Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Black Hawk-A Mighty Metal Axe

Pure Underground Records

There was some hesitation on my part in reviewing this album by Germany's Black Hawk. I just wasn't sure I was going to like it at all. Now , in no way is that a requirement on my end to cover albums (thinking that I might like it ahead of time), but it was still a little fear I carried with me going into this release. The band, which can trace it's roots all the way back to 1981, was originally active up until the late 90's before taking a break away from the action. Even though they did form in 1981 it would take until 1989 until they issued their first release, the "First Attack" EP. They didn't release their first full-length album, "Twentyfive", until 2005. Since that point though they have been fairly consistent with the cheesy-titled "A Mighty Metal Axe" making album number five for this bunch. For the most part Black Hawk plays things fairly straight, never straying from a style that is equal parts traditional heavy metal and N.W.O.B.H.M. Highlight's include lead vocalist Udo Bethke whose somewhat rough vocals, which made me think of a younger, German Ozzy Osbourne striking out on his own to front a European power metal band, fits this style of metal to  a tee while never stepping on the toes of  guitarists Thorsten "Thor" Bettge and Günter Kruse (Non Skid/Paragon). Influences aside (see below*) this German band tends to play fairly original material with only a few missteps taking place on "A Mighty Metal Axe". Other then the cut "FasionVictim", which is WAY MORE Bon Jovi then it has any reasonable right to be, and maybe "Venom of the Snake" (Ever experienced one of those songs where you keep waiting for it to break out into some drop-dead serious heavy metal and it never does? No? Well, then check out this one and you'll feel my frustration!) the latest release from Black Hawk is a good example of how to do things right. There's a good reason why heavy metal appeals to so many of us to begin with and when you experience an album like this in it's entirety you can't help but smile. Bands like Black Hawk are custom-built for fans. Don't let the cheesy title persuade you though or even the album's art-work that seems like it would be better suited for some sort of Manowar-like, European power metal group. Nope, this one is metal to the core and a solid addition to any fan's collection. Why mess around when you've got albums like this that beckon to be played loud and proud?

* The influences here range from Iron Maiden/Judas Priest (or 80's metal if you will) to bands like Accept, Saxon even some (early) Running Wild.

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