midnight_messiah_cover[1]Legendary NWOBHM band Elixir called it quits recently following a successful reformation over the last 12 years or so. From that band Guitarist Phil Denton and vocalist Paul Taylor have formed Midnight Messiah (a track from Elixir’s last studio release ‘All Hallows Eve’). They are joined by Darren Lee (drums), Dusty Miller (Bass) and Denton is joined by new axe slinger Dave Strange to do battle on guitars. This duel battle is evident right from the opener ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ and the real gem ‘Damned For All Time’. It is at this point I am sitting back with my mouth open revelling in awe the guitar licks that are bursting out of my speakers, this is exciting, this makes you be more compelled to crank it up louder and listen more intently for the undertones you may miss on a casual listen.

It is not all riffs and licks like you may imagine. On lighter tracks such as ‘You Put Me Through Hell’ there is atmosphere and emotion audible, this is a chance to stretch their influences that bit further and I am glad to report that it works out rather well. There is a re-recorded version of the track ‘Midnight Messiah’, but I will leave that to you to fathom your favourite of the two versions in existence. Other metal monsters like ‘The Wise Man of Roklar’ really solidify a perfect listening experience that brings in the old and the new. There is a clear trademark Elixir melody in the background, but there is also something that little bit more in the classic metal vein in some of the guitarwork rather than a simple continuation of a former band. Taylor’s vocal melody lines are some of the best he has recorded, and I really like the guitar interaction between these two gents that leads into the darker sounding ‘Holy Angel’. ‘The Root of All Evil’ is a deep and meaningful release that has a bit more soul than a simple metal release, musically tantalizing at every twist and turn that provides a rewarding listening experience.

Head over to http://coldtown.com to buy the first limited to 1000 copies edition digipack release, you will not be disappointed and there is a debut gig planned at one of Maiden’s old haunts, the Cart & Horses in Maryland/Stratford, but if you miss that, take a gander at these gents performing with Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper and US band Widow on June 8th at the Waters Rats, Kings Cross, London. Full details of all upcoming UK & European shows are listed in the link below.

(8/10 Paul Maddison)