It’s been a couple years since the release of the initial single Something Lurking In The Dark by this Netherlands five piece. I gobbled that song up and it is a staple on my radio station to this day. I have known vocalist Hugo Koch for at least that long and have promised him that when his full length CD finally hits the streets, I would give him an honest review. You see Hugo runs an awesome festival every year (the Very ‘Eavy Festival), which has a heavy focus on the classic NWOBHM bands, which is pretty much a genre/movement that I totally go for.
There is no doubt about it. What we have here is a very solid disc that is very firmly grounded into the same style and timbre as the NWOBHM bands of yore. I am not talking about the speedy and dynamic Iron Maiden sound here, though there are moments that the CD picks up the pace to a solid gallop such as the start of Nightmares for one example, but more the straight up hard rock meets heavy metal sound that is the mid-level norm as you would see from acts such as Satan, Demon, Tygers Of Pan Tang. Calling the NWOBHM movement a genre is really a misnomer as the styles of the bands that are encompassed are quite varied, honestly. This particular nugget of metal fits right there in the middle of the pack as far as style, it tips towards the front of the pack in substance as the songs on here really have a lot of replay value.
Hugo’s vocals will never be mistaken for a Dickinson or a Halford, but they mesh well with what the band has written. His voice has a bit of a dark power to it, with a bit of a smoky and evil huskiness to it. The band excels at the mid paced level and mixes some nice melody with some really nice guitar hooks to help bring on that sinister overlook.
If I were to give this CD one low mark it would be on the amount of music you get with it. Including the bonus track of the original single that came out two years ago, there is only 7 tracks clocking in at just over 40 minutes. One of the tracks makes up 13 minutes of that time. I would have liked to seen a couple more tunes to round this out, but they may have run out of time and its better to do a tight 7 songs than toss on a couple of rushed or filler tracks just to beef it up, so it could be worse.
As far as the epic track goes, normally I am not a huge fan of the lengthier tunes, call it ADD or what have you, but in this case the track really does have a pretty good sound to it and it kept moving along nicely. In fact there is one part of it in particular that I really dig and if it was edited down or cut out it would make a pretty nice single.
Overall what we have here is a pretty nice bit of meat and potatoes metal that has a bit of a dark side and enough production to get the job done without sounding forced. This is well worth waiting for and definitely well worth spinning in the CD player.
--Mark Vander Zanden