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Cassius King – Field Trip Award winner

Cassius King
Field Trip
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 23 July 2021, 2:34 AM

Prolific riff master Dan Lorenzo (most recently from VESSEL OF LIGHT), has used the name CASSIUS KING several times over the years, as the title of a solo album and to put out many covers. But 2021 sees the release of a full length debut of original songs called "Field Trip."  Mr. Lorenzo himself handles the guitars. Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys, Watch Tower) tackles vocal duties. Dan's band mates from VESSEL OF LIGHT help out as well; Jimmy Schulman (also from another one of Dan's bands HADES) is on bass and Ron Lipnicki (another HADES alumni) returns to bash the drum kit.

Despite being three of the four members of VoL, "Field Trip" isn't an album that leans towards doom and SABBATH worship. It certainly has those elements but this is straight up heavy metal. As a reviewer, I am caught up in so many genres, sub genres and sub-sub genres. It is much more descriptive to break down a bands sound that way than to just lazily say "this band is heavy and stuff." But all that can get exhausting and sometimes I need a break. So I found this more straight forward approach to metal to be refreshing.

Will Dan ever run out of guitar riffs? I highly doubt it. By the time you have finished reading my review, he has probably pulled eighty more out from wherever he keeps them. And if you like riffs, "Field Trip" is full to the brim with them. Jason's voice has held up so well over the years and he gives one hell of a performance across the albums twelve track, forty nine minutes run time. Often times he reminds me of DIO, which is about the highest compliment a musician can receive. "King of Lies" begins with a thick, dirty riff that sounds like a sped up version of SABBATH. Combined the riff with Jimmy's bass and a sweet groove settles in to lend the song maximum energy.

Jimmy's crisp drumming and Jason's vocals are expressive and clear, ringing in the track's need for immediacy. The riffs around the 2:25 mark and the accompanying short but sweet solo are destructive and naturally change the direction of the song while smoothly bringing it around full circle. "This Side of Forever," is a slower take on the established sound of the first track.  The tempo allows time for Jason to really enunciate the lyrics and bring out the best of his voice. This song is quite a bit more gritty than the opener and his rougher voice goes alongside it.

The track itself begins with clean guitar and more melodic singing but the atmosphere is established early on and is echoed throughout the song. "Below The Stones," is a beast of a track. Listen to Dan's riffs—-crushing but catchy with the groove to back it off. I love how well the drums accent the riffs and bring out their best moments. The guitar solo kick starts the song into a little section that ramps everything up to eleven for a sudden burst of high octane energy.  "Join The Exodus," is bomb of a song that is perfectly placed within the track list one. This one has deep, deep riffs and even deeper bass.  They lay down the foundation from which Jason throws put a catchy vocal performance. The song is under three minutes but they do so much with it and it demands repeated listens.

"Six" has, to me, a sort of blues feel to it especially with the guitar solos as they are emotive and bleed in and out of the riffs perfectly.  The bass is bouncy and keeps the song running efficiently. Many a head banging moment presents itself such as the riffs at the 2:16 mark and at the 5:48 mark—and both parts are also backed by incredible drums."LOA" has an old school rock feel to it but with the added oomph of metal riffs and bass groove. Once again the solos and riffs work together to trade off moments in between that give the song optimum flow.

All in all, CASSIUS KING is yet another solid metal album from Dan Lorenzo. If like guitar riffs, this is definitely the album for you but anyone who appreciates fine song writing will find something to enjoy here.  Compared to the endless styles out there, there aren’t many no frills, heavy metal bands doing something like this and with this high level of quality.  Catchy songs, huge riffs, big vocals…what more could you want?

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. King of Lies
2. Below the Stones
3. Cleopatra's Needle
4. Join the Exodus
5. Traveler
6. Apocalyptic Nations
7. I Move with the Moon
8. Six
9. Leave of Absence
10. This Side of Forever
Dan Lorenzo – Guitars
Jason McMaster – Vocals
Jimmy Schulman – Bass
Ron Lipnicki - Drums
Record Label: Nomad Eel Records


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Edited 21 September 2021

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