With what has been happening with Metal music, the definition of what is True may as well be in effect. There have been lots of contemplations whether the genre is dying, but really, I ask you, aren’t these a total waste of time? When I listening to powerful releases of bands that generated 15-20 years ago, no matter if classic or extreme, I can’t escape the thought that some folks aren’t really living in the same world as most of us Metalheads. Anyway, I came in a fist fight once again with the Swiss Heavy Metal act EMERALD
, but this time as a reviewer. With a legacy of over 20 years, the band is now issuing their 7th album, “Reckoning Day”
, via Pure Steel Records
, raising the flag high in the name of Heavy Metal, prolonging tradition's reign over everything that is heavy with might.
Since their emergence in the 90s, the Swiss have been composing Melodic Metal material with the tenacious verges of both European and US Metal. Converging around British Metal, with IRON MAIDEN
at the helm, and HELLOWEEN
for the Teutonic sense, EMERALD
has been getting tighter and robust in every passing release. With the representation of “Reckoning Day”
it became apparent how momentous, infectious and memorable their music really is. The songwriting may have its basic elements, remaining close to the safer zones without trying to be inventive and create new moves, yet it is drenched with heavy riffs and rhythms that would craze along the line with harmonies and astounding melodies, generated by the guitars, keyboards and of course the vocals. Furthermore, the new album may be the official announcement of the band’s latest recruitment to their ranks, the rather anonymous Mace Mitchell
, to fill in the big shoes of GLORYHAMMER
’s vocalist Thomas Winkler
, which recently took his leave. It is true that the band has been dealing with ex-OMEN
’s George Call
for the vocals position, and Call
did record several dynamic tracks in the new release, the coast to coast arrangement didn’t last that long. It is imperative to assert that Mitchell’s performance on his debut paved the road for the album’s success.
Honestly, I don’t get this a lot, it is rather rare, especially nowadays with the unending swarm of the music, in comparison to a decade ago, but I was emblazoned, this album really shook my bases. I can count a large number of hits but I will select only several to mention in order to let you guys just tune in to the album and check it for yourselves. “Only The Reaper Wins”
sent the message forward that someone is going to get hammered by might, an opening song opening to be reckoned as an anthem, hard to the core European Heavy Metal, an addictive main riff, a C part to kill for and an explosive soloing that could had only been bred by an 80s driven guitarist. “Evolution In Reverse”
serves as one of the US Power / Speed Metal overseers, attributed to George Call
’s recordings with the band, no doubt that he would have been an asset. The song pretty much follows the similar pattern of the opening track, yet blistering a chunk load of aggression. On “Through The Storm” George Call
stars as the master of the hook laden killer track of greatly composed heaviness. His Dickinson
style vocals are simply off the charts overheating the bombastic musical efforts on the mid-tempo pre-chorus and chorus. “Ridden By Fear”
displays the influence of NWOBHM Twin guitaring screaming within the depth of great riff, right before entering the eye of the Metal storm, entangling massive soloing as the rhythm guitars are punishing just as the old school directive commanded. On this US Metal and HELLOWEEN
patch of heaven, Mitchell
is quite convincing with one of his better vocalic exhibitions. “Reign Of Steel”
, part of the second half of the album that was made a concept based on the band’s keyboardist novel about the Burgundian house. The battle rages on with steel meets steel spawning a hard hitting killer with an atmospheric, almost dreamy, chorus. No doubt that Mitchell
made his best vocal effort on this one.
I will stop here if you don’t mind, it is always a joy when there is so much to talk about in a release, but as I mentioned, there is more than an ocean of music waiting, so it would be best to head on to listen to the album to be a better judge. One thing is certain, Heavy Metal is here to stay and its tradition would never perish.