(No Remorse 2018)
Pop culture and I are mostly strangers. Case in point: A couple of months ago, I posted the Evil-Lyn song “Tengel” on my Facebook wall. Much to my puzzlement, the ensuing comments were dominated by cartoon images. I had no idea what they were talking about. Totally missed the lineage of the band’s name, which (if you live under a rock like me) is taken from a character on the Masters of the Universe, Skelator’s mistress from what I gather. So there you go. In this context, Evil-Lyn is a Finnish true metal band that has been slugging it out for more than a decade. At long last, their debut album sees the light of day via the prestigious No Remorse Records label in Greece. (Evil-Lyn previously released a fine EP entitled The Night of Delusions in 2012, although guitarist Anssi Salonen is the only holdover from the lineup credited on the EP.)
Let’s cut to the chase: Disciple of Steel is easily recommended for fans of traditional metal, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and even power metal. Evil-Lyn’s music is catchy, well-written, anthemic, and powered by the glorious riffs and twin-guitar melodies of Salonen and Lasse Tiainen. You’ll be pumping your fist and singing along with the likes of the blistering “Survive the Night,” the midtempo “Disciple of Steel” and “Tengel” (whose main riff feels a bit like Night Demon’s “Full Speed Ahead,” and that’s a good thing) in no time flat. Perhaps my favorite song on the record is “Hellfire,” which features a mighty chorus, “Burn! Down! Everything! Death by fire!” There’s also a terrific Maiden-style breakdown leading into and carrying you through the solo section, culminating in a brilliant guitar harmony passage. Soul-stirring stuff. I dare you to listen to this song without raising your fist and belting out the gang-shouted lines with the band. It can’t be done. Throughout the proceedings, vocalist Lasse Heinonen is quite a likeable fellow, sporting a semi-gruff yet tuneful bellow that reminds me very much of Xentrix’s Chris Astley sometimes. Evil-Lyn don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but they don’t sound like a carbon copy of anybody else either. They just play rollicking classic metal that ticks all the right boxes and makes you feel happy to be alive. Wisely, Disciple of Steel does not overstay its welcome either, clocking in at a lean 8 songs and 40 minutes to maximize the impact and minimize the filler.
Look, I know it’s a crowded marketplace out there. True metal bands have sprouted up everywhere. It remains to be seen whether Evil-Lyn can distinguish and separate themselves from the hordes. Time will tell. For now, though, Disciple of Steel is a well-crafted, well-executed slab of pure heavy metal goodness that is guaranteed to appeal to a wide cross-section of readers of this site. Give it a listen. You won’t regret it.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~