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Space Vacation - Lost In The Black Divide

Space Vacation
Lost In The Black Divide
by Stew Metallion Taylor at 12 October 2017, 12:42 PM

First off, when you check the name SPACE VACATION it sounds like they might be a Psychedelic Retro-band style outfit. Then you hear them and you think of classic NWOBHM- IRON MAIDEN/ early DEF LEPPARD, maybe a British or European band. In fact, SPACE VACATION are from San Francisco and play pure Heavy Metal. There is melody throughout but the style is straight-ahead Heavy Metal. I can’t help but think this sounds like a modern take on early PRAYING MANTIS. MANTIS were the most skilful NWOBHM band next to MAIDEN and very melodic but still heavy. This band is in that zone. It’s really easy stuff to listen to. The Galloping bass and guitars, great melody, harmonising guitar solos and good vocals and choruses. This is old school with a modern delivery.

“Devil To Pay” kicks off with feedback guitars in a very 80’s sound similar to the first DIO album. The vocals are very melodic; however, the music is in a true Metal style and is heavier than the likes of RATT or QUIET RIOT, for example. Although the bands of reference are 80’s era, the sound is updated to sound original. This is highly entertaining Metal. “Stay Away” has a nice bass sound. It is tuned to the key of “Steve Harris” and this provides a nice familiar feel for any traditional Metal fan. This is a mid-paced track with great tempo and vocal combination with the bass lines. I can almost detect a bit of synth guitar in there to provide variation. The guitar solo peels away delightfully in the key of “Dave Murray”. It may sound familiar but it is great song.

“See you Again” starts with a riff that is pure PRAYING MANTIS with that beautiful melodic twiddling sound. This is probably the least Metal track with a Soft Rock feel, but done really well. “Roll The Dice” pounds away nicely with a drum-driven pace and more of a UFO/  SCHENKER guitar break and harmonising vocal. These songs have a very warm rhythm section with the galloping bass and drums. The guitars are not really duel attack in style though. Kiyoshi seems to handle the riffs and stops to break for the solos with Scott providing support. Everything is very neat and clean in the guitar department.

“Enemy” has really nice melody to it with the vocals shining through. The guitar riff overlays the song well and the solo is brought in similar to a THIN LIZZY track. “The Black Divide” is a stand-out song. This has a real Metal riff and the song picks up pace similar to early METALLICA (with more melody). There is fast riffing and headbanging rhythm. Then a slow breakdown but with a big riff over the top and a great guitar solo at the end to give the song three or four phases. This is Classic traditional Metal for sure.

“Reason or Rhyme” is a grand sounding track. There is piano and a story-telling style harmonised vocal. This has a touch of Pomp Rock to it and gives variation to the album. There are subdued lower- tuned guitars that sit nicely in the mix. This gives the song a classical music feel and orchestration. The drums pound and roll before the song breaks down to the piano again to provide light and shade. The album finishes with “Through the Door” which returns to the NWOBHM influence. This has that classic riffing and energy synonymous with NWOBHM. There is a nice Richie Blackmore style solo on this one and bass line compliment. It’s a truly great track.

Overall, “Lost In The Black Divide” contains highly entertaining traditional Heavy Metal sounds. The band is playing live with some other New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal bands and providing great live entertainment. For anyone with Metal running through their veins this is highly recommended. I think fans of more Extreme Metal will also enjoy this record.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Devil To Pay
2. Save Your Breath
3. Stay Away
4. See You Again
5. Roll The Dice
6. Live By The Sword
7. Enemy
8. The Black Divide
9. Reason Or Rhyme
10. Through The Door
Scott Shapiro- Vocals and Guitars
Kiyoshi Morgan- Guitar
Steve Hayes- Bass
Eli Lucas- Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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