Album Review By Iron Mathew
Wardrum are a heavy metal band from Greece formed in 2010, who released their debut album in 2011, with their second and third albums emerging in 2012 and 2013. The bands fourth album, ‘Awakening’, was released in 2016.
Hard hitting and very heavy, the new album gets underway with the thundering ‘Unrepentant’. Chugging relentlessly with an infectious rhythm, ‘Unrepentant’ is a foot stomping head banger that will have you smiling in anticipation of what is to come. Upping the tempo and rattling along, ‘Right Within Your Heart’ echoes all that is good with the European power metal genre. It is catchy, has sing a long ability and a clean and clear vocal performance. ‘Let The Flames Grow’ is lively and energetic and is a hard rocking slab of heavy rock. Just from the opening three songs it is clear to hear that Wardrum are masters of the mid tempo, catchy and addictive style of power metal. The buzzing guitar style from the NWOBHM evolution makes its presence felt as ‘Virtues Of Humanity’ rocks into life, with the album now taking on the ambience that was prevalent around the late eighties, when pioneering bands such as Helloween, Rage and Running Wild were shaping the power metal genre.
Stripping back the bombast, ‘Sometimes’ leans more towards soft rock than hard rock with ‘Medusa’ a bustling barrage of mid tempo riffing and foot stomping addictiveness. So far, the fourth album from Wardrum is following a well travelled path that many other bands have taken over the last thirty years. Are they playing it safe to please their fan base, or is there a lack of creativity within their song writing… I am just finding it difficult to be wowed by this album. A sign of the speed metal genre pokes its head out of the speakers as ‘Time Is The Enemy’ races on with buzz style riffing and a thunderous rhythm to give you a reason to start head banging, rather than just head nodding. With a dramatic drop in pace and bombast, ‘Skies Of Grey’ tries its best to be a power ballad, struggling at first with a warbling vocal performance and too much acoustics, but eventually turns a corner and meets the standard required.
Now, with a song title ‘Baptised In Fire’, I was expecting a high energy, high tempo and infectious rock song…and on this occasion Wardrum do not disappoint. ‘Baptised In Fire’ met my expectations and provided the spark that had been missing across the previous eight songs. Sadly though, the spark was extinguished almost as quickly as it was ignited by ‘Shade Of Hope’. Pace dropping, ‘Shade Of Hope’ resumes the mid tempo plod of earlier and I can sense many head bangers around the world feeling the same level of frustration as I have, at the lack of opportunities to properly head bang. ‘Dreams In The Dark’ has a much heavier vibe than most of the songs on the album and is full of hustle and bustle as it strides on. Bringing the album to a close is the title song ‘Awakening’ with, by a mile, the best opening guitar riff on the album. ‘Awakening’ turns in a sparkling performance, as it thunders along at pace, with enough power and intensity to make me smile. And to think, if only there had been more songs of this style on the album, then it would have made a much bigger impact on the world of heavy metal.
Overall, mid tempo and heavy, Wardrum have delivered a foot tapping and head nodding collection of songs to keep their fans happy.
Right Within Your Heart
Let The Flames Grow
Virtues Of Humanity
Time Is The Enemy
On Skies Of Grey
Baptised In Fire
Shade Of Hope
Dreams In The Dark
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