Despite the cut-price nature of the cover, despite the weird band name, despite the faint whiff of identikit around most of the material, I’m left, as End of All comes to an end, going right back to the start and listening to the whole thing again. Repeatedly. Because, when heavy metal is this infectiously engaging, you never want it to end. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, had this record been released a month earlier, it would be making it’s presence known at the top end of Sentinel Daily‘s year-end top one hundred albums poll, such is it’s universal metal appeal…

Like fellow Swedes Mean Streak, Six Foot Six – originally a solo project of singer Kristoffer Göbel but now a fully fledged band – have a knack of getting to the essence of the great bands of our time and then repackaging them for their own purposes… so, Judas Priest make a very obvious appearance on the chugging Oblivion, Iron Maiden provide the framework for Finale Vittoria and Blind Guardian‘s folkish template is borrowed wholesale on Edge of The World. But whilst all of these influences are fairly apparent, they are used with enough skill to remain largely in the background as Six Foot Six push their own efforts to the forefront.

Göbel is an engaging vocal presence, part Tate, part Cans, part Sammet, the sum of which makes for a pleasing whole. I’ve found his vocals a bit generic in the past – you may know him best from his work in Falconer – but here, singing his own songs, he gives a controlled yet compelling performance.

In fact controlled yet compelling sums up the whole album pretty well. Six Foot Six rarely hit the bullseye, save for the quite superb I Am Your King and the almost as good pairing of In The Eyes of The World and Abducted, but they do enough to suggest that they are very much worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

End of All is out now.