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Battleroar - To Death And Beyond... (CD)

To Death And Beyond...
by Grigoris Chronis at 23 May 2008, 1:18 PM

I really hoped the new album by 'retro' Epic metallers BATTLEROAR would (and should) surpass their previous effort, Age Of Chaos.  The 2005 second full-length by these die-hard warriors was surely good, but i) something was just 'missing' to let it be included in the top 'true' Metal releases of that year and ii) the third album is the crucial for this kind of bands, right? Well, I think BATTLEROAR did it , since To Death And Beyond… can as well act as their finest effort to date.
If 2003's same-titled debut demonstrated a bunch of old-school metalheads trying to unveil their neat adornment for their beloved Heavy/Epic Metal gods via some semi-savage-semi messy and the sophomore LP did show a parallel progress in instrumentation and songwriting formulasyet being somehow amateur again, then the album herein reviewed can on top serve as the hot spot in BATTLEROAR's academ(etal)ic career so far. The first thing I did notice in a couple of spins was the band's conscious attempt (successfully enough) to hold their horses in regards to mixing savagery with epos. Hence, the tracks are more well-structured, more integrated, more consistent and - even if of respected average length - not tedious at all. The band has enriched songs parts with enough of distortion-less guitars plus additional stringed instruments, re-defining the 'epic' coordinate of their style. The tempos have also lowered a little, in terms of pounding, not yet losing even 1% of their 'retro' module. I'd take this as a sign of maturity and absorption.
Whereas lead singer Marco Concoreggi was a little bit tight in Age Of Chaos - even if his singing was of remarkable class - it is here that his notable voice uncovers a charismatic 80s Epic Metal-influenced dramatic vocalist. He can handle his vocal duties with much of professionalism and less of 'fan' attitude. The same goes to the rest of the clan. The guitar themes - carrying on the traditional simple chords 'base' - are more confident now, they create an applicable backup for some inspiring old-school soloing to emerge, while the rhythm section is more fat in this set of songs.
Some parts may seem naive enough - this occasionally is the 'trap' for bands willing to cry out their own worship for Heavy Metal music - but this is the slight case here, thankfully and eventually. While my favorite tunes sum it up to the up-tempo call of Warlord Of Mars and the mid-pace paean of Hyrkanian Blades, special credit should be given to Oceans Of Pain; the variety of tempos, the excellent uniformity within the song's parts, the convincing singing of Italian warrior Concoreggi, the larger-than-life time-honored Greek-nature-calls intermezzo…more than ten minutes of the (objectively) most dazzling BATTLEROAR tune so far.
I do not know how many (self-called) Metal warriors are already familiar with this (80%) Greek band. If not, just imagine a mix of the mystique of MANILLA ROAD, the monolith of CIRITH UNGOL, the harmonic epos of HEAVY LOAD, the lurking relentlessness of EXXPLORER, the 'ground honor' of DOOMSWORD, the Northern heroic-ness of THUNDER RIDER, the 'speed savagery' of BROCAS HELM, the metallum of JAG PANZER and - last but not least - the expansive 'soldier' romance of OMEN and you can have a brief idea. If you belong to the ones e.g. participating in each year's Keep It True fest installment, then you surely are aware of the rising force of bands like BATTLEROAR. Sincerely, To Death And Beyond… can easily act as the album that will open widely up (or close forever shut) the gates to bigger audiences, since it holds all the band's basic ideas while it brings on more melodies and some 'teutonic' touch here and there.
I surely can imagine what people listening to 80s Epic Metal are missing if they do not take hold of this release (their first via Cruz Del Sur label).
P.S.: Waiting now for the full lyrics to Born In The 70s, to check out the concept…


3 Star Rating

The Wrathforge
Finis Mundi
Metal From Hellas
Hyrkanian Blades
Oceans Of Pain
Born In The 70�s
Warlord Of Mars
Death Before Disgrace
Morbid Tabernacle/Isle Of The Dead (Digipack Bonus Track)
Marco Concoreggi - Vocals
Kostas H.K. Tzortzis - Guitar
Manolis Karazeris - Guitar
Kostas S.K. Makrikostas - Bass
Nick Papadopoulos - Drums
Record Label: Cruz Del Sur


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