TWISTED TOWER DIRE - Wars In The Unknown
May 7, 2019, a year ago
Has it really been almost eight years since Make It Dark? During that time, the core of TTD (Scott Waldrop, guitar, singer Johnny Aune and bassist Jim Hunter) toyed with Walpyrgus, but THIS band has a two and a half decade legacy (at least for Waldrop and drummer Marc Stauffer, both there since the beginning), so it wasn't a question of IF they'd return, only WHEN. OK, the cover art: a beady-eyed, red robe wearing, light saber brandishing humanoid amongst a population of large, pig-faced creatures won't win any awards, but the true (or is it trve?) artistry is within the vinyl grooves.
A revving turbine/vortex opens the disc, as “The Thundering” jumps right out of the speakers, Aune opting for the higher end of his register. Military cadence snare drumming introduces “True North”, a mid-paced anthem that wouldn't be out-of-place on any Iced Earth platter. While the infectious “Tear You Apart” ups the ante, in terms of speed, it's a lyrical departure, venturing into the vivisection underworld of death metal, or at least slasher films. “Tear you apart, into little pieces. You'll be screamin', as your Hell increases/as your life ceases.” Speaking of gore infested waters, there's a slow (by comparison) “And The Sharks Came In”. For the titular chorus of the backward masked begun “Light The Swords On Fire”, it's multi-tracked group vocals, which includes the lines, “We're a cult on a murdering craze... Psychopaths do the strangest things.” Galloping guitar interplay throughout. The high energy traditional/power metal for which they're known, “Riding The Fortress” (despite the confusing appellation) is one of the standouts. Ditto lyrically simplistic follow-up “Eons Beyond “, built around a chugging riff. Mid-tempo “A Howl In The Wind” offers the most spirited guitar solo on the album. Breaking into another gallop heightens, “The Beast I Fear”, which recounts the protagonist being stalked: “There is no escape”. Closing things out, the 4:05 “These Ghosts Never Leave” is almost the longest track (half the 10 inclusions exceed four minutes, but none eclipse five), yet breezes by effortlessly. Another high caliber, fun release from the criminally oft-overlooked Twisted Tower Dire. Rectify!