Death Or Glory - In The Middle Of The Storm
Steelborn Records
Heavy Metal
12 songs (51'01)
Release year: 2002
Death Or Glory, Steelborn Records
Reviewed by Marty
In The Middle Of The Storm marks the debut full length album from this Italian band. Originally founded with the intention of being a Judas Priest cover band, they eventually recorded a demo and entered it into a contest, winning studio time to professionally record 1 song. Their second demo, Thunder Blades completed in 2000, got them the recording contract with Steelborn Records (a division of the Northwind label). The band consists of Lex, lead guitar, Ace, bass, Vyper, vocals, Danyhell, keyboards, Kriminal, rhythm guitar and Nik on drums. The band has landed opening slots with other more notable acts as Shadows Of Steel, White Skull and Highlord.

This band plays a style of metal that really is a throw back to the 80's and there's lots of influences from older Running Wild, older Grave Digger and even splashes of 80's Iron Maiden and Helloween (Walls Of Jericho era). It's no surprise that this band's name comes from a classic Running Wild album! The band opts for a more riff driven and raw metal sound that what most new bands are doing these days and that's something that I find quite refreshing for a change. Galloping rhythms and lots of harmony lead guitar are the norm for most of this album with a few speedy, Helloween style passages that suddenly jump out at you on a few tracks. Some of the riffs have a great 'thematic' sense" to them and in a few instances, more technical and intricate riff styles really stand out as being above the norm of what is found on this album. The band really tries their best to mix up the tempos to their songs making their sound somewhat unpredictable. Narration is used on a few tracks and the addition of female vocals on a couple of songs attempts to give the band a more "epic" feeling. Keyboards are only used for orchestration effects with the exception of some pipe organ on the instrumental track Frightening Dreams.

The band has an interesting and somewhat classic True Metal sound except that the album suffers from a poor production as far as the guitar and drums sound and their vocalist, Vyper, better not give up his day job! This guy has all the look for a metal singer but he alone is the major weakness for this band. He has a more baritone Blaze Bayley tone to his voice and also reminds me a bit of Rolf Kasparek (Running Wild) and Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger). But, unlike the aforementioned vocalists, Vyper doesn't seem to know how to sing properly and in the right key. Most of the time, his wails are a distraction from the rest of the band's music, which has elements that are quite good at times. Only one track, Ghost Knight actually comes together pretty nicely with a tight arrangement and a decent chorus.

Overall, the band has a good classic heavy metal structure to most of their songs and they attempt to create a spirit of metal brotherhood that many of their predecessors have. The production even gives this album the sense that it was actually recorded on the 80's. However, much work is needed in improving the overall sound and even more work is needed with the vocals. Either their current vocalist will step up to the plate and deliver the voice that is needed for this band or they will definitely have to consider a replacement if they want to go any further. Promising is about the best I can say for this new band but very, very below average as far as what's coming out recently from so many other newcomers. I don't like being so critical, especially with a new band, but the fact is, they can do much, much better than this release, and new band members may be the only option.

Killing Songs :
Ghost Knight
Marty quoted 58 / 100
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