By Fire & Brimstone
Review by Brexaul on January 2, 2021.
Six years after their very strong Redemption Through Force the maniacs from Cyprus return with their latest endeavor that hopefully will bring them to their rightful place. And that place is at the top. By Fire & Brimstone is a perfect tornado of burning steel that many of the legendary U.S. power metal bands would like to have as a part of their back-catalogue. It gathers all the right ingredients that make an album a classic, from high pitched, well delivered vocals to razor sharp guitars and a tight rhythm section.
The band is in top form and this is obvious from the opening notes of 'Servants of the Elder Gods', which if I may add works perfectly as an album opener, with its ritualistic vibe and the haunting chant that acts as the song’s chorus. Bonus points for the obvious Manowar-homage ending scream. The whole album has a very nice sense of flow and the tracks are very carefully placed to maximize their impact and highlight the experience. Songwriting and near-perfect execution go hand in hand here, as everything seems to work and at no point does the band sound dragging or out of a fresh idea to keep things interesting. The guitars offer plenty of variety on riffs and ideas with my only gripe being the solos which are not bad in any way, but not in line with the rest of the album’s dynamic.
I noticed a very subtle turn towards the sound of early Sanctuary and I could trace some Sacral Rage influence (?) at some points, although "Asgardlord" has much more control and charisma to his vocal delivery, many times reminiscent of a younger Warrel Dane (R.I.P.) always impressive and versatile. The lyrics are well-written and are further strengthened by the very diverse vocal lines, which might be too weird for the uninitiated as they almost never follow the conventional path, but they give a sense of unease, like you are watching some kind of occult theater play. The sound is very clear and shiny, giving the instruments room to breathe and you can pick many individual details without ever feeling overwhelming or overproduced. The artwork is also nice and helps boost that “old-school” feeling, with its many details and beautiful colors, although it would have benefited from an LP presentation.
What I mostly like about this band is that they are too unorthodox in their delivery of pretty much everything and they manage to sound original in a world of clones. Sure, the influences are there -and they are a lot- but you must be very talented, to manage to incorporate everything in your songs in a way that moves the sound forward. I’m not sure this album is for everyone, but for the few people that still enjoy the road not usually taken, it is a must.
Standout tracks: 'The Scarlet Citadel', 'Servants of the Elder Gods'
Rating: 9 out of 10389