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War Dogs - Die by my Sword

War Dogs
Die by my Sword
by Tiago Masseti at 22 January 2020, 8:51 AM

Old school Heavy Metal with ripping riffs and galloping grooves is what you get from WAR DOGS’ latest release. From the album cover and the melodies to the lyrics and the riffs, the Spanish quintet’s “Die By My Sword” feels like a full-length tribute to the greats of the genre. Legends like IRON MAIDEN, ACCEPT, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD and OZZY OSBOURNE with hints of Thrash lords METALLICA and MEGADETH and the occasional early BLIND GUARDIAN are all contemplated in this record.

Opening track “Die By My Sword” is a fast and aggressive song that resembles the first MAIDEN albums but with elements of more Power Metal-oriented bands such as SABATON and HAMMERFALL. Good way to kickstart the record and make room for “Castle Of Pain”, a more melodic track that has a SAVATAGE feel to it with harder, thrasher, riffs. Gang chants and guitar duets round it all up with the old school Metal vibes. Next up is “Wings Of Fire” a fast tune with lots of DIO-like riffs but faster and filled with double-bass pedals and vocal harmonies that grant a GUARDIANesque tone to it. “Master Of Revenge” is like a tuned-down version of OZZY’s “Bark At The Moon” with melodies written by Hansi Kürsch, even though there are some hints of a more bluesy, soulful vocals hidden somewhere in there. Good track, but the similarities of the main riff to such an iconic song shouldn’t have been overlooked. This is where the production starts to feel a little too faulty for the more demanding listener. The guitar duet overdubbing the vocals in the mid-section needed some work. Someone is really out of tune in there. That might deviate your attention for the next tune  “Kill The Past”, which is already not the most memorable song on the list.

“Ready To Strike” is a fast and aggressive MOTÖRHEAD-like tune that harbors the album’s instrumental highlight. The legato-harmonized riffs doubled with the bass and followed by a short bass solo and a drum fill is one of the coolest moments of the entire record. The vocals, however, start to sound a bit tepid at this point. As the band starts to open up and explore, the singer seems to be doing the same thing over and over. Some dynamics and variation would be more than welcome. Next up, comes “The Shark” featuring Bryan ‘Hellroadie' Patrick with his HALFORDIAN vibratos and speech-level melodies. This guest performance adds a nice variation to the album. “The Lights Are On (But Nobody’s Home)” is a heavier and more somber track, that explores diminished and harmonic minor riffs and melodies, granting it an evil sound that resembles KING DIAMOND and even early METALLICA. Fast, heavy and varied, this is a great contender for best song on the album. “Gorgon Eyes” kicks in with an imminent drum intro that sets the motion to a fast track with very melodic bridges and choruses. Once again, production falls flat in the guitar solo and vocal departments. This could have been an amazing tune if the performances of these lead instruments were tighter. Closing the 44-minute journey of “Die By My Sword” is "Wrath Of Theseus”, a mythological track with a very Power Metal meets NWOBHM vibe. Not a very climatic ending song, but well-performed overall.

The sum of it all makes it an album that is…average. It could have been a lot better if only the production focused more in exploring the singer’s strengths and paying more attention to details such as guitar tuning and tempo. But this seems to be a young and inexperienced band and if production is taken care of in a proper way we might see a great Old School Heavy Metal group blossom from Spain.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Die By My Sword
2. Castle Of Pain
3. Wings Of Fire
4. Master Of Revenge
5. Kill The Past
6. Ready to Strike
7. The Shark (featuring Bryan ‘Hellroadie' Patrick)
8. The Lights Are On (But Nobody’s Home)
9. Gorgon Eyes
10. Wrath Of Theseus
Alberto Rodríguez - Vocals
Eduardo Antón - Lead Guitar
Enrique Mas - Rhythm Guitar
Manuel Molina - Bass
José Vicente Aldeguer - Drums
Record Label: Fighter Records


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Edited 28 September 2020

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