TOWER HILL - Deathstalker
October 30, 2023, a month ago
This Greek label No Remorse Records continues to scour the planet and unearth quality, traditional minded metal acts. This is the debut from the Canadian quintet. Their 2021 Fighting Spirits demo only hinted at the talent within: speedy melodic riffs and the occasional falsetto vocal accents. All three songs from that tape re-appear on the full-length. Over-the-top, combine Manowar in a blender with Lords Of The Trident, and a hints of Falconer and Canuck neighbors Riot City, it might come out with something akin to Deathstalker.
The nearly six minute title track leads off, a sword & sorcery gallop, complete with sudden outbursts of high pitched squeals, and come the guitar break, fleet fingered leads. We know what the claw is for and that the saw is the law, but apparently north of the border, "The Claw Is the Law". Lots of 8-bit video game sounding riffs, piled atop one another for the catchy drinking song. Seems unlikely, but pace enlivens, even further, for a tale of military conquest, aka the aforementioned "Fighting Spirits". Twist in the wording, as the spirits in question are adult potables. Notice a theme emerging? Much of "Kings Who Die" is delivered by a seemingly helium infused vocalist.
Stylistically different (owing a nod to slow-to-mid-paced Running Wild), the warbling, pedestrian "In At The Death" is the only number that's unconvincing. Halfway through, the electricity is (temporarily) restored, sounding like the triumphant, final screen in some arcade game. Comedic prerecorded bit (about drinking) precedes the full-on sprint of "All The Little Devils Are Proud Of Hell", with an undercurrent of...you guessed it, libations. "Have another pint, mate."
Switching gears, "How Am I" recounts time on the road, over-indulgence (surprise!) and run-ins with law enforcement, amidst struggles with wives/girlfriends, back home. The third and final demo recreation, "Antigone", is the best of the bunch, recounting the particulars of the ancient Greek play. Sure the label heads approved that one.
In addition to being about downing the titular variety of wine, in tempting surroundings, the title of the rollicking, folky "Port Of Saints" is a reference to William S. Burrough's debaucherous tale (of the same name). Must be a fun band to see live. Hope to get the chance, before too long.