Spellcaster-Under The Spell
When you have to compete with the likes of Malice, Metal Church and Wild Dogs you'd better come out all guns blazing. Trying to get your name mentioned in the same breath as these legends of Pacific Northwest heavy metal takes some serious balls of steel. Formed in 2009 the band Spellcaster had set some pretty lofty goals. Given that traditional heavy metal has come back with a vengeance and that bands have been trying to recreate that sound that made famous by the above acts and more could Spellcaster make an impact? Their 2010 EP Spells Of Speed was a solid enough affair. Rooted in that sound done a million time before Spellcaster at least played with a chip on their shoulder. Under The Spell to these ears at least sounds more beefed up. The metal on display here is tight and catchy as hell. "Chainsaw Champion" is straight up speed metal rock. The guitars offer dueling leads and the drums are packed in just right. Spellcaster has crafted an album that recalls the greats while offering their own take on it. Like bands such as Jag Panzer, Sanctuary, Grim Reaper, Armoured Saint or any of the above mentioned Pacific Northwest bands? Spellcaster are custom built for you then. There are drawbacks though. Where is bass player Gabe Franco? He seems lost in the mix. Also vocalist Thomas Adams has some serious pitch problems to overcome. It isn't enough to take away from the enjoyment of tracks like "Power Rising", "Nite of the Hellbeast" and "Sands of Fear" but it is noticeable. It almost sounds as if he is trying too hard to be Steve Grimmett and he just can't make it. With time though maybe he'll ease into the role better. As it stands though Under The Spell is a fine additional to the genre and a welcomed relief for those suffering from the onslaught of modern metal.