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Arctic Flame - Declaration (CD)

Arctic Flame
by Grigoris Chronis at 17 December 2008, 11:45 AM

I can (fuzzily) recall this band's debut in 2006, entitled Primeval Aggressor. Out on Battle Cry Records (whatever happened to this guy?) it kinda formed an initial murmur around the band's name in the ranks of old-school 80s metalheads. Two years later Pure Steel Records announces the releases of a follow-up, Declaration, and it's rather intriguing to see if this CD can act as an even better statement from ARCTIC FLAME.
The quintet's blend surely is worth the notice. They do deal with the style America developed in the 80s in Heavy/Power Metal music (Blind Leads The Blind) while someone should also distinguish enough pieces of mid-80s harmonic German Metal (and/or Scandinavian Metal to an extend). NWOBHM/Celtic symptoms are profound enough (Declaration), making anyway references to the British climate influencing the whole words two decades ago. There's not enough tendency for speed, neither someone would state ARCTIC FLAME's music is aggressive enough; on the contrary, the New Jersey based act delivers lots of melodies (Desert Moon) in an amalgam of mystique atmosphere and epic narration.
Dave Lowe's vocals are really peculiar. He does have a wide range and can apply to all needs, while his throat is full of conjuring throughout the tracks (his back-up vocals kill - Lords Of The Wasteland). He does bring an added air to the songlist, to cut along story short. The guitars do krank it up at times (The Unknown God), they generally behave 'melodic' (Disciples Of The Flame) and have some slight difficulties in leads themes, mostly in terms of synchronization and accurate scope. The drums/bass duties are fulfilled in relevant comfort, still pointing out the lack of pounding production in this sector.
There's enough complexity in the songs' models, but not something that i) drive you Prog-nuts or ii) wake up boredom signs. ARCTIC FLAME play their Heavy/Power Metal in their won way, even if - to give you a draft idea - names of bands like JAG PANZER, HEIR APPARENT, IRON MAIDEN, early HELSTAR/DESTINY'S END, 'mature' OMEN or STORMWITCH may cross your mind. The good thing about ARCTIC FLAME and Declaration is that they show fresh ideas and do not molest their influence by bearing a copy/paste mode. Really, it would not be easy to distinguish if this specific album's release date was 2008, 1988 or 1988. Their compositions are really well-worked and it's evident they've also worked a lot on providing/building up a certain desired ambiance.
Declaration has the potential to bring you something different if 80s (mainly American) Power/Heavy Metal is your cup of tea. There's lots of interesting music in here; you'll have a rough time trying to condemn this new ARCTIC FLAME album. A really rough time…

3 Star Rating

The Unknown God
Blind Leads The Blind
Lords Of The Wasteland
Hammer Down
Disciples Of The Flame
Desert Moon
Shadow Of A Broken Man
Dave Lowe - Vocals
Rod Mariani - Guitar
Sebastian Garcia - Guitar
Jon Norberg - Bass
Mike Paradine - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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