Despite their stormy early history riding the New Wave of British Heavy Metal wave, England's Soldier are often considered legends in their field. Founded by guitarist Ian Alan Dick in 1979, the band did a boatload of gigs and released a popular single, Sheralee, but never got a record contract in their three year existence. Fast forward to 2005 as Dick reforms the band with a new lineup and cut Sins of the War.
Now with a few more changes in the band, Soldier returns with Dogs of War, another collection of tunes steeped in NWOBHM tradition. It's probably not fair to call this album strictly a metal album as it straddles the fence between melodic metal and hard rock. Songs like the title track, I Am, Demon In The Room, and the longer Bedlam sound much like the former; Fireflies, Lock 'n' Load, and Forever, more to the latter.
Alternatively, Soldier probably blurs the line between the two genres rather than straddling the fence as nearly every song has a toe-tapping groove. The aforementioned Forever and I Am as well as I Can't Breathe, Sheralee, or Crash Course are rock invigorated melodic metal songs. This characteristic is one of features that was prominent in early NWOBHM and made it such a great sound: it was melodic, heavy, and rocked.
Some mention should be of vocalist Richard Frost. He has solid traditional melodic vocal style with a decent range, and it appears from the video below he likes to sing with eyes closed. A rare talent indeed, except if he starts wandering around the stage and begins bumping into his mates. Also, Dick is still in fine form. He's no Vai or MacAlpine, but he can deliver true metal licks anytime. Great lines within Sheralee, Bedlam, Forever, and No Man's Land, to name a few highlights.
Bottom line: Dogs of War is a fine platter of melodic metal rock and a return to form for this legendary band. Recommended.
Soldier's Dogs of War is a fine platter of melodic metal rock and a return to form for this legendary band.
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