There's more than a few bands in every genre and period that never quite got the attention or had the success of lucky peers. England's Sparta is another one who arrived in the early years of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM). They had some singles and appeared on compilations, but never cut an album. Yet the did shows with many other notable and influential bands including Praying Mantis, Lionheart, Budgie, and Diamond Head, who had a significant influence upon Metallica, among others.
On the strength and reception by fans of High Roller Records release of 2011's Use Your Weapons Well, a compilation of 25 songs, Sparta decided to regroup and cut their first album in 35 years, Welcome To Hell. And it's a strong effort, one that makes classic heavy metal in the NWoBHM tradition sound fresh and invigorating. These dudes, who are probably as old as I am, still have their chops and fire in their bellies, larger of course after 35 years.
Some songs simply leap from your speakers screaming this is 'true' metal like the speedy, riff slinging, Welcome To Hell, Arrow, and Dreaming of Evil, all which spit the fire of gripping lead guitar solos. The pace can moderate a bit with Time, a steady piece with more sharp guitars. Sparta also gets their rock on, ejecting more groove into their for songs like Wild Night and Rock 'n' Roll Rebel. With Kingdom of the Sky they go after more epic metal, beginning with acoustic guitar on the front side, only to offer more blistering metal and ripping leads in the latter half, before ending with same acoustic guitar. Finally, Sparta takes their music full circle uniting the new material with the old with a re-recording of an early original, Angel of Death. Since classic metal is more an underground and niche market compared to contemporary brethren, Sparta and Welcome To Hell will likely go unnoticed except by fans of the genre. Just the same, Welcome To Hell is strong stuff, a worthy and entertaining representation of traditional melodic heavy metal. Recommended.
Sparta's Welcome To Hell is a strong effort, one that makes classic heavy metal in the NWoBHM tradition sound fresh and invigorating.
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 ]