War Master is so damn heavy it should come with a loin cloth and broad sword.
Towards the heavens I thrust my blade, and called the gods of metal down to earth. After the blackening of the sky and raining blood I looked down to find this release from Death Dealer awaiting my review. Do you find that heavy metal has lost the ability to inspire you to steal a horse and go plunder a village? Do you have an intrinsic need to don a helmet made of skulls, take sail and desolate a foreign country? Do you need so much metal in your daily diet that you will piss razors and crap out 12 pound iron balls? Then Death Dealer is what you need my friends. Their debut release (due out June 14th on Utopia records) will be the cure for what ails you. Be warned though, just one listen to this and you may find yourself with the insatiable urge to go and conquer the local 7/11 in the name of METAL!
First off, I am a big fan of excellent cover art, and Death Dealer brings the heavy here. Just look at that, if the cover to this release does not get your blood flowing then I don’t know what will. The band wastes no time at all. As soon as you press play the sonic bombardment of metal begins. Drums blast from every direction and classic metal riffs tear your soul to shreds. And then, without time to even comprehend what the hell is going on there is an evil, piercing shriek of razor-sharp metal so loud and vicious that you will suddenly find yourself in a drooling stupor. Sean Peck (previously of the band Cage) has a range and delivery that will make fans of bands like Judas Priest squeal in delight. High and tight and oh so fitting for the crushing onslaught that the group brings, it is really an excellent example of the human voice used as an instrument. If you are not a fan of the higher octaves you may be turned off right away, as Peck wails like a banshee from the outset and really never slows down or lightens up.
After my initial stun from the vocals my next thought was “who mixed in thrash with my power metal?” The musical avalanche here comes from some weighty names in the heavy metal world. Guitarist and founding member Ross The Boss (‘Manowar’) should need no introduction. His guitar work and songwriting presence are omnipresent here and lend credence to the band. Many people upon hearing this are going to compare it to ‘Manowar’ (the band also touts former drummer Rhino) and thus have apt reason to do so. Death Dealer goes above and beyond though. They are able to blend in darker and thrashier overtones into the standard 80’s power metal formula and create something vastly more enjoyable. Heads, Spikes Walls is a song that exemplifies this album in one track. It starts with some low, gravely shouting and then turns into a frenetic bombast of awesomeness. The lyrics are cheesy goodness that fans of the genre will absolutely love. Their slightly cartoonish nature only belies (and serves) the excellent music that backs them up.
Joining Peck, Ross and Rhino are guitarist Stu Marshall and bassist Mike Davis. Every musician here has spent time working with some heavyweight in the industry and the polish on these songs show proof. The only complaint (if you call it that) is that almost every song is balls to the walls and may tend to sound the same when played back to back to back. The few times that the band drops the register on the vocals and hits some of the lower, less screechy delivery helps to break up the monotony a bit. The obligatory ballad Children of Flames is completely dispensable. Yes, it does serve as a brief respite from the up-tempo numbers but it comes across as overly dramatic and rather generic.
Barring these slight flaws, we are left with an excellent release of classic Anglo/American power metal. War Master is sure to be on many fans top 10 lists for 2013 and Death Dealer is one to watch.
1. Death Dealer
2. Never To Kneel
4. Children Of Flames
5. Curse Of The Heretic
6. Hammer Down
7. The Devils Mile
8. Liberty Or Death
9. Heads Spikes Walls
10. Wraiths On The Wind