Featuring former Carcass/Angel Witch live guitarist Tom Draper, Hands of Goro, who also feature Slough Feg weirdster Adrian Maestas (bass/vox) and Avinash Mittur (drums, mixing, engineering), this band of trad metal revivalists probably sound just how you’d expect them to sound given the various back stories of those involved.

Whilst that would be true up to a point – there aren’t many surprises here, with the overall sound, in this reviewer’s opinion sounding something like John Sykes jamming with Haunt – the relatively staid nature of the eight tracks on offer in no way lessens their impact on the ears or the sheer joy some of you out there are going to feel the first time you come into contact with maniacal tracks like Demonizer…

Draper is – and you probably know this by now – a superb guitarist, who turns every song into a mini six string symphony; However, he always manages to contain his wizardry within the confines of the song, thus allowing every song to develop and breathe despite the sheer guitar overkill being deployed throughout. Have a listen to the epic Uncanny for proof.

Demonizer sounds like something that the NWoBHM left behind, only to be found in a time capsule years later; Mittur’s drums cleverly don’t aim for full double kick assault until about half way, which adds to the period charm, whilst Maestas’ slightly thin, straining-at-the-edge-of-capacity vocals are a dead ringer for the era the band seeks to exhume. Draper rounds it out with some off-the-chain soloing and the end result is a track that might possibly leave you having to have a bit of a lie down to recover if you’re anything like me!

Uncanny adds a bit of Manowar to the mix in it’s intro – and that’s never a bad thing, especially when added to a song that for the most part sounds like an outtake from Iron Maiden‘s Killers sessions- and Archduke of Fear is an absolute ripper, but for once I can honestly say there are no real standout tracks here – HoG reaches a high standard early, and doesn’t deviate from that mark.

One for the earth dogs, headbangers and rivet heads then – and if you count yourself as a member of any of those sub strata of metal society then you’re going to have a fine old time with this album…

Hands of Goro releases on March 1st.