Originally released on German label Armageddon Music – and co-produced by Saxon‘s Biff Byford! – Geordie metallers Blitzkrieg are in pretty good form on 2007’s Theatre of the Damned.

Re-released in vinyl format now for the first time by the band’s present home, Mighty Music from Denmark, musically it’s pretty much business as usual for the band, with Brian Ross immediately recognisable in front of the mic and guitarists Ken Johnson and Guy Laverick bringing an energised selection of riffs and solos to the party to deliver a coherent set of punchy, at times anthemic traditional metal songs such as the jagged, spikily metallic Night Stalker and the band’s Ulrich-approved signature track, Blitzkrieg… (Does it still sound like Saxondale faves Focus? – Ed).

Tracks like My Life is My Own and Spirit of the Legend sit comfortably amongst the best the band had written to that point, with the latter in particular showing that the band could take on their Euro power metal cousins and give them a run for their money without surrendering their own essence in the process.

Semi power ballad Together We Are Strong mixes a sentimental lyric with some muscular chugging with surprising success, and features a slightly different, more melodic vocal approach from Ross which really hits the spot amidst all the usual HM gurning and posturing – sadly it’s a winning formula that the band have never really exploited on subsequent releases. Still, there’s always next time, isn’t there?

Modern ears might find the sound a little lacking in power at times – I’d certainly like to have received a bit more of a kick in the guts from Phil Brewis‘ drums at times to compliment his excellent technical skills for example – but there’s no denying that as an actual set of well put together, excellently played British steel Blitzkrieg have rarely sounded better before or since.

Theatre of The Damned is out now.