Survival Of The Fittest
Review by Vladimir on August 2, 2023.
Remember when I said before that I consider a handful of “New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal” bands to be “Defenders of The Faith”? Well, I didn’t think that anyone would actually take that statement so seriously as Greek heavy metal band Thelemite did, and you will see in a minute what I mean. In this review I will be covering their third full-length album Survival Of The Fittest, released on July 7th, 2023 via Sleaszy Rider Records. Grab some popcorn boys and girls, strap yourselves, because we’re going to take a wonderful trip to the 80’s with this one!
As the album begins, you immediately begin to time travel back to 1984 along with the music, possibly inside a DeLorean. As you would expect, from one track to another it is pure heavy metal with catchy and heavy riffs, melodic guitar solos, mid-tempo drums and very Rob Halford-like vocals. If those sweet riffs weren’t convincing enough for you, you also have some clean guitar elements on the third track 'NWO' which is totally reminiscent of 80’s heavy metal bands. The band was not afraid to even throw in some nice power ballads on this album, that being the tracks 'Living Without You' and 'Already Dead', which are quite Scorpions style ballads comprised of both acoustic and electric guitars, drums, keyboards, emotional singing vocals and beautiful guitar solos. Probably the strongest and heaviest thing on this album would have to be eight track 'In A Damaged Brain' for its great use of groovy mid-tempo riffing and drumming with powerful guitar leads. The tenth track 'Making Love' is really an entirely different experience, because it is so reminiscent of KISS’s song “Love It Loud” from the album "Creatures Of The Night", while the vocals take on Gene Simmons signature singing style.
If it wasn’t already obvious from the cover art, this is just pure hard rocking 80’s worship from start to finish. Some people would probably think that the cover art might have something to do with Power Rangers or Thundercats, but it’s obviously a cool and interesting nod to "Defenders Of The Faith" by Judas Priest, which lets you know what was one of the band’s primary influences. There are times when musically it resembles a lot of Judas Priest’s heavy and catchy works from the past, the best examples being 'Black Hearted', 'White Dream', 'In A Damaged Brain' and even the final track 'Visions From The Past'. On top of that, even the vocals have elements of Rob Halford’s vocal style, while also doing their own thing. The songwriting in general is fairly simple yet effective with well-arranged songs, as each one of them leaves a strong impression with a few exceptional ones that leave an even stronger impression. Like I said in the beginning, from the very get-go this is time travel back into 1984 because it’s just killer work of good old traditional heavy metal. If it weren’t for the clean and modern sound production, I would have totally believed that this was some 80’s heavy metal band that was lost in time. Since I’ve already touched on the subject of the album’s sound production, besides the fact that it’s modern, it does a great job at giving the heavy but clean punches to the guitars and drums, while the vocals also successfully manage to stand out with the instrumental work.
What else can I say about this album other than the fact that I managed to enjoy its work that was inspired by so many classic bands and their hits from the 80’s. It’s not entirely an “all killer no filler”, because there were times when I didn’t quite manage to catch up with some songs, even if I enjoyed them a lot. Thelemite did a really good job here and one can’t deny that they definitely put a lot of care in their work, making this a very enjoyable and powerful album. I personally think that Survival Of The Fittest might have managed to climb up to one of the best albums of the year among so many others.
Rating: 8.7 out of 10458