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Awakening The Hydra

Pure Steel (2013)
Rating: 8/10

Pure Steel Records are really upping the ante in their quest for heavy metal domination and Warrion are the latest bunch of headbangers to be signed. Now, if you were impressed with the likes of Texas metallers Aska then you’ll be pleased to know that their vocalist George Call (ex-Omen) appears on two of the tracks here, namely ‘Victim Of Religion’ and ‘Serpent’s Fire’. Awakening The Hydra is the debut album by these boys, and it’s one of 2013’s best releases.

It should be when one considers that Warrion features ex-members of Agent Steel (guitarist Tim Thomas) and Loudness (vocalist Mike Viscera, who also features for Obsession), personnel who are also joined by Halloween drummer Rob Brug, Aska bassist Keith Knight and guitarist Ron Ravi Warrion, after whom the band is obviously named.

Yep, this is a molten metal powerhouse of a record that boasts more steel than an entire scrap metal site. I really hope these guys remain as a solid unit rather than being distracted by other projects, but the chance will be a fine thing when one considers the bands these guys are already involved with.

Awakening The Hydra runs for only just over half-an-hour, but it’s the sort of album you can play over and over again. Although it has fantastic production values, it doesn’t succumb to the often cold, empty feelings that hinder so many bands nowadays. Instead, this has a mature but always fiery feel, which gives added beef with those steely guitars and exceptional vocals of Viscera, and of course Call when he is called upon.

Warrion are a classic metal band who are adept at providing excellent melody which at times reminds me of Helloween at their speediest, especially on the title track which has a dense guitar sound but also boasts some superb leads.

Viscera has one of the most underrated voices in metal but he brings this platter to life on tracks such as the excellent ‘Carnage’ and the epic strains of ‘Adversary’. The latter track adds a pinch of subtlety in its intro before reaching the peak, coming across as something akin to Metal Church at their purist. Elsewhere, Call adds his own character to the bass-led groove of ‘Victim Of Religion’, which again features a traditional metal riff and those Bruce Dickinson-esque vocals (Iron Maiden). But his best performance comes with the doomy chimes of ‘Serpent’s Fire’ which eventually lurches into traditional metal mode.

Warrion are a real blessing to the metal scene, but like a majority of super groups may prove to be rather sporadic in their releases due to other commitments. For now though, just sit back and take in the fury of tracks such as ‘Lucifer My Guide’ and enchanting instrumental ‘Earth Fire Water Spirit’ and let metal be your guide.

Neil Arnold

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