Released: 2014, Massacre Records
Though hailing from Germany, Blumi’s Metal Inquisitor could easily be mistaken as a British band. Formed in 1997, ULTIMA RATIO REGIS (The King’s Final Argument, once inscribed on Prussian Guns) is Metal Inquisitor’s fourth album and first on label Massacre Records. Firmly entrenched in classic NWOBHM, ULTIMA RATIO REGIS is an album that could easily be mistaken for a circa 1980 album from any of various British NWOBHM pioneers. Enduring the usual musical chairs in band lineup and now on their third record label, the five piece delivers 44 minutes of retro-metallic tribute, where pieces of U.S. Metal glimmer within the Saxon steel.
The simple and direct riffs are passionate and steeped in 80s knowledge while front-man El Rojo delivers in a style that assimilates variations of many of the great NWOBHM singers. “Confessions Saves Blood” has an undeniable Mercyful Fate feel during the intro, and then moves towards Saxon territory. “Call The Banners” briefly explores power metal melodies and lyrical themes while “Self-Denial” wanders dangerously close to KILL EM ALL’s core style, lead guitarist nearly plagiarizing Hammett’s solo style from that album. The album concludes with the most experimental song, the 7 minute plus “Second Peace of Thorn” that meanders slightly off the somewhat monotonous path employing an early Judas Priest approach. Complementing the loose playing and songs is a production job more concerned with a vintage vibe than modern tendencies, truly making this sound like a product of the early 80s.
Wearing their influences on their sleeves leaves little room for anything resembling originality or variety, Metal Inquisitor perfectly content to play the style of music they love to listen to, evolution be damned. Expectedly, ULTIMA RATIO REGIS is the perfect accompaniment to a night of beer drinking, sloshing pints in the pubs and throwing darts, all topped off with Fish n Chips. Sure the gallops and chugs start to sound the same near the end of the album but the absolutely committed and authentic execution of a beloved style of metal is worth the minor inconvenience of pressing the skip button here and there. Fans of NWOBHM, Running Wild, Saxon, Diamond Head & early Judas Priest should definitely tune into Metal Inquisitor’s most recent offering.