Chained To The Nite
Chained To The Nite
Rivals and possibly surpasses other modern throw-backs
It is 2010. 2010 folks. Yet we still have the true bangers and mosh thrashers treating this century as if it is the 70s and 80s. We are in the land of CGI, the age of digital everything and at the very brink of creating our very own sexual robots. Where is heavy metal, the one defining musical genre that breaks boundaries and changes the way music is played and performed? Still in the land of mullets, Daisy Duke and the back patch. I can't put my devil horns on it. Perhaps it is just simply a generation trait...I remember my high school days in the 90s was complete class worship of everything Zeppelin, Beatles and Manson. Was the heavy metal of the 70s and 80s the very best the genre offered and simply DEMANDS total worship year in and year out? How about the new wave of thrash? Just ask artist Ed Repka, the renowned mastermind behind metal's classic artwork (Death, Megadeth, etc.). He is probably the busiest artist on the planet supplying thrash metal covers to most of today's metal bands (Municipal Waste, Guillotine, Fallen Man, Pitifull Reign, do I need to continue?). Which leads me to ask you, constant reader, why do bands like Cauldron find this sound so addictive?
The band comes to England's Earache Records by way of Canada. The country has historically dished out some great metal exports over the years. Razor, Exciter and Annihilator thrashed the maple leaf for years, followed by some great hard rock and AOR in Triumph and Rush. Not to mention THE ULTIMATE Canadian metal icon...Chris Jericho. Following those legendary acts comes the standard metal 101 moniker Cauldron and their Dokken sounding album title "Chained To The Nite". The band put together a solid outing here with true metal force that rivals and possibly surpasses other modern throw-backs like White Wizzard, Bible Of The Devil and Three Inches Of Blood.
Cauldron focus on the RIFF, that single aspect that sinks deep into the metal psyche and sticks; I caught myself humming the riff of "Witch's Trail" while on endless hold with technical support (damn Dell). That is the thing that really sets these retro bands apart, the ability to make riffs that last, riffs that Metallic's leading defense firm Smith-Murray-Tipton-Downing have implanted for life. I don't hear these riffs with the Austrian Death Machines and Municipal Wastes of the world. Cauldron really do a fine job with a limited vocalist, mounting some massive grinding bass lines with a quick-dash-attack of sharp and riviting guitar riffage. The above mentioned "Witch's Trail" creates an addictive lead crossed with Sabbath's down tuned heaviness (like Sweden's Hellfueled). The band uses a simplistic melody scheme to lure in catchy chorus lines in "Chained Up In Chains" and "Conjure The Mass". The group even shows off their metal trivia by covering "Chains Around Heaven", the only Black & Blue song that most would consider metal (it appeared on "Metal Massacre 1"...go impress your friends).
Overall the Canadians should appeal to fans of early Running Wild, Halloween, mid-era Accept and even early Queensryche. Nods to Earache for FINALLY snapping out of their grindcore execution and signing a few true metal acts.
Chained to the Night
Company: Earache Records
Short but effective album
I admittedly never paid attention to Canadian doomsters Goat Horn, but after hearing this first full-length from ex-Goat Horn bassist Jason Decay's new band, I am beginning to think I should brush up on (but not against) the horn. Yes, despite its rather stupid, nonsensical title, Chained to the Night is a short but sweet foray into a world of nifty metal sounds from a bygone but fondly remembered era.
The band's first release was the 2007 EP Into the Cauldron (appropriately reissued on vinyl after the fact), a steaming little pot of traditional metal goodness that combined speed, melody and just a hint of doom-friendly chunkiness that appeared to be left over from the Goat Horn days. Chained to the Night continues in a similar vein, but with a noticeable shift in direction. While the EP ripped with a refreshing dose of almost thrash metal-like verve, the material here is, for the most part, noticeably slower (mid-paced), more melodic and less busy. As a result, Chained to the Night comes across more like a gritty, slightly sludgy (detuned?) modern approximation of vintage Dokken, W.A.S.P. or even Black ‘n' Blue, whose anthem "Chains around Heaven" is faithfully covered here.
Mind you, there is nothing wrong with the new direction in my book. It's just that after the more intense attack of the EP, it seems a bit of a letdown, at least in terms of sheer energy (on the plus side, however, you can get two Into the Cauldron-era tunes as bonus tracks on the limited edition of this album). Another problem, albeit a minor one in my opinion, is that Jason Decay's vocals are something of an acquired taste, a bit nasal and strangely scratchy in tone on some of the more melodic passages. Also, while cuts like "Young and Hungry" and "Conjure the Mass" are catchy and engaging, "Fermenting Enchantress" drags a bit, and the otherwise enjoyable could-be hit single "Chained up in Chains" could have used a more creative wind-down, rather than its very repetitive fade-out ending.
Those, however, are my only quibbles with this short but effective album, which shows major promise and provides considerable enjoyment for fans of traditional metal in its various guises. For my money, a considerable portion of this album's quality is provided by guitarist Ian Chains, whose tasty, skillfully executed and commendably melodic solos reliably provide that extra special something to take each song to the next level. Bravo, man, and kudos to the whole band for forging a familiar yet fresh approach to the hallowed sounds of Reaganomics-era metal. Really, I'm being a bit nitpicky with this album, if anything, as it is a truly enjoyable celebration of ideas from metal's glory days, making Cauldron one of an increasing number of acts currently infusing traditional metal with some much-needed fresh blood. What Cauldron- and other bands attempting this sort of sound- need to do is hone and perfect their individual take on the classics, so that it may be recognized as more than just a solid (and welcome) tribute to their influences.
Timely note: As I complete this review, the band is staging a U.S. tour with Swedish trad/melodic thrashers Enforcer, whose debut full length Into the Night is another welcome offering of old-school metal ruleage.