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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Battleroar

To Death and Beyond...

Review by Gary Hill

Based in Greece, I suppose by definition Battleroar is European epic metal. The truth is, though, it’s not the kind of music we’ve come to expect under that banner. This is more pure metal – less string sections and lush productions – and more just plain screaming. Comparisons to Iron Maiden and Dio abound, but there are other things to be heard here including Judas Priest and Manowar. All in all this is a strong album. The formula at times wears a bit thin, but even when it does the disc isn’t found lacking. That’s a real compliment to the power of this outfit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Wrathforge
There is a keyboard oriented symphonic build-up to start this. It works out from there to some seriously meaty metal to continue. This has a dramatic intro style to it. It modulates to a heavier, slower moving jam as different elements seem to swirl toward coalescing. Then a new riff driven segment takes over and it screams out to seriously fast moving heavy metal. Some of the galloping elements of this really make me think of Iron Maiden. The vocals come in over the top and we're off into serious power metal territory. They take this through a number of shifts and changes. Overall, it's just an effective metal stomper that makes for a great opening salvo.
Dragonhelm
More furious and even heavier than the previous track, this feels to me like a cross between Iron Maiden and Manowar. It’s a real pounder. The galloping riff is particularly Maiden-like. They take it through a few changes, but it’s less dynamic than the opener. It’s no less powerful, though.
Finis Mundi
A dramatic and pretty mellower motif opens this. First keyboards drive it in a rather symphonic arrangement then guitar brings in a balladic motif. This just holds for the first part of the introduction, though as they power it out into more metal fury. They drop it for an acoustic interlude mid-track with symphonic overtones and vocals join over the top of this after a time.
Metal From Hellas
Although this feels less slick in terms of production than I would think it might be had Dio done it, it feels a lot like something Dio would do to me. Of course, there is also some Iron Maiden in the mix here and some of the wall of vocals approaches make me think of Manowar. There is some exceptionally tasty lead guitar work on this.
Hyrkanian Blades
This is more furious in many ways than anything we’ve heard thus far. It’s a real screamer. The lyrics (and vocal performance) are definitely in keeping with something we might expect from Dio.
Oceans of Pain
The formula is starting to wear a bit thin. Of course, that just means that this track doesn’t differ a lot from the previous one. That fact doesn’t make it any less powerful. At least that’s the case with the first portion of the cut. This is over ten minutes in length, making it the longest piece on show. They drop it way down for a symphonically tinged balladic movement mid-track. That section is arguably progressive rock in nature. It’s definitely intricate and powerful. When it comes back out from there it it’s in a chugging metal motif that reminds me a bit of Judas Priest. It really stomps out quite well. There’s a spoken word section as this builds and some more tasty guitar soloing. This segment eventually fades down to end it.
Born In the 70's
Percussion opens this and reminds me of Judas Priest’s Painkiller album. As they scream out from there I can once more hear both Dio and Iron Maiden on this. This one is good, but a bit pedestrian compared to a lot of the other music here.
Warlord of Mars
Pounding out this one is perhaps the most Maiden-like track on show here. In fact, it definitely makes me think of their first two albums quite a bit.
Death Before Disgrace
Here they turn back to more Dio-like territory. This is another scorching metal track, but it’s a bit more plodding in tempo. It’s still dramatic and strong. There’s an extended powerhouse instrumental section later in the running of this one.
 
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