Coming from the mean streets of Cleveland and the Ohio area, many of the members of Sunless Sky have been involved in the city's underground metal scene for better than 25 years. You would likely not know their names nor the bands that they played in. But you will recognized Sunless Sky's classic heavy metal sound within their debut album Firebreather.
Like many of their Pure Steel label mates, Sunless Sky ventures into the traditional heavy/power metal of the Eighties, basically the American side of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. I've listened to this album several times now, and I honestly can't get references to Iron Maiden out my head. That's a blessing and a curse, a compliment and a potential problem. No, they don't sound exactly like Maiden, duh, but some elements certainly leave that impression.
One is the pacing and arrangements of the songs, that blend of steadiness and speed. With this a strong rock groove is dialed in as within Grind You Down or Human Time Bomb. Another is the heavy, sometimes intense, melodic riffs and sharp leads of the twin guitars. In this case, they may differ somewhat from classic Maiden, being inherently more heavy at times. Also, Juan Ricardo's vocals have a strong presence, singing clean often soaring, but sometimes screamo. While not sounding like Dickinson, Ricardo is definitely from the same mold, and having the strength of a young Bruce. Aha, you say. It looks like you made a case for Sunless Sky not being a Maiden clone. Indeed. But the sound still reverberates in my ears. Deathmachine, Firebreather, The Whaler, and Planet X might give you that deja vu as well.
One thing the band and this album has going for them is that there's a lot of music here: 14 songs at almost exactly one hour. Not to be unappreciative, but I'm thinking they could have shaved off about maybe 10 to 12 minutes, reserving their overflow for their next album. Another thing they should do is invest in some better album art. A baby with blood around it's mouth, shooting a fire ball like newborn Gene Simmons. Really? In a few years, it's destined to be found in a Google search for the 'most stupid' or 'ugliest' heavy metal album covers. But as the adage goes, you truly can't judge a book by it's cover. What's within Firebreather is solid and entertaining traditional 'keep it true' heavy metal. Recommended.
As the adage goes, you truly can't judge a book by it's cover, or an album by it's ghastly artwork. What's within Firebreather is solid and entertaining traditional 'keep it true' heavy metal. Recommended.
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 ]