Wednesday, November 02, 2016

October 31-Metal Massacre 31

Hell's Headbangers

It is November 2nd and I am now two days late with this piece. I had every intention of posting this review on Halloween, but sometimes life....well, it just gets in the way of things. Actually, is it life that's the problem or is it my demonically-possessed home computer? Whatever the case, October 31 has a new album out and I couldn't be happier! Seeing as I've covered this traditional heavy metal band plenty of time over the years I won't go into any long winded bits about the who, what and where of October 31. That's not to say that stuff isn't important, but it kind of takes a backseat to matters when you are talking about a new October 31 disc that is all covers! Yes, you heard me right. Named after the Metal Blade Records' sampler series that started it all(!),  "Metal Massacre 31" is nothing but cover songs from one band that sure as hell knows how to pull them off! As a long time fan of King Fowley (Deceased, ex-Doomstone, ex-Abominog) and company I have enjoyed the numerous tributes that October 31 has dolled out since first forming in 1995. On their very first demo, 1996's "Voyage to Infinity", this Virginia-based metal band covered the Warlord classic, "Child of the Damned". From there we heard cover songs from Witchkiller, Lizzy Borden, Judas Priest, Saxon, Uriah Heep, and even Mötley Crüe! The thing is those were just cover songs on official October 31 releases. This band has also appeared on tribute albums to Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Riot!  So, yes, October 31 obviously has no problems as far as paying tribute to other artists. All of which brings us straight back to this wicked awesome /must-have recording. Due out on November 25th, "Metal Massacre 31" is made up of cover songs that are exclusive to the Metal Massacre series. Or at least the first seven volumes! Starting off with Death Dealer's "Cross My Way" (from Metal Massacre IV), October 31 covers both "well-known" bands from the series (Omen, Tyrant, and Hallow's Eve) and some of more obscure ones (Aloha, Final Warning, Titanic, and War Cry). There's Demon Flight's "Dead of the Night" from the first Metal Massacre compilation and the aforementioned Hallow's Eve from Metal Massacre VI. Along with "Heavy Metal Virgins" by Aloho and Tyrant's "The Battle of Armageddon" you get to hear October 31's take on Omen's "Torture Me" and they even cover Sacred Blade's "The Alien"! Over the course of this 30 minute plus album, October 31 ultimately pays homage to ten bands. Whether it's power metal bands like Titanic ("The Awakening") and Final Warning ("the Warrior") or just the plain old fashioned thrash of Omen, October 31 gives it a go with plenty of gusto to spare! At the end of the day that is really what I love about this classic band. Just like every other recording that October 31 has laid to tape, "Metal Massacre 31" is as fun as it is technically sound. The album is spiked with adrenaline and King Fowley's enthusiasm is as contagious as it has ever been! For October 31 fans this one is a given!!!

PS: If you've never heard October 31 before then this cleverly-titled album is as good a place to start as any. Available for pre-order by heading here, "Metal Massacre 31" goes a long way towards showing the heart and soul of this highly-energetic traditional heavy metal band. Lead by the one and only King Fowley, October 31's inspired brand of fist bangin' metal was built by heavy metal fanatics in order to serve other heavy metal fans. While it's true that King Fowley's vocal delivery might not suite all taste buds, October 31 as a whole is just way too much fun to pass up! All of the musicians in October 31 love what they do and that kind of epic enthusiasm  is sorely missing in the today's heavy metal scene.


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