This is a first for Dangerdog Music Reviews. Here's Zix a traditional heavy metal band from Lebanon. No, not the small city about 30 minutes north of me, but the country in the Middle East. It's not the first place I think of as a hot bed of heavy metal. Actually, the band has mentioned that heavy metal is frowned upon by both political and religious leaders in Lebanon, canceling concerts and even arresting some. That's got to suck.
So Zix arrives with their first long-player Tides Of The Final War on Germay's Pure Steel Records. The album was recorded in the United States at the Vegas View studios, Nevada, by seven time Grammy winning producer Steve Thompson, notable for Metallica's And Justice For All .. and Guns 'N Roses Appetite For Destruction. That is some fine talent to have on board. Now, to be fair, not everything is "new" about this album. It includes five of the six songs from their 2012 debut EP The Warwhore (complied from the Encyclopedia Metallum entry): Shadow of a Dying Sun, Dark Days of Babylon, Heaven's Eyes, The Warwhore, and Night Of Evil. (By the way, you can get a free download of that EP on their Facebook page.)
While I give it away at the start, Zix plays traditional heavy metal, drawing from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal like Maiden, Priest, and Saxon, but also Eighties traditional heavy metal in general. At the core, there's a twin guitar harmony in riffs and leads, a galloping rhythm section, and clean melodic vocals from Maya Khairallah. Unfortunately, in the mix, her voice is overwhelmed by the music. The arrangements are mostly quick-paced and revolve around the guitar parts, with lots of essential shredding.
Basically, Zix and Tides Of The Final War are everything you could like or want in a traditional "keep it true" heavy metal album. All the songs are good, though I could not point to a favorite or one that stood out among the others. Yet one has to be highlighted. That would be Metal Strike which includes, besides the band members, count them, nineteen international guest players, including Tony Martin, Blaze Bayley, Paul Di'Anno, Ronny Munroe, Dany Deaibess, Ross The Boss, David Shankle, Jack Starr, Rhino, Giles Lavery, David Marcelis, Frederic Bartolomucci, Stu Hammer Marshall, Vik Bajac, Tony Ghanem, Walid WolfLust, and Nathalie Jeha. That's got to be some kind of record for one heavy metal song.
All in all, Lebanon's Zix and Tides Of The Final War is well-crafted and entertaining traditional "keep it true" heavy metal from one of the most unlikely places. Recommended.
Lebanon's Zix and Tides Of The Final War is well-crafted and entertaining traditional "keep it true" heavy metal from one of the most unlikely places. Recommended.
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