Monday, October 21, 2013


Self-Release/Independent Recording

Alice, Texas-based Cruxiter are a band that I stumbled across by accident awhile back. I had almost forgot about the group when I happened upon the link to their Metal Archive's page while cleaning out the bookmarks on my phone. The group, which is pretty much a continuation of  the band Hammerwhore (only with one new member in lead guitarist Miggy Ramirez), was formed in 2011 with two demos following later that same year. But, while the member's previous Hammerwhore (whose 2005, self-titled, full-length release was well-received) tuned their guitars towards all things crossover and heavy thrash (which was said to be similar in sound and nature to Toxic Holocaust), this band rocks out to an entirely different beat altogether. In Cruxiter, and their freshly-baked 4-track EP (due for release tomorrow as a matter of fact!), we find musicians that have turned their attentions towards playing a (fairly traditional) style of heavy metal, but one that also pays tribute to the sounds of 80's hard rock and, most importantly (and rather obviously on their part) the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement! Only here we find a group that doesn't so much lean on Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, which seems to be the case for most retro-worship/N.W.O.B.H.M.-inspired bands these days (no need to name names as most people should already be aware of the more "well-known" acts out there these days which are peddling nothing but recycled riffs!), but rather one that keeps things focused on the more hard rock end of the British metal scene of old. What's really interesting about that fact though is that in lead vocalist/former Hammerwhore member Joe Gonzalez (who also played in the bands Mass Torment and Screams Of Winter) you have this one-time black metal musician who played in both the black metal band Sempiternal and (it's short-lived off-shoot) Corpus Satanas! Sure, it's not the first time we've seen a black metal musician try their hand at true heavy metal, but I'd wager that few of them would sound as natural in such a setting as Joe Gonzalez does! Anyway, let's get back to the actual music at hand which, as laid out above, is more rooted in all things eighties then mere words can truly describe. But the thing is it works. In fact it works quite well and (somehow) it never feels as tiring as a lot of  the retro-rock and metal acts do today. With Cruxiter there's a certain amount of charm to be found in their old-fashioned assembled numbers. Especially on the splendid, nearly-hard rock number "The Church/Mayeve". The vibe of this sound is enchanting and it makes up for some of the shortcomings of this Texas band. Elsewhere we're treated to both the studio version of "Traveler" and a live version. Both are cool although the live one, which is about ten seconds longer, comes off as much more sinister thanks to some epic lead vocals that (at least in a live setting) recall Ronnie James Dio! With those two other demos in their back-catalog, as well as some misc. promo material it seems, this Texas-based 5-piece makes the most of their time on this short EP. Off the three studio tracks (with the one other track called "Tall Dark Glass") it's "The Church/Mayeve" that is probably my favorite.and should appeal to both fans of  the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene and artists like Dio. While it's not a perfect (some of those "shortcomings" included a rather blah rhythm section and the band's habit of slowing things things too far down when they would be better served putting the peddle to the metal) it still beats a lot of what passes for "retro-metal" and "modern hard rock". You can check it out for yourself at the link below.

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