SANDSTORM - Desert Warrior
March 28, 2021, 3 weeks ago
(Dying Victims Productions)
With a nod of the hat to High Spirits and Haunt, but even more of a nod to about 1,000 bands from the '80s, Vancouver's Sandstorm lay down four magical old-school melodic trad metal songs here, the band absolutely tapping into the dangerous-big-city-at-night vibe that the best of the era had (or, as the press release brilliantly puts it, and I'm not one to quote press releases: “ghostly NWOBHM bordering on lonerist AOR”). It's not their first rodeo, but it's only their second, the band putting out their debut, Time To Strike, in 2019.
One this four-song EP, the title track is a wonderfully memorable piece of plodding-to-mid anthemic melodic rock/metal, while “Eat Me Alive” frollicks along at a fun side-step, great chorus, life of the party. “Evil Wins” offers horns up to Maiden, but without the obvious guitar salutes, and “Power Of The Pyramids” offers up an epic closer that still knows how to lay down a hot-rockin' beat, while showing some love to King Diamond along the way. I'm not entirely sold on every song but one being over five minutes; the band could trim the fat quite easily and come out of it with songs that are even more powerful. But everything else—the cover art, the atmosphere, the riffs, the tempos, that killer band name—just nails it. Now, it's a little rough around the edges, which can take away from some of the melodic punch, but it does add a certain scrappiness to it. Dokken this ain't, but a band opening up for Dokken back in the day this is, and, somehow, here in 2021, I really appreciate that.