Released: 2013, StormSpell Records
There are a few, not many but a few bands who have such a dumb band name that I have a hard time reconciling the music and the band name. How could a band that is so awesome have such a poorly chosen name? Bands like this include Dew-Scented, Custard, Ferngully, Subway To Sally and Rocka Rollas. Yes, Yes, I get the Judas Priest reference but the words Rocka Rollas, just doesn’t sound ‘Metal’. Thankfully every other component of METAL STRIKES BACK is so metal to the core that it hurts. I can live with the name.
Rocka Rollas is another project of Cederick one of the most metal dudes on the planet. Aside from running the ultimate Running Wild band, Blazon Stone and his thrash band Mortyr, he has this project as well. Ced handles everything himself except vokills and he recruited young vocal star Joe Listz (Ancient Empire, Shadowkiller) to bring the pipes to the party. Like 100% of the material released on StormSpell Records, the package is gorgeous. The album cover is awesome, the title rages, and the lyrics of metal, steel, warriors and battles are so awesome that Judas Priest is jealous and Manowar is proud. The 12 page, glossy booklet has all the lyrics, notes and photos and is very well-presented.
Ced is not afraid to let a song run wild, many of these songs are in the six minute range and they all have a lot of good pace and tempo. This is the second album and he has really stretched out his songs as most of the songs on the first album THE WAR OF STEEL HAS BEGUN were shorter affairs. He has expanded his lyrical prowess a little bit as well. Compared to the debut where almost every song was about ‘Metal’ or Steel’ this seems slightly more ambitious…but still raging, blazing Metal to the core with tales of war machines, cyborgs and wings of steel. Do you know the album cover of Dismember’s album, MASSIVE KILLING CAPACITY… the giant war machine robot dude? Well, METAL STRIKES BACK by Rocka Rollas is the album in the CD player of that beast. It’s hard to pick a favourite but ‘Raging Cyborg’ is way up there. Joe’s vocals bring a rough and ready sound to the cuts putting in a performance, that frankly I thought was better than his work in Shadowkiller ,which was still awesome. (Side note: I also reviewed the Shadowkiller album as well this month if you want to check it out) Joe has grit and range but never gets too high.
Ced has a knack for writing really catchy Metal songs and a really good ear for that indescribable X-Factor that takes a god album to a great album. The riffs are solid, the solos are excellent, the playing totally pro, being both tight and yet just slightly off the rails at the same time. The songs never loose sight of that all important headbang zone, he does not dwell into realms of overplaying just because. Even though he is a younger guy he is one of a few young, prolific musicians who have very easily captured the essence of the classic 80’s Metal sound, melding every wonderful thing about Priest, Maiden, Riot, Tokyo Blade, Vicious Rumors, and a dozen other bands you could easily name drop, including a heavy Running Wild influence.
I did a big buy of StormSpell Records stuff and METAL STIKES BACK is very close to the top of what I think will have the best chance at lasting success. Don’t let the band name keep you away, there is some good buzz about the band and now is a good a time as ever to check out Rocka Rollas.