The Sonic Overlords have been on a remorseless collision course with destiny since forming a mere four years ago, building momentum all the while, sending out little signals to the world, warning of the impending carnage they intended to wreak on ears worldwide. They’ve been teasing this album for nearly a year, even before a deal had been signed to release the damn thing, so confident were they in their own brand of metal classicism… Turns out that confidence wasn’t misplaced.
When you invite an absolute, bona fide legend on to your album, as the ‘Sonics do here, and he ends up sounding merely like a part of the furniture – in a good way, I hasten to add, the sort of way that suggests (a) that this is the sort of music that absolute, bona fide legends might make or, (b) the furniture is fit for kings – you know you are on to a winner. Here, on CD bonus track Past The End of Time, the band invite Tony ‘Headless Cross’ Martin into the fold to weave his masterful magic on a track that sounds for all the world like something the Cat might have had a hand in cooking up in the late eighties. Which, if you know anything about Sentinel Daily, is high praise indeed…
However, to get to that late-album high water mark, you have to sit through the band doing what they do ungarnished, as it were – and what a treat that task is. Over the course of nine superbly constructed, by turns massively conceived and intimately executed tracks, the band run the whole classic metal gamut and come out largely triumphant.
Keen ears might note a bit of kinship with fellow Swedes Spiritual Beggars on Fools where the influence of Michael Schenker hangs heavy in the air, but for the most part, despite forging a sound rooted so firmly in the past, The Sonic Overlords manage to avoid resembling the greats too closely.
Actually on the superb Sands of Time the band run into waters usually patrolled by latter day prog metal Titans Sons of Apollo – Marcus Zachrisson Rubin isn’t a million miles away from Jeff Scott Soto, tonally – but again this is a fleeting comparison made for ease of explanation, and it has to be reinforced that The Sonic Overlords remain very much their own men throughout.
The band even have the barefaced cheek to attempt a radio-friendly (if the radio is still working to 1985 guidelines with regard to playlisting, that is) power rocker in the shape of Shine – and, needless to say, they pull it off so well your humble interlocutor was left, sweaty and breathless, arms aching from punching the air in time for the song’s four and a half minute duration. Happy days indeed.
Pretty much perfect in terms of construction and pacing, fans of classic metal will welcome Last Days of Babylon with open arms of that I’m sure. Such a near perfect exposition of the art deserves nothing less.
Last Days of Babylon Releases on October 22nd.