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Cage
Ancient Evil
May 2017
Released: 2015, Indie
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Manos X

Cage is an American band formed way back in 1992. First album came 6 years later titled “Unveiled” and this is where I first heard the song “Shoot to Kill” and was literally blown away be the staggering vocals of Sean Peck. It was apparent even from way back then that Cage have a special place in their hearts for Judas Priest especially from albums like “Defenders of the faith”, “Ram it down” and the magnificent “Painkiller”. Add to the mix elements from early Queensryche, Iron Maiden, King Diamond and you got yourself an explosive mix.



Cage is one of these hard working bands that surprisingly haven’t gained the recognition they deserve despite the fact the keen on putting album after album. It wasn’t until “Darker than Black” they really made some heads to turn. Indeed “Darker than black” had great songs and plenty of diversity in its compositions and helped Sean Peck’s vocals to shine by allowing him to sing all kinds of styles from piercing screams to aggressive growls to excellent mellow parts Sean gave a superb performance. On next album “Hell Destroyer” they band stepped the pedal to high gear and introduced plenty of thrash & speed elements along with a unique concept. I still believe “Hell Destroyer” is Cage’s finest moment today.



So it’s 2017 and after a couple of weeks I had the pleasure of witnessing these guys first hand bringing down the house in a gig that took place in Athens. Everything I ever thought about how these guys would perform was true. Menacing stage performance, high energy throughout their set, headbanging till your brain falls out and the almighty mr. Peck delivering his unique vocals to the max.



After the show I got my hands on their latest album “Ancient Evil”. Their latest release is a concept again that brought to mind King Diamond’s horror stories. Indeed the vibe is the same and is more than obvious the band has invested a serious amount of time in creating this. 17 songs and a couple of interludes and intros make up for on huge album of 75 minutes plus on duration!



What you get in these 75 minutes is pure mayhem. Dueling solos between Dave Garcia and Casey Trask, frantic high speed rhythms from the “Thrashing Machine” Sean Elg, solid bass lines from Dwight Magic and of course Sean’s vocals that dominate throughout “Ancient Evil”. Musicianship is on high level as expected while production and mixing helps the final result even though I’d prefer a beefier sound on the guitars and drums.



“Ancient Evil” is one merciless collection of songs that brought to mind the ferociousness of Helstar’s latest offering “Vampiro”. The album refuses to let up from the first minute to the very last. It’s more apparent what you can expect after the spoken intro ends. Judas Priest influences are more apparent than ever before. In fact this is one of the things I disliked about “Ancient Evil”. It becomes way to predictable since you probably get a solid feel of each song from fist 30 seconds leaving little room for surprises and experimentation not to mention lack of variety. Remember when I mentioned “Painkiller” as a main influence? Now limit all of that influence into just the song “Painkiller” no matter how superb I still find this song to be after 26 years I wouldn’t like an album filled with similar tunes. And this were Cage should experiment with their songwriting skills more because it’s clear and obvious they certainly got all the right tools for doing so. Don’t get me wrong once the recipe is right you get kick ass tunes like “Ancient Evil” and “Behind the walls of Newgate” that will nail your head to the wall with ease but just check out the superb “Across the sea of madness” were Peck decides to sing lower (instead of constantly utilizing his impressive upper range) with amazing results.



Because of the above “Ancient Evil” sounds much less exciting than it should. I really wish that Cage should try to experiment with their sound and song structures because once the wow factor is gone all you’ve left is another predictable piece of music showing tons of unused potential. My suggestion is try before you buy so checking out the album on various streaming services is essential.
Track Listing

1. There Were Others
2. Ancient Evil
3. Behind the Walls of Newgate
4. The Procedure
5. The Appetite
6. Cassandra
7. Blinded by Rage
8. Tell Me Everything
9. The Expedition
10. Beholder
11. I Have Awakened
12. Across the Sea of Madness
13. To Save Love
14. Christ Protect Me
15. Sinister Six
16. Symphony of Sin
17. The Antidote
18. Tomorrow Never Came
19. It Can’t Be

Lineup

Sean Peck Vocals
Dave Garcia Guitar
Casey Trask Guitar
Dwight Magic Bass
Sean Elg Drums

Contact

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