Released: 2015, Golden Core
I can’t believe no one on our site reviewed this magnificent album yet! This all-star project / super-group seemed to go under the radar with not much press on those low-key release on a relatively obscure label. Released nearly 2015 SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST made my Top 20 list but I didn’t see it on too many other year-end lists, which is a shame.
Blackwelder is loaded with international talent. It is almost a dull way to describe a band by simply listing the membership but considering the caliber of talent, it must be mentioned. This international; recording project has a Swede, a German, an American and a guy from South Africa and the list of bands that the various members have been in include… Angra, Gamma Ray, Hangar, Hellion, Primal Fear, Quiet Riot, Yngwie Malmsteen and many more!
The bands debut is punchy and to the point with 10 songs hitting the finish line at 47 minutes, with no frills such as cover tunes, epics, ballads, bonus tracks, acoustic versions, etc…just ten classic / Power Metal songs all in the 4-5 minute range. Led by Ralf Scheepers powerful voice, he wastes no time in demonstrating why he is one of the few legitimate heirs to the throne of the Metal God. He delivers lyrics of adventure soaring overtop of blazing guitars and no shortage of fast drumming. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST is not all just a speed fest, the song breath and inject some nice tempo changes like the nice breakdown in the middle of ‘Spaceman’ before a blazing solo by Andrew Szucs takes us back into the stratosphere. Every song is loaded with melody and lots of solid catchy riffs , ripping solos and Szuchs could be/should be huge. I love the opening riff to 'Remember The Time'. His only previous pedigree was a single album in a band called Seven Seraphim released well over a decade ago. I own the album and I don’t remember his playing being this fiery!
Topped off by a cool album title, a cool logo/font great album art and a memorable and classic sounding Metal band name, Blackwelder is an easy pick to add to your collection.