Do you believe time travel is possible? I believe Australia's Johnny Touch do. I'm guessing they have the keys to Marty McFly's time traveling DeLorean. The band has reached back to the golden era of heavy metal for their classic sound and their full-length debut Inner City Wolves. Funny, none of them look my age at all.
If you don't know what I'm taking about, because you're too young or simply just ignorant, this album is the sound of early Eighties metal. This is the sound of tape trading days in a heavy metal parking lots outside of a Judas Priest show, where metal heads shared the latest news of the underground metal scene from Europe to New York to Los Angeles with freshly mimeographed newsletters.
The foundation, of course, is a rock groove and melody, then riffs and a thundering rhythm section are added to conjure that classic melodic metal heaviness. Then add the clean, often pitched and soaring vocals and some ripping guitar solos, and you have all the ingredients for what makes 'true' heavy metal. The only thing that Johnny Touch doesn't have, that was often common back in the day, is twin guitar leads. But, no matter, it's all good: Jamie Whyte is a skilled guitar player whether delivering an abundance of riffs, burning solos, or some acoustic guitar to temper a song. Sometimes you get all three as within Black Company, a slowing burning metal number with darker, sort of Sabbath, feel.
Mostly though Inner City Wolves is a good balance of swift speed metal and moderate tempo heavy metal. The former can be found in It's Alright or The Metal Embrace; the latter more so within Lady Stutter or Bitch of a Son, yet both have their speedy moments as well. Alternatively, a song like End of Daze can be deceptive. It begins sounding like a metal anthem or ballad with acoustic guitar and vocals, but then builds to a rush of speed and a fiery solo. Returning to Whyte's guitar work, he gets his own time to shine in the instrumental avalanche of Radiation Axeposure.
Traditional metal bands are still out there, in some abundance, but mostly underground and on some obscure label only known by the cult following them. Johnny Touch is one of the better ones, with lots of potential. Recommended.
Johnny Touch's Inner City Wolves offers traditional heavy metal like you time warped back to the Eighties and into a heavy metal parking lot outside a Judas Priest concert.
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