RSS Feed

Heavy Weapons

Killer Metal (2013)
Rating: 5/10

Israeli heavy metal doesn’t come any more Iron Maiden-influenced than Switchblade. This four-piece began life back in Haifa in 2005 and despite a batch of demos and singles it’s taken them eight years to put out their debut full-length album, Heavy Weapons.

Switchblade consist of vocalist Lior “Steinmetal” Stein, guitarist Federico Taich, bassist Sascha Latman and drummer Moshe Sabah, and the album boasts nine tracks which run for a total almost 40 minutes.

I recall a time back in the 80s when so many bands were trying to sound either like Metallica or Iron Maiden. Over the years this has altered slightly with countless bands aping Slayer and Black Sabbath, but it seems we’ve come full circle because however much I try to get it out of my head, there’s no denying that Switchblade have a rather unhealthy fascination with Iron Maiden. This is made nowhere more evident than with Stein’s vocals which are Bruce Dickinson almost to a tee, and for me this guy has clearly spent too much time in front of the mirror mimicking the great Maiden man.

The press release for this album states that: “Switchblade’s aim was not to reinvent the vintage steel, but they made it come alive while keeping the old fires burning for all the metal maniacs all over the world”. Personally, there’s only so much I can put up with when it comes to bands aping that traditional metal sound; the galloping rhythms are one thing, the lyrics another, but for Stein to so clearly imitate Dickinson and be proud of it seems a tad irritating.

One listen to ‘Infernal Paradise’ and we’re transported back to Iron Maiden’s heyday, the only difference being that Switchblade are nowhere in that sort of class. Yes, the riffs are driving and the immediate snarls of Stein are intriguing, but the higher notes are pure Bruce Dickinson mimicry, and for me it makes this type of metal almost unlistenable. Again I’m reminded of the countless number of current bands that are attempting to bring back the glory days of heavy metal, but time after time such acts of nostalgia have me reaching for the originals.

Maybe if Switchblade and the likes concentrated on their own style it wouldn’t be such a bad thing because there are modern bands that have an eye for the nostalgia as well as fusing it with their own energy, but on Heavy Weapons Switchblade spend too much time paying homage not just to Iron Maiden, but also the likes of Accept. Although throughout the guitars have an almost slick feel to them, and the drums are as solid as a rock, there is also the strong feeling of the recycled, although the cover of UFO’s ‘Lights Out’ is half-decent even if for the fact that Stein doesn’t revert to his Bruce-isms.

Elsewhere, there’s the pounding energy of ‘The Lost Kingdom’, a pounding instrumental if ever there was one, while the steady ‘Lost Lovers Unite’ almost evokes a sense of the anthemic. However, the traditional ramblings of, say, the title track or ‘Metalista’ are extremely generic.

Those who disagree with me will no doubt argue that this is a fist-pumping slab of revival metal that ticks all the boxes when it comes to resurrecting some of the 80s best metal bands, but for me those great bands have never died, and so to hear something so clearly inferior and dull just turns my stomach, such is its average nature.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories