Raise Your Lighter to Durbin’s Metal Archetypes and Fearsome Guitar Solos
The opening track on Durbin‘s new album The Beast Awakens – streaming at Bandcamp – is titled The Prince of Metal. “Raise thy horns, bang thy head, the Prince of Metal!?” Is this from a cartoon movie?
No, but it could be – if the directors don’t mind a song that will steal your attention with a searing guitar solo and wildly operatic, multitracked vocals from frontman James Durbin. “The fall of the kings of the land will be remembered!” Maybe there’s actual political subtext here.
The rest of the record runs the gauntlet through crunchy riff-rock like Bad Company on crank, densely multitracked post-Maiden grand guignol, made-for-Eurovision drama and more than one theme nicked from Blue Oyster Cult. The energy goes to redline and stays there for most of the songs, especially where the guitar solos are concerned, panning the speakers, barreling through tantalizingly short volleys of tremolo-picking or tapping. The ending is a letdown: the rocket fuel has run out.
The album’s loose narrative thread is pure Spinal Tap, a “defender of the realm” up against the bad guys…or maybe just the Evil Eye. Maybe that has political subtext too.
Heavy psych fans are going to find this album’s predictable verse/chorus dynamics, punkishly charging rhythms, catchy changes and heroic posturing completely over the top. This is music for people who drink mead (or Capri Sun) out of their helmets. Hopefully they’ve taken a pause from the battle (or the screen) to rinse their headgear first.