Released: 2009, Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Chilean true metal warriors are back with their 2nd full-length album, carrying the title BLOOD, FIRE, STEEL on its warrior´s shield. I have never got a chance to hear their debut album (on the Highland/Octagon label, released in 2004), but I just recently got to hear their collection of earlier demos (with some bonus tracks), which gave me a somewhat decent picture about these Chilean warriors as the true defenders of epic and true heavy metal, counting more on sort of old-fashioned Manowar-Omen styled heavy metal.
BLOOD, FIRE, STEEL is a quite drastically different yet slightly better sounding wholeness from Battlerage in my opinion; way more aggressive, straightforward, faster, heavier - and naturally a more mature sounding package from them all in all. Maybe they have just got fed up hearing all these comparisons to Manowar all the time, and simply tried to create something else in terms of true heavy metal this time around - and that´s why BLOOD, FIRE, STEEL sounds the way it does, who knows.
Anyway, what has happened with their sound, has probably happened with a common understanding inside the band, the guys taking a way more aggressive and straightforward approach to their (true) heavy metal - and at the same time, leaving out intentionally most of those elements that could link them with Manowar somehow. In fact, on this record they are giving me quite a few good reasons to say there´s more Gamma Ray-ish type of sharp guitars, some PAINKILLER-ism a lá Priest and some of Grave Digger´s early rawness in Battlerage´s latest batch of tales from the blood-covered battlefields. Hell, even a song called "Black Hordes, Arise!" sounds kinda surprisingly like a full-on, aggressive thrash song ´til almost the very end, but then again, so does "Wine of the Wicked", shining beautifully with its occasional, but still strong thrashy riffing. The band has truly made a chance for a better direction musically with this record - and I believe many of you appreciate with your full hearts (not all, but I am certain that still many will).
Chilean Battlerage ain´t any 2-penny Manowar clone band any more by any means - as they prove so clearly on their 2nd full-length assault of aggressive-tinged and fast true heavy metal. Get it - and be positively surprised the same way as I was. ;o)