RSS Feed

Lord Of The Realm

Sentinel Steel (1998)
Rating: 8/10

This sounds like it was wrenched from some musty 1980s coffin, such is its antiquarian charm. In fact, the wonderfully named Axehammer from Los Angeles, California are very much a product of the 80s, daubed in Dungeons & Dragons armoury and drenched in the crimson of the evil warriors they have slain.

The Lord Of The Realm EP was recorded in the bowels of the mid to late 80s, but somehow evaded release until a decade later. Any self-respecting fan of pure 80s metal will find much to savour here even though there are only a batch of tracks on offer. If, like me, you grew up in the 80s reading the oaken Fighting Fantasy books and tended to spend many a night flicking through their yellowing pages while listening to the likes of Dio, then Axehammer are very much for you.

Whether it’s the barbarian vocals of the rather blandly named Bill Ramp, or the cavernous guitars of Jerry Watt, the ingredients here are perfect for a night in by the flickering candlelight. Axehammer offer the sort of combative metal that made Cirith Ungol, Brocas Helm and the likes reasonably popular. It’s not quite up there with the dragon-slaying power of Heavy Load, but Lord Of The Realm still packs a mighty punch that’ll knock any grotesque orc for six.

My favourite venture into unbidden realms has to be ‘Axehammer’, a slow, heavyweight chug of a track that has me at once imagining wild lands and roaming monsters, as Ramp narrates like some magical storyteller as Joe Aghassi’s drums rumble.

Lord Of The Realm is such an oaken record – a platter that stinks of sorcery and moss-ridden forests – and the title track features a scorching riff and grizzled vocal delivery. Those fortunate enough to pick the release up will be blessed with a few demo tracks too, including the rattling ‘Sword And Shield’ and equally gargantuan ‘Wings Of Fire’.

Of course, Axehammer won’t be for everybody, and some may find such a record a little dated, but for those who lived and breathed in those manky dungeons of yesteryear, will find Axehammer and their brand of fantasy rock a must have.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories