If you remember New Jersey's Exxplorer and their seminal album Symphonies of Steel from 1984, then give yourself an 'A' in American heavy metal history. After nearly 30 years, my recollection is a more than a little fuzzy. Propelled by the leather lungs of Lennie Rizzo, the album is still considered a classic by connoisseurs of early heavy/power metal. Fortune didn't favor this band in years to come and they succumbed in the mid-Nineties. With Rizzo back in the fold the band has regrouped for Vengeance Rides an Angry Horse, on Germany's Pure Steel Records.
It's deja vu all over again as Exxplorer hasn't lost much from that classic American power metal style. The opening Gypsy offers well-paced, heavy and steady metal with Rizzo belting out his best and the guitars ripping some fine solos. Well, it drags a little in the end thanks to the redundant repetition of the chorus, the song is certainly a lesson in traditional metal. And this could be said for the breadth of Vengeance Rides an Angry Horse. This motif continues on S.N.O.E., the Maiden like Valley of Doom, and the expansive EU bonus track Return of the Cycle. A more metal 'rock' groove can be found in Freight Train to Hell, where Rizzo sounds suspiciously like a metal version of Paul Stanley. But his vocal segue about three and a half minutes shows both his control and power.
Exxplorer's Vengeance Rides an Angry Horse is like looking into of heavy metal history, circa 1984, in high definition. For both the fans who have forgotten and the youngsters who dismiss metal's roots, Exxplorer is the real deal and worthy of your attention. Recommended.
Exxplorer's Vengeance Rides an Angry Horse is like looking into of heavy metal history, circa 1984, in high definition. For both the fans who have forgotten and the metal youngsters who dismiss metal's roots, Exxplorer is the real deal and worthy of your attention.