asks who he is, he says: ‘I’m the party pooper’.. Hilarious! https://nl-nl.facebook.com/devastation.be
My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
DEEPSHOW - THE SPLEEN KING
Review by Sloof
Deepshow is a Belgian band that signed to Spinal Records and is unleashing its demons on their debut album ‘The Spleen Kings’. It has a very muddy sound with vocals which refer to the Stoner Rock meets Black Sabbath era. The throat of Sergeï Kraven is really remarkable as he’s very convincing and satisfying. It’s a raw and sore voice and that hoarse and crude element is going to take you by the balls. I’m sure that this is a band that erupts on a stage, this is something that you need to see live to get into its full exposure!
Deepshow leaves an international stamp behind, although they are from our little country Belgium. Unbelievable how stubborn and nappy they sound, how willful and charismatic the structures are made. Everything is fitting like a glove, and if you listen to an up-tempo booster like ‘Dr. Hoovy’ or a track with slower pace (‘As We Are Lost’), you will get the same punch in the face. This is outlaw Rock’n Roll with no restrictions or barriers at all.
Fans of Pantera, yeah right, thé Pantera, have found a way out as Deepshow is capable and ready to crush you all! This is dirty foul-mouthed swamp rock with a big future ahead! Spread the goddamn word!
My rating: 89/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
DEER BLOOD - DEVOLUTION
Review by Sloof
Great when an album opens direct. It’s like an uppercut you’ve asked, a punch in the stomach that you just ordered, a bloodless self-mutilation, or just a perfect way to start a new output! Deer Blood is apparently aware how to persuade and convince new listeners and their album ‘Devolution’ on Dooweet Records is promising a lot! There is a high dose of Hardcore influences in the songs and a mix of Stoner and Alternative Metal. While the drums of Fabien Petit keep the pace moving, we hear the guitars of Julien Doucin and Alexandre Bourret searching for the best spot to give a full axe attack! When every instrument is in place, it’s time to unleash the fury, it’s time to go all the way!
Very passionate and sludgy, we enjoy the music of Deer Blood, but a cold shower comes along when the vocals of Alexandre interfere the song ‘Bushmaster’. Besides a moderate, nearly substandard voice, he is limited in his lyrical topics and phrases as well. The lyrics are predictable, for example ‘Let it ring with a shotgun blast’ is very Machine Head-like. Alexandre’ voice is the limitation of the band and that’s a pity, as there is a lot happening when we listen to the instruments only. The chorus line of ‘Bushmaster’ is nearly out of tune as well, especially when he’s singing “Your mind is in your gun, My brain is down to earth, Don’t drag me in your hell, Cause you’re just gonna end up killing yourself!”.
Talking about the bass, that’s different, as Julien Prost is doing really wonderful things with his gear. The guitars of Julien and Alexandre mix Hardcore elements of Pro-Pain with a contemporary Stoner sound, and everything works out fine due to the good breaks and contrary rhythms.
A playing duration of 57 minutes is probably a bit too long and it would have been a better outcome if a few songs were deleted from the final mastering. Although every track has its own good ideas and inputs, the vocals derogate the final product. My advice is simple, keep the lineup like it is, maintain the rehearsals and keep on practicing, but try to get a new vocalist in the band so Alexandre is able to focus on his guitar only. It will strengthen the band, the compositions and the quality of the next album! https://www.facebook.com/DeerBloodOfficial / http://dooweet.org/
My rating: 70/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)
DIABOL BORUTA - STARE GLEDZBY
(Pure Steel Publishing)
Review by Spirit In Black
Diabol Boruta plays Folk Metal and 'Stare Gledzby' is the band's second album. The quintet from Rzeszów is obviously affected by acts such as Ensiferum, Finntroll and Korpiklaani without just copying their influences. Music that puts your body in motion, although traditional Metal influences can’t be denied. The Polish lyrics give a different flair to the varied compositions, folkloristic instruments are placed useful and precise.
Ok, what to write about a album in a genre that I don't like very much? That it was actually not bad. Aside from the typical instruments (violin, accordion, flute...) that are used with Folk Metal (that is also why I don't enjoy it very much) there is enough (normal) Heavy Metal on the album to make it a nice listen for me.
Every song on the album is done very good, every instrument blends perfectly. With adding more instruments as usual used in a band, the chance of getting a pile of noise is pretty high. It's all done great on 'Stare Gledzby'! Well, the bass sound is a bit off, maybe it has to be that way. The album counts three instrumental pieces, the intro plus two others spread across the album. Those pieces sound a bit like they are a part of a movie soundtrack and that’s pretty cool. Also, Diabol Boruta has done a cover of Korpiklaani: 'Vodka' but I have no clue if it's done right, I'm not familiar with Korpiklaani.
That the band sings in Polish can be a let down, you have no idea what they are singing about. At the same time, it does add something different to the music. It fits very good, I must say. The singer himself has a good voice for this type of music. One of my two highlights on the album are the guitar works featuring many great (melodic) riffing going on. The song 'Zency i Potudnica' is the other, awesome one! The second version of this track is sung in English and has the title 'Of The Reapers And Field Maiden'.
Fans of the aforementioned bands are urged to also check Diabol Boruta at: https://www.facebook.com/diabolboruta, purchase at: http://www.puresteel-shop.com/DIABOL-BORUTA-Stare-Glezby_1
My rating: 80/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
DISPLAY OF DECAY - DUST OF EXISTENCE
Review by Nathan McLeod
What you have here from 'Display Of Decay' from 'Edmonton, Alberta, Canada' is what I do call 'unfortunately' another one of these 'brutal' 'death-metal' bands that are 'exceptionally' talented 'musicians' & 'musically', 'production' that is 'beautifully' done up, (actually much better than A LOT of material I review), but, what 'kills' this CD for me is the "Cookie Monster" vocals.
I have come across quite a lot of bands over the years in the 'death-metal' genre that kick '10-tons' of majour ass 'musically', but just 'shot' the fuck down for me 'vocally'! Look, I know there are some 'people' whom are 'really' into this type of 'brutal' 'death-metal', & am NOT knocking other 'people's' likes & dis-likes. Just not my pint of bier here.
I do though give 'Display Of Decay', (cool name BTW), 'props & credit' musically. I really like the 'thrash-metal' / 'hardcore-thrash' elements & influences that back 'Display Of Decay' & their 'brand' of 'death-metal'.
Although the whole "Cookie Monster" vocals do kill this CD for me, I will be 'generous' due to the 'exceptional' 'musicianship & production' regarding 'Display Of Decay's - Dust To Existence' CD, & give it a 'non-rating'.
'Dust Of Existence' track info:
I) Created To Kill II) Relentless Reprisal III) High Voltage Castration IV) Maruta V) Cellar Goreatory VI) Messiah Complex VII) Nyctophilia VII) Dust Of Existence - total run-time
'Display Of Decay':
*Jessy Leduc - Vocals
*Jeremy Puffer - Guitar
*Sean Watson - Guitar
*Jacob Maisonneuve - Bass
*Avery Desmarais - Drums
Engineering & mixing Tyson Travnik. Mastered by Vasilis Gouvatsos @ Grindhouse Studios Athens. Produced by Sean Watson. Album art by Gravedealer Art.
'Display Of Decay' contact info:
*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Display_of_Decay/3540341698
DOOMSHINE - THE END IS WORTH WAITING FOR
(Metal On Metal Records)
Review by Stefan
These German Doom Metal merchants began their quest back in 2000 under the moniker of Sleep With The Devil and one year later, they changed their name into Doomshine. The following year, they recorded two songs from which ‘Shine On Sad Angel’ was chosen by German metal magazine ‘Heavy Order Was?!’ for the “Metal Crusade V”, a free compilation CD for all those who bought the December edition of the magazine.
While still unsigned during the first months of 2003, they were asked to join the bill of the legendary Doom Shall Rise Festival in February that year. Doomshine opened this majestic feast on Doom Metal in style, they delivered an outstanding performance, and shared the stage with heavyweight doomsters such as Forsaken, Reverend Bizarre, Semlah, Thunderstorm, Officium Triste and Mirror Of Deception, among others. Was the participation in this festival the breakthrough for the band? Well, I guess so, as a couple of months later they signed a deal with Iron Glory Records, and their effort “Thy Kingdoom Come” was launched in late June 2004. Immortal Vinyl Records put it out on vinyl, including a bonus track ‘Trouble Fire’. “Thy Kingdoom Come” landed on the fifth place in the Rock Hard magazine charts, and concerning the ‘Best 2004 Newcomers’, Doomshine was voted on rank 11.
More and more gigs were booked and the band inked a deal with the legendary Massacre Records, “The Piper At The Gates Of Doom” was released in early July 2010, much later than initially planned but it was worth the wait, Doomshine’s sophomore effort was an excellent piece of Doom Metal, a true example for many other bands really! Once again, Immortal Vinyl Records brought it out as a double LP, gatefold edition. Malta Doom Festival VI (featuring Dark Quarterer, The Prophecy, Nomad Son and many others) took place and contributed in pride and glory once again. Jowita and Simone from Metal On Metal Records were also present at the festival, one thing led to another and Doomshine was added to the roster of this label. Doomshine’s third album “The End Is Worth Waiting For” was released on August 31, 2015.
I’m into Doom Metal like Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Krux, Memory Garden, In Aevum Agere, While Heaven Wept, and I love the new Doomshine album with all my heart as well. Influenced mainly by Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass, the seven songs on “The End Is Worth Waiting For” give me some very pleasant moments as the forces of authentic Doom Metal run smoothly through my veins like my own lifeblood. On their previous albums, Doomshine's lyrics were more pessimistic in nature. While listening to the band’s newest cut, I hear some more positive vibes and I’m feeling good about that.
The music is heavy and doomy as hell but quite often the tempos are accelerated, and that’s another asset to me. Yeah, I really like when the rhythms change from time to time, and Doomshine makes me feel satisfied all over. The pace goes from slow, almost dormant, through mid to quite up-tempo. I’m sure that not only fans of Doom Metal but also fans of Heavy Metal will be pleased with it. There's a good balance between hard and softer moments, the band knows very well when the time has come to take it easy for a while and when to speed up again. Another remarkable fact is that Doomshine has a lot of melodic variety on board, especially thanks to both very skilled guitar players. The vocals are beautiful and have quite a unique timbre, I'd say they sound a bit like a mix of Robert Lowe (Solitude Aeturnus, ex-Candlemass) and the one and only Messiah Marcolin (ex-Candlemass).
I have only positive comments regarding Doomshine’s new album “The End Is Worth Waiting For”, and I'd highly recommended it to all those into Epic Doom Metal not afraid to swallow some good old fashioned Heavy Metal as well. Order at: http://metal-on-metal.com/shop/#!/DOOMSHINE-“The-End-Is-Worth-Waiting-For”-CD/p/53446137/category=2707104. Doomshine official homepage at: http://www.doomshine.de/en/. Doomshine Facebook at: https://www.facebook.de/melodicdoomedmetal.
My rating: 87/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
DRAGONY - SHADOWPLAY
(Limb Music Records)
Review by Sloof
Believe it or not, but after I pushed the play button, it took about 50 seconds to describe this band. Most of the times, that’s not a good sign, and although Dragony nevertheless managed to improve, they still have a long, perhaps also a steep way, ahead. I took quite some listens to dig into the songs and material, but besides some occasional highlights, there is not so much power and strength to discover on ‘Shadowplay’.
Opener ‘Wolves In The North’ contains all elements that are typical for this band. There is a little excitement, and as Dragony is described by the label as a Symphonic Power Metal band, there are influences from Symphonic metal, but I surely miss the Power in (many) tracks. It’s mainly a ‘light’ version of Epica, a kind of crossover between Blind Guardian and Freedom Call, and I’m not sure that the world will be waiting for this Austrian band.
Musical wise, there is a lot to explore, but almost all tracks get setbacks from vocalist Siegfried ‘The Dragonslayer’ Samer. What’s in a name, right? With his vocal chords, he’s not capable to encounter dragons, I guess that kittens are already opponents. I mentioned already Freedom Call, well this band radiates the same peace-friendly music with a gallant style of singing. But metalheads want to hear power, strength, conviction and anger but that won’t happen with Siegfried behind the microphone.
The second track is ‘Shadowrunners’, and despite the good pace and some choirs in the background we might get into a headbang-mode. When the guitars of Simon Saito and Andreas Pooppernitsch accelerate, we can only applaud for this heavy attack. ‘Kiln Of The First Flame’ is again very bombastic, and gives enough power to the arrangement. Folk is coming our way with ‘The Maiden’s Cliff’ but after this soft song we have a slight earthquake with ‘Warlock’. Nice riffing, heavy sound and a good pace, that’s what is coming your way!
There is also a guest on “Shadowplay” as Zak Stevens is doing guest vocals on the track ‘The Silent Sun’, a track that takes 10 minutes. In this hymn it’s pretty clear what another vocalist can add to the songs. Zak sings more mature and darker, but it must be said that the performance of Siegfried is also more full-grown. It’s like Zak is giving the perfect example, the hardly needed leverage, on how the Austrian dragonslayer should sound. A very good song, and it’s a pity that it’s a sole moment on this album.
People that want some light Heavy Metal might be pleased with this album, but I’m sure that another vocalist can do miracles to the band, and perhaps it’s hard to say and read, but that’s the only sincere remark that I have concerning Dragonly. The vocalist his nickname fits for this band in only one way, as he’s killing the band. Dragony Official Homepage: http://www.dragony.net/
My rating: 72/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)
DREADFUL MINDS - LOVE HATE LIES
(Pure Steel Records)
Review by George Falconer
This melodic Heavy Metal band from Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany was formed back in 1992. After three releases and an EP, this is their newest output titled Love/Hate/Lies and was released in December 2014 by Phonector and promoted by Pure Steel Records.
I'll start with what I first noticed, being the beautiful cover art. Apart from the record this could be sold as a piece of art. It's an amazing drawing filled with emotions. A young woman sits on the ground, looking afraid and desperate. The background is filled with the skyline of a big city - very atmospheric!
Now back to the essence, the music! This is melodic Heavy Metal brought in the good, non-cheesy way. The album sounds as a solid, mature piece held together by great talented musicians and a n outstanding and full production. Holger Weckbach uses amazing clean and enjoyable vocals to sing along to the tracks. The members of the band like to switch between fast and heavy riffs and slow paced moments throughout the album. During the entire record the keyboard was used for an extra melodic addition. This was done in a perfectly agreeable way. Some Metal acts however like to use the keys while I would recommend their songs without 'em. In contradiction to this matter, these are 14 well-balanced songs.
Conclusion: This very talented band might just make it very big in the progressive/melodic scene! They delivered quality on the entire album and we should all keep an eye out for these guys. They remind me a lot of the old Dream Theater records, to give you an idea. This record is perfect for melodic and progressive fans. Also mainstream metalheads will enjoy this. Checl 'em out at: https://de-de.facebook.com/DreadfulMinds
My Points: 80/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
DSG - STILL A WARRIOR
(Pure Steel Records)
Review by Sloof
Between 1988 and 1994, the kings of Metal, Manowar, had a blistering guitar player in their ranks: David Shankle! He recorded the ‘Triumph Of Steel’ album in 1992 and the ‘Metal Warriors’ single release while bringing death to false metal. When David decided to follow a solo career he kept one thing in mind: songs needed outstanding solos and preferable shredding guitars. In 2009, Dean Guitars endorsed David and released his signature model, the DS7 ‘shred machine’. This year, it’s time for the third full length studio album of DSG and this time we had to wait 8 long years before ‘Still A Warrior’ was finished. He joined forces with Warren Halvarson (lead vocalist of Damien Thorne), Mike Streicher on bass (ex-Wretched) and Gabriel Anthony on drums (Radakka, Tyrant’s Reign).
‘Still A Warrior’ starts with the title track, but it becomes a little monotonous after a while. That’s rather strange as the first songs on albums are often the highlights, but DSG likes to make an exception. ‘Ressecution’ has a super heavy start and this song is much better than the opener. We get ultimate US metal with outstanding guitars and suitable vocals! This is exactly what I want to hear! The next one is called ‘Glimpse Of Tomorrow’, has a much slower pace and can be compared with the Vicious Rumors tracks from ‘Soldiers Of The Night’ and ‘Digital Dictator’ era.
The album continues with a cinematic approach and those that can’t get enough of guitar debauchery will be pleased with ‘The Hitman’ that takes almost 9 minutes. This is an instrumental track with a lot of Rock’n Roll influences. In my opinion, perhaps a little too long, a little too stretched, although I have my preference for the second part of the song. There are highlights, but also a few songs that I consider as average. ‘Into The Darkness’ for example is a weird track as I have the idea that the vocal lines don’t fit with the instrumental arrangement. I consider this song as a filler instead of a killer.
All in all, I must say that this third DSG release is a joy for fans of modern played US Power Metal with sophisticated arrangements. The technical, shred-styled guitar of the master himself can be heard very well in many solos and the vocals of Warren add an extra to the material. My personal highlights are ‘Fuel For The Fire’ and ‘Suffer In Silence’, but besides beautiful arrangements we also have to struggle a few average songs, and that’s not David’s trademark. http://www.davidshankle.com/
My rating: 82/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)