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Spellblast - Of Gold and Guns Award winner

Spellblast
Of Gold and Guns
by Kyle Scott at 17 April 2018, 1:00 PM

SPELLBLAST is a Folk/Power Metal hybrid created in 1999 in Bergamo, Lombardy in Italy. The band released their debut seven years later. While they have focused on themes of fantasy, like Tolkien or Stephen King, they also draw inspiration from ancient legends of Norse myth like they did for their Sophomore album “Battlecry”. Their fourth album “Of Gold and Guns” takes a different approach entirely, focusing on the real-life history of the Wild West. Odd choice for a Power Metal album but hear SPELLBLAST out. They offer musical biographies on many important Wild West figures such as Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Crazy Horse and Tex Willer.

I am curious to know why they didn’t pick any American folk heroes of the west; Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Pecos Bill, etc. considering they’re right up SPELLBLAST’s alley. Regardless, they did this wild west concept very well.

From the opening track “Tex Willer”, we are treated to Western influenced banjo chords, chiming high noon bells, and a fierce orchestral string section set against a wall of electric guitar notes setting our Wild West world on fire. Not a bad start! “Wyatt Earp” recounts the infamous O.K. Corral shootout Earp was a part of. “Billy the Kid” recounts the wily escapades of everyone’s favorite outlaw, featuring an infectious headbanging chorus and banjo riffs. Of course, everyone’s second favorite outlaw “Jesse James” needs his own song, too with a cool guitar solo that, if James were alive in his prime today, he would surly appreciate it. “Sitting Bull” has Native American inspired beats and choruses, but I can’t help but have mixed feelings about the track. Yes, it’s plenty catchy. But for one, the war chant they use in the beginning isn’t sung in Lakota (Sitting Bull’s tribe), it’s actually Cheyenne. Two, while it’s great to want to tell the brave story of a very noble man in history, I feel it’s always best to let the members of that people do the talking. After all, it is their history, but, whatever, that’s my Lib PC two cents. Let’s move on.

“Goblins in Deadwood” is a nice jaunty change of pace, playing a tune straight out of a dank saloon. SPELLBLAST rounds things out nicely with Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”. “Of Gold and Guns” is a fascinating look into the historical events of America’s old west frontier. SPELLBLAST channels SABATON for their references to historical events, with NIGHTWISH’s flair for orchestral crescendos. What’s great about SPELLBLAST is their desire to think outside the box for Power Metal. No one would have guessed you could write heroic ballads to the men of the old west, but SPELLBLAST pulls it off! Perfect for a Westworld-themed party.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tex Willer
2. Wyatt Earp
3. Billy the Kid
4. Jesse James
5. Sitting Bull
6. William Lewis Manly
7. Crazy Horse
8. Goblins in Deadwood
9. William Barret Travis
10. Wanted Dead or Alive
 
Lineup:
Luca Arzuffi - Guitars
Xavier Rota - Bass
Dest - Vocals
 
Record Label: Independent
     


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