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Released: 2015, Stormspell Records
Despite my long-standing disappointment at the band name, Rocka Rollas probably stands as my favourite project that Cederick is involved in. PAGAN RITUAL is the bands fourth album in a mere five years a commendable pace and perhaps more surprisingly show no signs of fatigue in the song-writing and performance category.
This Swedish combo is still firmly entrenched on StormSpell Records and churning out just glorious and inspired Speed Metal. On PAGAN RITUAL there has been a slight shift in thematic elements. Unlike the past three albums which offered tales of glory, battle and steel, this time, as suggested by the title and awesome cover art, the band have incorporated some more celtic, folk and historical elements. I want to be clear that those elements have not, for the most-part, seeped into the song-writing and music, only the lyrics. Just looking at the song titles you ‘Gaulic, ‘punic’, viking’, ‘forests etc, instead of their previous Metal, steel and so on. I had to go look up the word punic in the dictionary! A quick on-line check tells us that The Punic Wars were a series of three wars between the Italians (Romans) and Africans (Phoenicians) from 814 BC to 146 BC. Take that Iron Maiden!
After establishing that the band has established their lyrical themes a little, I’m also delighted to report that they have stayed true to their original sound of pure blazing speed Metal. There are no line-up changes since last year although bassist Henke now goes by the name of Thunder... but what else could you possibly call the bassist of a band this awesome? Ced’s high voice soars about wave upon relentless blast-wave of blazing guitars all propelled by thundering drums, largely double-kick driven giving ever song a sense of immediate power and urgency. There are the usual big gang choruses, catchy choruses and never-ending sense of propulsion. I’ve talked to many a Metalhead who just can’t handle the eternal quest for speed, saying it gets dull, but I love it! 'The track 'The Swordsman Rides' is pure speed Metal heaven. There are a few new sounds perhaps like the slightly Celtic guitar lines in ‘Lost In The Enchanted Forest’, but those only add flair and dynamics to the album. The band have stayed true to their signature sound and injected just a few little hints to keep it fresh.
ROCKA ROLLAS likely stand as my favourite project by Cederick. Perhaps it is the collaborative nature of a band, rather than a one-man project, maybe it is the speed, I can’t quite put my finger on it because all of his projects are metal as hell. PAGAN ALTAR is yet another chapter for a band becoming one of the most respected, pure, (and enjoyable) underground Speed Metal bands on the planet.
1. The Punic Wars
2. Gaulic Boare
4. Lost in the Enchanted Forest
5. Pagan Ritual
6. Viking Lord
7. The Swordsman Rides
8. Call of the Wild
Cederick Vocals, Guitar
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