Band number 72,453 from the Portland Oregon area. Not sure what is in the water there but it seems to make everyone at least attempt to become a musician, thankfully with this lot, despite the title we are not completely wasting our time. Apparently 3 of this quartet were formerly in a speed thrash, NWOBHM sounding band called Spellcaster who were signed to Prosthetic Records. Must have been doing something right but apparently after a couple of members left they called it quits and laid that band to rest. Idle Hands are as we are told the devils tools and so it was not surprising that the members continued with this new outfit and some of the stylistics of their former selves. However as this 5 track EP illustrates there may well be a few surprises as far as older fans are concerned.
What we get here is essentially a slight shift of the goalposts with the members taking on a bit of a gothic bent, perhaps they were too happy playing speedy metal and wanted to knock back the joy a bit; not that this is all misery or sackcloth and ashes so don’t worry too much about it putting you on a glum path. Those of us who grew up in graveyards will no doubt listen to a song like Blade And The Will and hear a bit of the phantasmagorical touch of The Damned, in fact this catchy cut could have easily ended up on their last album ‘Evil Spirits.’ Those of a more metal persuasion on the other hand, not quite so aged and knowledgeable of such things will take one listen and no doubt happily cite the likes of In Solitude and maybe Beastmaster instead. Whatever way you formulate an opinion one thing is assured and this is good old earworm that is going to infect within a couple of listens. ‘By Way Of Kingdom’ continues and listening you will hear some neat jagged chords that definitely hark back to the NWOBHM era along with vocals that are rich and reminiscent of all sorts of people giving me a listening experience a bit like hearing High Spirits & The Misfits duelling away with Spear Of Destiny and The Teardrop Explodes! Naturally I like it quite a bit. ‘Can You Hear The Rain?’ is a title straight out of 80’s Leeds and this brooding ballad with airy metallic licks and heartfelt crooning vocals really hits the mark on this surprisingly sunny morning I find myself writing about it “You are standing there on our wedding day, I still see you when I dream” you can definitely feel the poetic touch.
‘Time Crushes All’ is a much faster and fiery number by contrast and has a bit of a Maiden thrash along about it and even a death grunt, vocals definitely having more than a touch of the Vanian about them in the lower range parts. Finishing off with ‘I Feel Nothing’ this is work that feels incredibly personal following a time of inactivity and feeling the need to start up something fresh and creative. Vocalist Gabriel Franco has stated “this is an honest record. Succeed or fail, I am happy with it and I hope whoever hears it is happy, too.” As far as I am concerned you have done that and listening to this EP has definitely put a smile on my face. I’m glad this band have found a home albeit a slightly unexpected one via Eisenwald and hope a full album is in the group’s future.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)