Split Heaven-The Devils Bandit
Pure Legend Records
Whoa, man alive I did not see this one coming at all! Can you say loud, proud, mean, hot, nasty and heavy Mexican steel? Sure, that's a mouthful. But Split Heaven, working their way through this, their third full-length album, mean business. And when the business at hand is eighties-style heavy metal, which means you should think along the lines of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, as served up by a sinister-sounding speed metal band? Well, that just means that business is good....damn good. Truthfully I just downloaded, burned, and then threw this one into my car stereo without a second thought and when it first hit me I would have swore that this was a metal thrashing mad German speed metal band! Wow, was I ever FAR OFF. Regardless of where it is exactly that they hail from on this fragile globe of ours they still tear it the fuck up! Heavy metal/speed metal with lead vocals that sound as if they went to the Ronnie James Dio school for metalheads? You couldn't ask for better friends. And then there are the kind of well-loved (and sorely missed) whipping lead guitar solos that can only come from a band well versed in the sound of (all things beautiful indeed) eighties metal. That's what cooking! So, what's the scoop on Split Heaven anyway? Read on. Formed back in 2003 by guitarist Pedro Zelbohr and drummer Tomas Roitman, with a demo called "Lightstorm" appearing in late May of that same year, this album looks as if it marks the first introduction of the group's new lead vocalist (and third overall Split Heaven vocalist at that!) Gian Carlo Farjat. Or at least to tape. Maybe he's already played live with them? I don't know. But I do know one thing. Speaking of tapes, and bear with me here folks, this new album from Split Heaven reminds me of the glorious heyday of heavy metal tape trading! Here we have a band that sounds for all the world like a kick ass underground act and, if one didn't know better, you could almost pass this one off as a missed, but not forgotten, eighties/early nineties act. The thing that gives it away though is the modern production. Of course that just highlights the immense metal power of this five-piece act. With guitarist Armand "Hank" Ramos and bass player Carlo "Taii" Hernández serving as the other two building blocks for this brick house, Split Heaven are an institution that all heavy/speed metal fans should invest in! In addition to their own back-catalog, which I need to now check out, the group made an appearance on a tribute album for Metalucifer and they have shared the stage with bands from all over the globe. You've got Hammerfall (Sweden), Rata Blanca (Argentina), At War (U.S.A.) and Paul Di' Anno (Britain). They've also played with everyone from L.A Guns to Agent Steel and even bands like Stratovarius and Brainstorm in their time together. As they have quickly made a name for themselves as one of Mexico's premier metal bands they have also managed to line up endorsement deals with Washburn Guitars, Randall Amplifiers, Eden Amplification and Evans Drumheads (just to name a few)! So there sure seems to be other people besides just me who are enamored with this Mexican metal band! You can check Split Heaven out for yourself and see what all the fuse is about when this one drops in late November. I've got a good feeling that this one is going to rattle the bones of heavy/speed metal fanatics!