Review by Rick Ossian
Osmium is the most dense stable element known to men. It is hard and brittle and looks really pretty. We all know what a guillotine is, right? So we have a very hard rock that can rip your head off. We also have a band from Essex who got rolling in 2009. Members are listed as Pete Keliris on guitars and lead vocals, Lance Steele on lead guitar, James Balcombe on drums and backing vocals, and two bassists, current encumbent Josh Birch and ex-member, Dan Thurgood. Both are also listed as backing vocalists. This album, their first full-length recording, follows on the heels of several EPs.
The title track is an intro in more ways than one. It is a weird sort of PC intro with keys that closes with a bit of a flourish, but only serves to set up the rock that follows. Martyrdom, by turns, is just over 5 minutes long, fires up with a guitar lead intro and a slamming, excellent main riff. The lyrical refrain, “I am the saviour of my people/He is the bringer of all evil” clues us in right away as to the subject of the tune. There is some serious shredding here (3:10), and plenty of heavy riffing (4:10).
D-Day includes a double lead guitar solo intro, and is short (3:43) but sweet. If I had to label this one, I’d say its a heavy-duty Punk Power Metal sort of tune. Again, there is plenty of shredding going on here, in particular the lead guitar solo at 1:38. There are double leads going back and forth here, then back to the full on, powerful riffing at 2:38.
Phobophobia is another longer number (5:47) with a medium-shred lead opening. At one minute in we get slammed pretty good. There is some excellent rhythm riffing going on here also. At 2:45 there is more shredding lead guitar. There is some serious shredding throughout, and a busy drummer to boot! At 4:15 there is another guitar solo, and by 4:50 it’s still going on! An evil laugh at the close brings things to an all-too-abrupt ending, and it’s on to the next tune!
Blight Upon Mankind is again as long as the previous number. At just under 6 minutes, this track features what I like to call ‘behold’ riffs. They announce the tune, in a manner of speaking, as if to say “Check this out!”, then they just let rip! There is a neat Maiden-style intro here as well, and some cool medium tempo Metal fills. It is a very riff-heavy number, which is beginning to institute a bit of a pattern here. I was reminded distinctly of AC/DC and Saxon upon hearing this tune.
City of Chaos is another 5-minute-plus number which reeks of Punk and Power Metal again. There is some very nice heavy riffing, almost at Punk speed, which is interesting to say the least. I LOVE the main riff here, and there is an excellent rhythm going on here. Yes it is Punk Rock, but it is smarter than that. At 2:20, there is a lead guitar solo, and some cowbell at about the 3-minute mark. At 3:10, things shift into ‘storyteller’ mode, if you will. Then, at 3:30, there is another lead guitar solo with some cool curlique leads. At 4:15 there is more riffing – almost attack mode riffing, if you will.
Hobgoblin is another excellent track with a single note guitar intro with colliding drums. Wedgewood Forest is the locale, so this is a fairy tale of sorts. At :45 there is riffing and vocals. More galloping riffery, actually, à la Maiden and/or Saxon gone awry. There is a brief spoken word section and more gallop at the end.
Goomba is another long tune (6:25), and is almost nasty, mean rock. There is a Heavy Metal intro that is sort of Sabbath-esque. This one features a very cool ass-kicking main riff. More metal than punk, in my opinion. There is some atmospheric riffing here, and a brief instrumental section. The Power Metal riffing continues throughout. A lyrical couplet that caught my ear: “I have no arms/I cannot fight/I have no legs/To jump this high“. The obligatory guitar solo appears at the 5:30 mark.
Into the Battle is Power Metal with a twin lead guitar intro. This is heavy, duty, speedy stuff, almost Punk Rock again. Two lead guitar solos invade at 1:50 and 3:15. There is also a breakdown of sorts at 2:10, and the second solo goes through to the end of the tune.
Breathe It In, Son is another longer (6:26) tune, instrumental for the most part and is located just outside of Riff City! A total jam fest with a bit of bass at 6 minutes in that is definitely noteworthy.
Subhuman, the closer, is extra long (7:26), and features more of the ‘behold’ guitar riffing. It is a declaration opening! Again, I was reminded of the Maiden gallop. There is a heavy breakdown at 3:40, and a guitar solo at 5 minutes in. The riffage ensues again at 5:20, and the leads at the close are absolutely wicked! So there you have it – eleven ass-kicking tunes, minus one short weirdo intro. Good stuff! If you like this set, check out their Live From the Asylum release due soon.
You can check it out at their webpage here.