Twenty four years! Tectonic plates move faster! But they sure as hell ain’t as heavy as the new record from Californian metal icons Tyrant, who this week release their first album in that near-quarter century timespan I mentioned at the top of the piece…

Now, you wanna know if Hereafter has been worth the weight, I guess… and I’ve gotta say that, if you’d asked me the same question a coupla weeks ago I’d have been waverin’ and stutterin’ as I searched for a truthful response to your question; this album is a definite grower and no mistake. But now, unequivocally I say YES! Tyrant are back with a heavy metal bang!

Maybe the first and most important thing to note beyond the electric riffola of guitarist Rocky Rockwell is the performance of vocalist Robert Lowe. Yes! that Robert Lowe. The singer, late of Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass, among others, is on the mic in the Hereafter and it’s his vocal prowess that adds a real sheen of class to proceedings. Of course, Rockwell, bassist Greg May and drummer Ronnie Wallace all get their fair share of the plaudits, but it’s Lowe whose vocals repeatedly hit the heights to make Hereafter a real thrill to listen to!

Just listen to stomping metal anthems like the title track or When The Sky Falls – both of which will take ya back to the glory days of ‘true’ metal in the early eighties. The latter track, in particular, is just perfect in every way, mixing Dio-fronted Sabbath with very early Manowar and Virgin Steele to create an authentic strain of American metal you just don’t hear that much of in this day and age. It’s classic, yes, but that don’t mean it’s got no relevance to modern heavy metal! no way!

The other big highlight on the album is Bucolic, which has got one of those choruses that they really don’t write anymore, the sort you know whole fields full of headbangers will raise their mead horns to when we’ve defeated this great plague that currently assails us! It’s rabble rousing warrior metal of the finest kind, and I love it, right down to Ronnie Wallace’s very ‘McBrain‘ styled drum fills!

Heavy metal, in it’s purest form, should always take the listener on a journey of fancy, on a flight away from their humdrum lives and workaday worries; Hereafter fulfils that task and then some, and I can’t think of a better way right now to help you forget the real world for a little while. Horns high!

Hereafter is out on May 15th.