Review by Carl
This may not be the album you were looking for, but it is a good one.
Allow me to explain. Here’s some history:
Back in 2010, Alan Averill (Primordial), Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen (ex-Mayhem), Patrik Lindgren (Thyrfing), Frode Glesnes (Einherjer) and Nick Barker (ex-Dimmu Borgir, ex-Cradle Of Filth, ex-many others) got together to form a Bathory tribute band, naming themselves after the seminal Black Metal band’s sixth album. They were so successful at this that they were offered deals to re-record classic Bathory tracks and do live DVDs and so on. They always refused. This first chapter in the band’s history came to a close at the Ragnarok Festival in 2011.
To the delight of many, in the October of 2011, chapter 2 started. The members of the band went off to write some material together. Anybody expecting a continuation of the Bathory tribute, but with new songs will be sorely disappointed. Those with a more open mind, on the other hand, will be richly rewarded.
This album, somewhat surprisingly (even to the band, going by their Facebook page) is classic Proper Heavy Metal in a similar vein to the mighty Hell, with callbacks to the NWOBHM. You won’t find any Death Metal vocals, layered sepulchral keyboards, blast beats or filth-encrusted riffs. This is simple, well-played, excellently written Heavy Metal.
Opener, Destiny Forged In Blood, is lead from the front by Barker and Glesnes, Averill’s clean singing sliding over the top, joined by a fist-pumping riff from Blasphemer and Lindgren. It has an epic feel that wouldn’t be out of place on something like Manowar’s Kings Of Metal.
Starting as they mean to go on, the roiling, menacing riff of Children Of Cain (the shortest track on the album with a sub-five minute running time) pours out of the speakers with a haunting vocal from Averill.
The title track, Fire On The Mountain (1683) recalls Judas Priest circa British Steel with its opening riff, telling the story of The Battle Of Vienna, before ploughing it’s own furrow as the main riff kicks in. That’s ably followed by Preacher Man, which is another one that’ll get your head nodding right from the off.
My personal highlight is the awesome Sword Of Damocles. Joey DeMaio and his boys will be spitting mad that they didn’t write this one.
All told, quite an enjoyable album. It’s got a real epic feel to it, make no mistake about that. There is a niggle, though. To my mind, the only thing that lets this album down is it’s lack of true changes of pace. The last few Iron Maiden albums are afflicted by the selfsame malady. The tempo stays fairly constant all the way through. Several songs were almost begging for the talent involved to drop a gear and boot the accelerator. That never happens, which is a real shame, since that would turn this pretty damned good album into a great one.