American power metal ‘supergroup’ Reverence have been grinding out their particular brand of traditionally-inclined sturm und drang for some while now; two full-length studio efforts and a clutch of single and EP releases means they have more than enough material for that most metal of time-buyers… the live album.
And, whilst it’s certainly got crowd noises on it, the sketchy reference material that accompanies the release is no more forthcoming. So we’ll take on trust that the former members of Tokyo Blade (guitarist Bryan Holland was in a version of that band that recorded a live album in Germany a decade ago), Savatage and Crimson Glory (Steve ‘Dr Killdrums’ Wacholz) who comprise this supergroup were indeed ripping it up in front of an adoring audience somewhere in the world of metal…
But enough of the carping. Vengeance… is actually a pretty appealing collection of Reverence originals (Angel in Black and a particularly heavy Too Late are both impressive early-set inclusions) with a couple of enticing covers thrown in from Iron Maiden and Savatage for good measure. Bleed for Me, the band’s best track by some way is given a thoroughly convincing reading here, with new vocalist Scott Oliva acquitting himself in the wake of the departure of the not-so-sorely-missed-as-I-expected Todd Michael Hall (now, of course, to be found tickling his tonsils with Riot V). Seriously, on this form Reverence are easily up there with the big names currently extant in American power metal.
A new album is slated for release next year, which will hopefully see the band able to step out from the shadows of their previous band affiliations to stand on their own ten feet. On the evidence of these storming live tracks they are certainly ready to do so, and I look forward to hearing what they come up with on that release!
Vengeance Is… Live is out now.