The first of the two studio tracks to be released is “Leather Lord.” I heard plenty about this song before giving it a spin, and thankfully a lot of it lived up to the hype. The track wasn’t really the most amazing song I’ve heard, but it was definitely a solid experience none the less. As if channeling the pioneers of the NWOBHM sound with a hint of aggression a la Judas Priest‘s “Painkiller,” which stood out so much to me in such a subtle fashion that I found myself belting out their chorus lyrics over these in a matching falsetto manner. The higher pitched approach approach is nicely met with a small section prior to the guitar solo to feature some rougher vocals, concluding with a more guttural sounding “Piss off…” that transitions into a suiting, though not too inspiring guitar solo. I felt a little let down by it honestly, and the overall final product left me wanting more. But, overall, I enjoyed the track for what it was, and was anxious to hear the next single when I finished.
Next up is “Dark Messenger,” and holy Mercyful Fate does it sound familiar. Despite its blatently obvious unoriginality, the track still boasted enough of a classic Heavy Metal sound with a little of the 3 Inches of Blood signature modern edge. There are some harsher vocvals that appear again, roughly around the half-way point, and the track itself definitely has a good bite to it that had my head bobbing along. Sadly, I wasn’t too moved again. “Dark Messenger” is a good song, there’s no denying that, but it’s not like fans of this particular band haven’t already heard this specific sound and foundation before, so it’s a little hard to really get pumped for it, even at the moment everything kicks in.
So, with my time spent along side these two studio tracks, I can safely say that they did nothing for me. While I definitely enjoyed them a hell of a lot more then I did with Here Waits Thy Doom, I felt that the band’s more original sound has been heavily compromised and really shows the heavy influence of the styles early acts. In no way do I feel this will be a bad album, but I can’t see it being one of my favorite recordings of 2012 either. After a few spins with these, I already started to miss Fire Up the Blades, and even Advance and Vanquish. Both of those had more of an identity, where as Long Live Heavy Metal doesn’t really seem to have one as far as “Leather Lord” and “Dark Messenger” are concerned.
But, then again, this album is called Long Live Heavy Metal. Perhaps this title is meant to be literal, and the influence showing through a lot more than usual will be an intentional theme for the album? I guess we’ll all have to wait and see…
Article based on digital review material provided by Century Media Records