Thanks to Sentinel Daily editor Scott Adams, it looks like we’ll be getting back into the Crusading swing of things on a monthly basis once again! And so, without any further blabbing, let’s get back into the music with the first band for October 2021, viz
Norwegian/Australian duo Parsifal have been in existence for some eight years, though new vocalist Eamon Dooley (the Australian half of the partnership) makes his debut on Mountain King, which is the band’s third album.
Guitarist/bassist Bjarte Bøe Alræk, on the other hand, has been part of Parsifal since 2013 and has had a major hand in all three of the band’s albums. He’s a tremendously fluid, lyrical lead player but he doesn’t force himself on the band’s symphonically-inspired metal. Rather he reserves the pyrotechnics for when they are really needed, the result being superbly memorable metal workouts like the album’s title track, which pack a lot of excitement into their grooves without ever collapsing under their own weight; Dooley’s slightly melancholic croon isn’t always what you’d expect to find behind the mic in music like this, but the juxtaposition of his vocal and Bjarte’s neoclassical flourishes does make for a nice point of difference, it must be said.
The best track for me is, of course, Crusaders, an urgent piece of double-kick fuelled Euro power that will bulldozer non-believers out of the way and carries a fantastically grandiose chorus, but in all honesty ‘best’ is a relative term for an album with precious few weak points and much to recommend it. Have a listen!
Of The Cold
Of the Cold is a solo project of Chaos Within frontman Andreas Johansson; Frozen lights is the fifteenth EP he’s released under the Of The Cold banner, and he sings and plays everything here save for a couple of guitar solos.
Raw, coruscating metal is the order of the day here; each of the four tracks offers up a different facet of Johansson’s metal personality, but I’d have to say that to these ears the emotionally charged, anthemic The Ghost & The Stranger is the most effective. Deadlock/Triggered guitarist Emil Rudegran supplies a superb solo to this track, and it’s his work in conjunction with a truly inspired vocal that really light’s this track’s touchpaper. I’ve been listening to this track non-stop since I heard it!
This Is Fire is almost as incendiary, with Johansson once again contributing superb vocals to the pounding thrash on display. The EP features four tracks, is available as a name your price release on Bandcamp and is easily the release of the month!
We first covered this record by Thundershield – ‘The most ridiculous traditional power metal in Georgia’ – exactly three years ago in the October 2017 Crusade; It’s been given a spruce up in the shape of a remix/remaster and is now being presented again in all it’s bombastic glory for a new generation of Crusaders to enjoy. And, having listened to it’s twenty five minutes of deliriously overblown pomp again I have to say the intervening years have done nothing to weaken Enchanting The Steel’s bull-headed bravado.
Rampant rockers like Nevermore still carry the standard of US power metal proudly, whilst the (slightly) more reflective The Last Unicorn really seems to have benefitted from the fresh lick of sonic paint. If you didn’t latch on to this the first time round (a) why not, and (b) what are you doing still reading this? If high-speed ludicrosity is your thing, then this is your fave new(ish) band!
Bostonians Perennial Quest are another band who are no strangers to the Crusade, having debuted in January 2018 with their Warriors Through Endless Time opus. The 2020 iteration of the band isn’t repolishing an old favourite however; Actually they’ve taken on a new, thunderous lease of life on this self-titled four tracker.
I took time to highlight Tony Dibiase‘s ‘reticent’ vocals in 2018, and whilst I’m not deluded enough to suggest he took my comments on board back then I’m pleased to report that he gives a superb performance this time around; however it’s not just him – the whole band have taken their Dragonforce-inspired speed metal up not one, not two, but bloody loads of notches with this release.
Beyond The Light and The Immortal Sons are, frankly, superb, world-class expositions of this type of music and the band show that they’ve mastered their chosen style repeatedly on both tracks. Andrew Matarazzo, Sam Jewell and Davy Allen deliver the three-pronged guitar assault with astounding precision and verve, whilst the engine room of Kevin Ordway (drums) and bassist Ben Sharon underpin the whole thing with at times inhuman power and stamina. This is the real deal!
American Christian metallers True Strength have been around for a while now, with The Mighty Hand of Yahweh being the band’s fourth full-length release. An ambitious project that seeks to retell the old Testament book of Joshua in metal form, TMHoY is actually a pretty enjoyable trad metal romp whether you enjoy the subject matter or not.
Obviously, lazy minds will think ‘Stryper‘ as soon as they hear the words ‘Christian metal’, but, though the band cite Michael Sweet and company as influences, the band’s music has maybe a little more in common with more underground, heavier names such as Bloodgood or maybe even Barren Cross; similarly, though vocalist Ryan ‘The Archangel’ Darnell obviously has the odd Sweetesque high note in his arsenal, he tends more often to opt for a lower, more comfortably range, not unlike Agent Steel‘s John Cyriis but without the mentalism.
For obvious reasons this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea; however, if. like me, you’ve managed to listen to Stryper for twenty years plus without succumbing to the temptation to get yourself christened, then there’s enough in the way of decent straight-up theatrical metal here to keep you entertained.
Well, that’s it for another month. Thanks again for your company and your continued support!
Until the next time
Hail and Kill