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Plan Of Attack EP

Junko Johnson (2013)
Rating: 6.5/10

I’m immediately sceptical and judgmental of a band who play comedy metal. While talented musicians, the awfully named Lords Of The Trident – who feel intent on wearing silly costumes onstage – have somehow carved a career out of their jokey metal, resulting in two full-length albums and this new four-track EP.

The Wisconsin quintet are far removed from the Steel Panther type of glam metal parody, instead opting for the warrior metal approach. The result is a batch of surprisingly molten metal fests which would have benefited far more without the injection of humour.

For a start, the vocals of Fang VonWrathenstein are actually extremely effective and very 80s in their design – moving fluently between crystal clear barks and high-pitched screams – while the music is sturdy and driving. I see no reason why band members should call themselves Asian Metal or Pontifex Mortis when they are clearly a dab hand at playing straight up heavy metal that packs quite a punch.

Album opener ‘Complete Control’ showcases the talents of guitarists Killius Maximus as well as the aforementioned Asian Metal, and one can’t help but be moved by the sheer power of this cut. Elsewhere, we’re treated to the crisp and tight title track with its opening chords and compact drum. Sure, it’s basic metal that offers little in the way of thrills, but fans of majestic power metal, and bands such as Iron Maiden, Saxon and the likes will find much denim and leather to savour here.

The band really find their leaden feet on the slower ‘Song Of The Wind And Sea’, which is pure metal majesty, the band chanting “Row!” amidst the churning waves of the guitar. These types of songs were two a penny back in the 80s, so I’m unsure this type of effort has any lasting power. It’s fun while it lasts though.

Of all three Lords Of The Trident releases, this is clearly the more mature of efforts. While there are moments here that seem more akin to the annoying warbles of Tenacious D, Plan Of Attack turns into quite a decent little EP which is capped off by the seven-minute serenade of ‘The Joust’. A ferocious number, ‘The Joust’ charges like a demonic horse through lands of fire and ice. Fang’s vocals here do begin to grate however, the frontman opting for a more narrated vocal tone until he heightens his attack.

Overall, Plan Of Attack is very much swords ’n’ sorcery metal and the novelty can certainly grow thin rather quickly. When you cast aside the hokum though, this is still a rollicking listen featuring some intense guitar work and armour-plated chest pounding.

Neil Arnold

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