My God. Halfway through the second track on Beyond the Omens, an incredibly Maidenesque instrumental called, appropriately enough, Lucifer’s Hammer, I was seriously considering getting on the internet and seeing if I could find a pair of red and black striped spandex strides. …Omens is that sort of album, y’see, the sort of record that has you making templates for a new cardboard guitar out of the box for the smart TV you’ve just brought home from town.
That’s right. Beyond the Omens is an inspiring trip back through time to, ooh, 1983 or so, to the times when it genuinely looked as if Tokyo Blade might take over the world given a fair wind and the patronage of a legendary Smallwoodesque manager.
Actually Tokyo Blade are a pretty good reference point here. Musically LH are totally on point, sounding like a band that has put a lot of time in with the first two Maiden albums, Angel Witch’s debut and a host of other of-their-time nuggets from the heyday of denim cutoffs and patchouli scented rifferama. But the one thing that lets them down, just like Salisbury’s finest, is the vocal presence of guitarist Hades. Just like the ‘Blade’s Alan Marsh, he struggles throughout, but whilst in 1983 that deficiency put a serious dent in Tokyo Blade’s promotion chances, here it merely adds to the authenticity of it all. I’m not kidding, it really does…
Once you’ve accepted this state of affairs there’s an awful lot to enjoy about this album. Shinning (sic) Blade is a stompingly anthemic winner, borrowing liberally from Judas Priest’s I’m a Rocker but none the worse for it. Hades – who pulls double shifts here in the guise of both singer and guitarist – plays an absolutely blinding solo on this track, whilst other full time member Titan sensibly lays off of the kick drums to put in a highly effective Dave Hollandesque performance behind the kit. It’s the sort of straight-faced, undeniably sincere tributing to the metal Gods that you can’t help but enjoy, and this performance is replicated throughout the album. Black Mysteries is a galloping, anthemic bruiser featuring more excellent soloing, whilst the riffier, more straightahead styles of Nightmares recall the times when even the most metallic outfits had their radio friendly stabs at mainstream acceptance.
As an honest, warts and all tribute to the glory days of British heavy metal this is pretty much faultless; If you’re looking for pristine production work and airbrushed pro-tool banality you’ll need to look elsewhere, but as you don’t look like that type of individual I make no bones about recommending Beyond the Omens to you whole heartedly. Thrilling stuff.
Beyond the Omens is out now.