American metal would appear to be in safe hands. Or it would if the powers that be would give just a little of the kudos to Portland, Oregon’s Splintered Throne that they heap on any of the other flavour of the month acts currently on high rotation in their Ivory Towers. Because, on the evidence of the band’s new live album Live at Billy Blues there ain’t many more deserving of plaudits than these feisty defenders of the faith.
The band have made a few forays into the land of recorded output, and this live document serves as a ‘greatest hits’ collection of sorts, drawing from all eras of the outfit’s history. It’s a beautifully recorded piece of work, giving full vent to every member of the band and showing just how powerful they are in the live theatre. As a longstanding American metalhead myself I can say that not many bands at this level sound this good – at least not since the genre’s halcyon days of yore.
Professionalism is obviously important to these guys, and that shines through on heavy material like the album’s opener The Octagon as much as it does on lighter tracks like the melody-heavy BPM. Vocalist Brian Garrison possesses a powerful voice but doesn’t overdo things, leaving the flash n’bang to guitarists J-Mo and Fred Osborn, who clearly put in a lot of time together in the rehearsal room refining their chops and their interactions as players. It’s paid off, dudes!
Bassist Brian Bailey is also impressive, rock solid with drummer Kris Holboke but also able to embellish when asked to step up. This band really is the real deal in every way. On The track Nature’s Design everything really comes together best, showing a band that’s adept at converting it’s influences into something new and exciting; but If I had to throw a few pointers out to prospective new listeners I’d probably write a sentence including the words Judas, Priest, Savatage, Iced, Earth and Leatherwolf…
These guys deserve a break to be sure, and I’m delighted to use my first review for the mighty Sentinel Daily to try and give them a helping hand. Open your ears and your hearts (and pocket books) to them today!
Live at Billy Blues is out on March 23rd