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Battleroar - Blood Of Legends

Battleroar
Blood Of Legends
by Andrew Sifari at 08 April 2014, 4:17 PM

On their fourth full-length release, “Blood of Legends”, Greek band BATTLEROAR fly the flag high for epic-sounding traditional Metal. Their first album in six years is heavy, powerful, and, most importantly, entertaining from beginning to end.

The band compliments their otherwise standard Metal setup, with a vocalist (Gerrit Mutz), bassist (Stavros Aivaliotis), drummer (Nick Papadopoulos), and two guitarists (Antreas Sotiropoulos and Kostas Tzortzis), with a violinist (Alex Papadiamantis). It’s not a common instrument in Metal, even less common than the piano, and varies in impact across the album. Opener “Stormgiven” is a quiet, instrument-only piece, and the violin works well here with its soft melodies melding and accompanying acoustic guitar. The beginning of “Poisoned Well” makes good use of the instrument as well, but somewhat overshadows the main guitar riff that comes in around the 1-minute mark, which works slightly to the song’s detriment. Sometimes the violin is great, but sometimes it just feels unnecessary.

The songs on the album are, on average, somewhat long, though it never really feels like it. “The Swords Are Drawn”, which clocks in at 5:26, is an excellent track, with the band powering through at a thundering pace on the strength of one of the album’s best riffs. The aforementioned “Poisoned Well”, is an overall strong track, building up from its crushing, dramatic power chord march to the pounding drums and shouts of “Warriors!” to the soft acoustic guitar that closes it out.

“The Swords Are Drawn” and the title track are of a similar mold, the latter’s impeccable guitar playing, driving rhythm section and strong vocals carrying the song. The riff starting around the 3:00 mark is particularly impressive, simple, yet effective, especially in its use of pinch-harmonics to give it more bite. BATTLEROAR are not an overly-technical band, but the guys know their instruments well, and it’s very clear in their playing, which is splendid throughout. Mutz isn’t exactly the most exciting singer I’ve ever listened to, but to his credit, he brings a ton of energy, attitude, and emotion to each song. He has his fair share of highlights across the album. The horseshoe clopping sound preceding the opening of “Immortal Chariot”, is a nice touch, and the band rages through the rest of the song with a captivating intensity.

“The Curse Of Medea” is another impressive number, with its exotic melodies and plodding pace lulling the listener into a false sense of tranquility before giving way to a full-on, metallic assault that borderlines Speed Metal. On this song, as well as the equally memorable “Chivalry”, Mutz’s frequent employment of a harsher delivery adds to the aggression of the faster sections, while he gives perhaps his most expressive performance with the multifaceted, Power Metal goodness of “Valkyries Above Us”, which also boasts some classy, clean-picked guitar sections that balance out the song just right. “Exile Eternal” is the album’s de facto last hurrah, crushingly heavy and gloriously melodic. “Relentless Waves” closes things out with another subdued acoustic/violin-only piece that bookends the album nicely.

All in all, “Blood of Legends” is a solid effort from the guys in BATTLEROAR. The band has a really good feel for songwriting, and they are just plain good at what they do: delivering quality Heavy Metal music. For Metal fans of any kind, fans of good guitar playing, and especially fans of epic / Power Metal, this is a release well worth checking out.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Stormgiven
2. The Swords Are Drawn
3. Poisoned Well
4. Blood of Legends
5. Immortal Chariot
6. The Curse of Manea
7. Valkyries Above Us
8. Chivalry
9. Exile Eternal
10. Relentless Waves
Lineup:
Gerrit Mutz - Vocals
Stavros Aivaliotis - Bass
Alex Papadiamantis - Violin
Nick Papadopoulos - Drums
Antreas Sotiropoulos - Guitars
Kostas Tzortzis – Guitars
Record Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
     


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