It’s not often we get an actual CD through, and in this case it was a particularly pleasant surprise as it came from a band we’ve been following since their last release in 2015. We caught them at Wildfire that year and featured them as Band of the Day not long after, around the album Origins.
Well, they’re back, with Faces of War due out on the 9th of February. First impressions were good – and I’m talking even before I put the CD in. I don’t know who they got to do the booklet layout and packaging, but they did a cracking job. This is as good as any a “big label” release I’ve ever seen. A nice, thick booklet that you really have to squish down to get out past the restraining plastic nubs, clear fonts for the lyrics, nice artwork… ten out of ten for presentation, guys.
The theme of the album is one of conflict with some titles (“P.O.W.”, “Shellshock”, “Final Solution”, “Faces of War”) making that obvious. However, a glance through the lyrics sheet sees the same theme across all of the songs, such as “Declaration” being one of war, though more of a politically-charged number; “20, 21,15” the yields in kilotons of the Little Boy, Fat Man and Trinity nuclear devices; “Stolen Valour” a spit in the face of those who claim to have served in the military when they haven’t.
Overall some interesting takes on the usual militaristic topics alongside some old “favourites”.
Musically every track fits into the box marked “heavy”. I did find a couple of the tracks just a little bit by-the-numbers, but others are absolute crackers. “Stolen Valour” opens with a kick-ass riff and the dual vocals work well. “20, 21,15” features Massive Wagons’ Barry Mills on co-vocals, which also adds something special to an already top track. “P.O.W.” is a proper heavy metal track in anyone’s book with some belting rhythms. And listen to that bass twang through “Turncoat”.
Faces of War isn’t perfect, but it’s damn good. It took me a listen or two to get into it, and the tracks listed above really stand out. The album release show was on Feb 2nd, but I’m sure there will be plenty of chances this year to catch some of this new material being played live.
Faces of War is out on February 9th – pre-orders live now