Review by Rick Ossian
First off let’s begin by getting some facts straight. Wizz Lord of Darkness (vocalist) seems to be the primary impetus behind getting this outfit going. They hail from Luttenhulle, oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium. For some reason the name of their stomping grounds set off my spell-checker! Anyhow, we also have Steve DC on drums, D-Troy on bass, and a pair of guitarists, Smb and Sluize. I get the distinct impression that they didn’t want anyone to know their real names. Perhaps these aliases are their pirate names. If that were the case, I’d say well deserved. These boys sound like they are lean and hungry swashbucklers right out of the gate. This being their first collection, there is some fairly obvious filler (a couple of pretty decent live tracks thrown in the mix just before the end of the CD). For the most part, I’d say were listening to some pretty quality fare here.
According to the bio I read on these guys, there was to be ‘no attempt at progression’ of any sort. They are dedicated to the purveying of Classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, which should become evident when I start to tell you about some of the songs. In fact, the titles alone would no doubt turn a few heads (“Vampires In the Valley“, anyone?). Maiden-esque revelry abounds in many of the tracks, particularly “Insanity” and the lead-off number, “Demons, Bad Witches“. Most of these tracks feature the chugging rhythm section were so used to. Steve Harris‘ galloping bass passages seem to loom heavily in these boys’ brains. It is easy to see that they wear their influences on their sleeves. In my opinion, this is the perfect place for them to be. Some may say that these are, indeed, derivative of any one of a number of N.W.O.B.H.M. outfits. That’s just fine with me. I happen to like the N.W.O.B.H.M.
Six Feet Underground, by contrast, starts up very sludgy, with a cool lead in the intro. We soon abandon the sludge for more Speed Metal riffing, and at that point I think it’s safe to say that the boys never looked back or let up for the remainder of the recordings. Hidden Paradise begins briefly with a slow, mellow intro, but is soon dispensed with in favor of more riff-rock and old-school Heavy Metal. In the aforementioned Vampires in the Valley (which boasts a HUGE main riff, by the way), Wizz also dispenses with the pleasantries, and starts the song off declaring “I’m gonna BITE!” It is at that point that we realize that our humble host indeed may be a vamp himself, although I would argue that the lyric ‘this is the night of the full moon’ may be a trifle out of place here. Isn’t that a werewolf thing? The lyrical refrain is as chilling as ever: Vampires in the valley/You better stay out of their way/Vampires in the valley/they can live by light of day. The fact that these vamps are daywalkers and ‘they are among us/disguised as humans’ just makes them that much more dangerous.
But hang on just a tick here – we didn’t come to talk about vampires, did we? The two live tracks, filler though they may be, are pretty decent. Crazy Wizzard appears to be a crowd fave, and, for lack of a better word, a dance of sorts, as evidenced by Wizz encouraging the throng to ‘do the Crazy Wizzard’ on numerous occasions. It is topped by the second live track, however. ‘Motörhead Music‘, as Wizz calls it, is actually labelled simply ‘Motörhead‘, which lead me to believe that it would be the old Hawkwind classic that we all know and love. Fear not, dear reader – the rhythm is similar, but this is actually a tune about Motörhead tunes! How novel and what an excellent idea. Ace of Spades and Iron Fist are name-checked, and Wizz warns us that ‘Lemmy is comin’!’
The two tracks which follow the live stuff, Reflections From Hell and Desire, are again, heavy, big riffs. It seems as if Smb and Sluize have a bag as large as Tony Iommi at this point. Some very enjoyable stuff, a little raw in spots but that’s what it’s all about, boys and girls! Enjoy!