Released: 2015, Pure Steel Records
I have been in a traditional metal mood of late, and Cyprus’s Lethal Saint have been getting some of my attention. WWIII is the band’s second full-length album and their first on Pure Steel Records. Things have changed somewhat since the band’s self-titled 2010 debut. For one, the production is much heavier and pummeling, while the material is darker. WWIII is a concept album and from what I could gather in the lyrics, deals with rising and overthrowing tyranny to attain freedom.
Andreas Pouyioukkas continues to capably handle vocal duties and introduces a heavier approach, with many growls and gruffer vocals mixed in with his higher register. One thing that is immediately apparent on “Merciless Decay” is both Pouyioukkas’s and the band’s affection for Iced Earth, which was evident on their first album but is more pronounced here. The riffs are steely and Pouyioukkas is capable of nailing Barlow when he wants as the mid-paced stomper “Order To Defend” forcefully demonstrates. Lethal Saint are not hacks though, and their own personality bleeds through particularly in the melodic and appealing riffs which are less stiff and mechanistic than Iced Earth’s. Rounding things out are an abundance of pounding drums with plenty of double kick and booming low end thump from bassist Nicholas Liakos.
“Thorns of Existence” is one of my favorite tunes, perhaps the heaviest and must complex song featuring a progressively winding main riff and truly inspired vocals from Pouyioukkas, Also noteworthy is the compact nature of the songs, the band wisely restraining themselves from cramming too much into each tune. Only two songs out of eleven exceeds five minutes, with half the album being songs under four minutes. WWIII sounds good too, the mix really giving everything an added clarity that separates this from something recorded in 1984.
Ultimately, WWIII is a worthy album that proudly flaunts its traditional metal roots from the album art to the band photos. The combination of traditional metal with US Power metal is not necessarily a unique approach, but one that seems to be inspiring many bands of late, such as the excellent Air Raid. Essentially if you are a fan of Iced Earth, Pyramaze or Air Raid you cannot go wrong with WWIII.