Cauldron are back with latest offering, “New Gods”. Since forming in 2006, they’ve a string of full length albums and EP’s to their credit. The band continue to explore the classic era heavy metal sounds inspired by the likes of Judas Priest and early Iron Maiden. Front man and bassist Jason Decay is joined by Ian Chains on guitar and drummer Myles Deck; their mission is to craft melodious, hook driven metal like the forefathers.

“Prisoner Of The Past” reflects all this with the very early Judas Priest styled clean riffs. Anyone who has heard original Priest singer Al Atkins solo releases would also get a similar vibe. Highly melodic and with a NWOBHM feel in the chorus, its’ got catchy hooks aplenty but is perhaps a little uninspired and sounds a touch dated. The opening brace of tracks follows this formula and the songs have a structural predictability that while enjoyable don’t immediately stick in the memory. Mid 80’s era Alice Cooper punch on “Letting Go” with clean vocals, dark lyrics and beefy chords blend with the smooth, very Angel Witch sounding “No Longer”. Melody is the stand out quality and these tracks are highly accessible sonically whilst sometimes bringing in a darker theme. After a nice groove that simmers away, the band inject obscure, experimental sounding effects on “Save The Truth – Syracuse” with an aura that harks back to the interludes on Black Sabbath’s “Born Again” album.

There tends to be an over-arching feel of heavy-metal-by-numbers here. The band manage to find moments of welcome urgency on “Drown” but the general feel is of confinement without ever threatening to break the mould. “Together As None” is a slab of pure ‘80’s metal. Imagine a darker Def Leppard; it’s a lighters-held-aloft, arena metal soundtrack. Catchy, radio friendly hooks and an anthemic chorus start to conjure mental images of the old MTV heyday: the dewy eyed temptress staring into the glazed, faux sincere face of the front man; ripped jeans and spandex galore…you get the idea. This one feels at odds with the rest of the album and thankfully the album finishes on a more Iron Maiden fuelled, head banging note in the shape of “Last Request”.

“New Gods” is decently crafted and produced but sounds a little tired and sometimes uninspired. The eye catching album artwork is a surrealist delight that promises a lot more. Full of hooks and riffs that stay firmly in safe territory, its’ a solid outing that should keep fans happy but don’t expect any lightbulb flashing moments.

(6/10 Johnny Zed)