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Blackwelder - Survival Of The Fittest Award winner

Survival Of The Fittest
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 April 2015, 2:31 AM

I would call this one a dangerous meeting, though farther than being called a mere adventurous venture. I wouldn’t know if it is a project or now, but something went down for sure when I listened to it, my eyes burned with excitement, making me willing to understand it even further. I was introduced to the newly band / project of SILENT SERAPHIM’s virtuoso guitarist Andrew Szucs called BLACKWELDER. I didn’t really need to know too much about SILENT SERAPHIM’s past endeavors in order to capture magnitude and strong emotive sense of what came next on BLACKWELDER and its debut “Survival Of The Fittest”, issued by GoldenCore Records / ZYX Music. Yes, it is a jungle out there, with tons of releases out day in and day out, and only the strong ones eventually survive at the end of the day. Szucs recruited some of the best musicians worldwide for the completion of a grandstand record in the image of Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR, ex-GAMMA RAY), Aquiles Priester (PRIMAL FEAR / ex-ANGRA) and Bjorn Englen (DIO’S DISCIPLES), therefore you wouldn’t have to guess this much of what will be banging at your door, or the back end of your mind.

Judging by the material on the release, Szucs, other than solo shredding and composing such masterful traditional riffery, made blasting picks at who was going to carry it out. Scheepers sounds a bit different than his performance in PRIMAL FEAR, highly emotive but powerful as always. Englen’s powerful bass deliveries are felt strongly within the songs, applying that strong rhythm section kicking. And lastly there is the machine behind the skins, Mr. Priester, commanding with perfect dexterity on the double bass pedals so mightily, no wonder why he was chosen to be the new drummer for PRIMAL FEAR, no doubt a South American beast.

Regarding the songlist, I decided to leave the tagging aside, as I am positive that as you listen to this album, you will become apparent of various minor diversities. Essentially, I felt a strong influence of late 80’s European melodic Metal, crossing into the barriers of the speedy tempo marches along with catchy elements and also larger than life / higher than the sky choruses that would sting. In the dossier it was described as Progressive Metal as well. Frankly, it has several distinctions that might remind DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X, yet in overall, “Survival Of The Fittest” is more into easily finding that tasty punch line, letting you feel the great excitement without making you succumb to the odd song structures. Nearly each of the tracks inside appeared to be born and bred by an implacable drive to create a kind of Metal that would be inspiring though also with a few tricks and traps. I was mostly mystified by “The Night Of New Moon”, “Judgement Day”, “With Flying Colors”, “Spaceman”, “Play Some More” and the instrumental virtuosity played on “Adeturi”.

Supergroups have been a thing in the music industry, always forming the special music force to bring down upon us the best that the writing table can offer by creative and skillful minds. I think that BLACKWELDER is that same deal. I urge you to be a witness to yet another highly acclaimed Metal power.

4 Star Rating

1. The Night Of New Moon
2. Spaceman
3. Adeturi
4. Freeway Of Life
5. Inner Voice
6. With Flying Colors
7. Remember The Time
8. Play Some More
9. Oriental Spell
10. Judgement Day
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Andrew Szucs – Guitars
Bjorn Englen – Bass
Aquiles Priester – Drums
Record Label: GoldenCore Records / ZYX Music


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Edited 03 February 2023

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