Looking like they walked off the set of a Sergio Leone 'spaghetti western' is Mexico's Split Heaven delivering their third album, The Devil's Bandit. It's another return to their version of traditional heavy, speed, and power metal. But they've also had some changes as well. One, Split Heaven has spruced up their band logo, giving it greater clarity and an European metal feel. They also welcome a new vocalist, Gian Carlo Farjat, a fellow with a classic metal style.
Another change, though subtle, is that not everything here is rushing speed metal. Sure, some songs have a galloping pace like Runaway or Sinner. More often it's a mixture of tempos as within Danger Zone and March of the Dead, two tunes that might remind more European heavy/power metal. March of the Dead also has a breakdown about two-thirds in with light acoustic guitar.
Mostly what you have is solid classic heavy metal rooted in the NWOBHM tradition, with lots of twin guitar leads, a powerful, steady, rhythm section, and typical metal vocals. However, while Farjat has some good range, sometimes, like when the pace of the song is more swift, he can get raging and indistinct like on Sinner. Otherwise, he's an effective compliment to Split Heaven's style of metal. Finally, some kudos should be given to the person who handled the production and mixing. There's a crisp clarity to the album, notable in how well the bass lines come through, without sounding over polished like a Nashville record. Best picks: Danger Zone, March of the Dead, Right to Rule, and Waiting for the Angel of Death. Not so much: Diamond Gaze and Sinner (though the guitar leads kick ass). Recommended for true metal fans worldwide.
Returning with a new logo and new singer, Split Heaven still delivers old school heavy/power metal.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]