I thought it had been 9 years since I bought a release by this US band, in fact it was a touch sooner as they had a split release with Substratum in more recent times. If you need to categorise your music, go with “metal” [!], although in their earlier life they were verging towards speed metal. Roll forward to ‘Cyber Metal’, no they haven’t gone industrial, they are simply dealing with laser swords, there are no songs about actual swords and as the band explains in their PR material, everyone does that.
The opener and the majority could quite easily sit within an EU power metal fans arsenal, quite Gamma Ray, majestic, total metal, fast and exciting. ‘Cast Iron’ and ‘The Hammer’ are a true metal greats on the release. Slower, more basic metal, fist pounding, and all those clichés are included. The sound is strong, admittedly polished, so a raw edge is lost. I think for me this is why I’ve gone down the EU power metal route, as that’s where I feel its sits overall. ‘Highlander’, about the movie of course, takes a different twist in the vocal department. You get a much more nasal approach leading to early Manilla Road/Mark Shelton comparisons. ‘Akira’ I assume relates to the animated post-apocalyptic cyberpunk film and completes a quadruple of amazing tracks. The start and tail of the album I don’t really feel much passion for, it’s a sound we’ve long lost in time in Europe. That maybe a bit harsh, but the centre section of the release is where the real action is at.
‘Cyber Metal’ is ambitious, as good as it is, the album has managed to fall into a big pool of similar artists as a result of polishing the sound and resulting production just that little bit further. Having said that, given time, you will get the songs on offer, it’s a gamble; we’ll see if it pays off. Overall though, there’s some strong song writing and the arrangements are filled with many special influences.
(7/10 Paul Maddison)