Young Swedes Kairos, who hail from a Gothenburg not usually associated with metal quite so straightforward as can be found here, certainly make an impact with their new album Queen of the Hill.

Resolutely old school despite looking in their promo shots as if they’ve just stepped out of High School, these guys certainly know their metal onions… They keep things simple, for sure – but in a good way. Carl Rudhede and Emil Beaird certainly both know their way around their respective axes, but neither overplay, content instead to augment each song with ruthless efficiency; flair is present, but it’s only ever deployed as necessary. As a pair their dual axe assault shines brightest on closing track Enchanted Age.

However, it’s not all about guitars. Vocalist Tom Hamstrom acquits himself well throughout; At times he’s a little reminiscent of HammerFall’s Joacim Cans (in fact on the excellent Japanese Steel the whole band doff their hats to the ‘Fall quite shamelessly), but overall there’s enough personality in his vocal approach to suggest he’ll have no problem making a name for himself on his own terms as his career develops.

There’s something to recommend you to each track on this quite brief album, but if pressed to pick faves from my first few listens to the record – and I can already tell that I’ll be listening to QotH for a fair while to come yet – I’d have to say the Accept-informed immediacy of Strike While The Iron is Hot and the more progressive Silver Heart really grab you by the scruff of the ears from the get-go.

Really promising stuff, then, and a bright future would certainly appear to be in prospect for these guys if they keep heading in the direction they’ve mapped for themselves on Queen of the Hill – well done to all concerned!

Queen of the Hill is out now.