Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Skelator-Agents Of Power

Metal On Metal Records/RAW Metal

Awhile back I covered Skelator's "Death To All Nations" in a Forgotten Gems article (link below) so imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from Metal On Metal Records toting the band's third full-length album. I quickly sent off a request for promo materials (this and several other albums on the label I hope to review) and let me just say that I was not disappointed. My only minor complaint with this promo is (and I can understand why they do this is a day and age of extreme digital piracy) how often you keep hearing "you are listening to Skelator the king of fear Metal On Metal". That does take away some of the impact of an otherwise enjoyable listening experience. Obviously that is just for press copies so I wouldn't lose sleep yet Skelator fans. Now, the big selling point here is aimed towards Michael Moorcock fans: “Elric: The Dragon Prince”, a 40 minutes epic in 12 parts. My guess is most people will not know who Elric of Melniboné is anyway so what does it matter? If your curious just do a Google search and you'll find out for yourself. It's a concept album and truth be told Skelator are not the first band to tackle the subject matter and they probably won't be the last. What matters most to most people (including me) is the meat of the matter. How is the sound? Is it a step-forward from their last album? Yes, although the two albums are also so very different. This being a concept album there is a certain feel to the album in the way it flows. While the last album just assaulted you with hard-hitting old-school metal this newest one follows it's own game plan and seems a tad more focused on the job at hand. There is still plenty of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dio worship going on. Obviously other bands in the same ballpark would be Virgin Steele, Hellstar, Metal Church, Sacred Steel and to a lesser extent Manilla Road. With Skelator though the band doesn't just repeat all the same the same notes, in different order, like far too many newer traditional/U.S. power metal bands. No, these guys seem well-suited at crafting epic metal without any of the added flair that often times drags down modern metal revivalists. More importantly they seem to be making more of a move towards an individual sound with album number three. Slowly the band is carving out their own unique sound and I'd suspect that by album number four the comparisons will be less and less and Skelator will just sound like....well, Skelator.

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