Monday, January 06, 2014

Blade Killer-Blade Killer

Stormspell Records

Stormspell Records has yet to steer me wrong when it comes to the high quality of their releases and with their latest signing their perfect track record continues on into 2014! Formed in 2012, and hailing from Los Angeles California of all places(!), Blade Killer are another young act floating (or is it flirting?) the fine line that exists between traditional heavy metal (80's style of course!) and N.W.O.B.H.M. Have no fear though as this is not just another White Wizard or Enforcer (or for that matter about 2/3 of the bands that appeared on Earache Records 2009 compilation "Heavy Metal Killers"). Not even close. Here we have another shining example of how to do it and do it right. There's nothing retro about this act, which is incidentally lead into combat by the very capable Carlos Gutierrez*, and it's never a case on this recently-released EP where you walk away with the impression that Blade Killer is just playing a part or something. Rather this is a band paying homage to the greats (chief among them would have to be early Iron Maiden) while staying true to the notion that they are (first and foremost) A) A real band brought together through an obvious shared love of great heavy metal and B) Not a bunch of musicians simply trying to catch up to and jump aboard the already-overcrowded/please let it crash soon bandwagon that lies at the very heart of retro-worship. For most retro-worship bands wouldn't bleed real blood if you cut them (or for that matter owe a debt to the likes of Tokyo Blade, Tygers of Pan Tang and Cloven Hoof!), but if you were to cut this bunch? I have no doubt that you'd find that heavy metal, real heavy metal and not the retro-worship fluff, was/is encoded in their D.N.A. like many of the greats that have come before them! Now, besides Carlos Gutierrez (whose voice is heavily drenched in all things eighties metal while also reflecting a bit of the rougher grit that made some of those early nineties hard rock/heavy metal bands so appealing) Blade Killer has two former members of defunct California thrash band Armory (guitarists Jon Rubio and Jay Vazquez) and features ex-Unholy Lust bassist Kelsey Wilson. As no drummer is mentioned I'll just assume that this L.A.-based act simply dug up the remains of several deceased eighties metal drummers and, after first (carefully) assembling the perfect studio drummer (using duct tape and guitar strings to hold him/her together), used a combination of black magic and lighting to bring said individual/metal monster back to life in order to (properly) fill the drum stool! That could happen right? Anyway, getting back to the task at hand (ie: what makes up the bulk this cool, 13 plus minutes, 4-track heavy metal EP!) and, besides the likes of Iron Maiden, Tokyo Blade, Tygers of Pan Tang and Cloven Hoof, the material here reminds me at times of French bands like Warning, Satan Jokers, Nightmare, High Power and (specifically) Sortilège. In fact it wouldn't surprise me at all if I was to find out that Blade Killer took their name from the English version of Sortilège's "Bourreau"! But, that's neither here nor there and really it's a conversation better suited for another day. For now I'll just get back to my initial point that Stormspell Records has a real winner on their hands with Blade Killer. Of the four cuts here on the band's self-titled EP my favorite is probably "Raise Your Fist" although it's closely followed by the hard-driving title cut! But really all four of these cuts are just too good to pass up. "Made of Steel", as with the other three tracks present here, features the same kind of twin guitar attack that makes fans of eighties heavy metal (Iron Maiden/Judas Priest) all giddy inside. Meanwhile "Don't Hold Back (Break Away)" offers an uncensored look at the gritty underbelly of underground heavy metal and yes, it does make you want to take a walk back over to the dark side of town where these kinds of bands would have rocked the foundations off of many a small club/bingo hall back in the mid-eighties (and we all loved 'em for doing it!). If this EP is just a sneak peek at what this California band has to offer down the line then fans/collectors of true heavy metal (and yes, as always boys and girls, I count myself in both groups thank you very much!)  may just be looking at their favorite new band/obsession! With releases like this 2014 is going to be every bit as good as 2013 was when it comes to good, old fashioned, well-love and never-forgotten, heavy metal!

*If the name sounds familiar it is because Carlos, in addition to being a former member of the brutal band Sodomizing the Dead, is the drummer for Norwalk, California thrash act Fueled By Fire!

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