Released: 2009, Heaven & Hell Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
I am in heavy metal heaven. North Carolina’s Heaven and Hell Records has just reissued the landmark Twisted Tower Dire albums THE CURSE OF TWISTED TOWER and THE ISLE OF HYDRA.
Standing at the forefront of the underground American Heavy Metal pantheon alongside Icarus Witch, Slough Feg, Omen, Vicious Rumours and the like; TTD has long been considered one of the genre's most respected and longstanding institutions. These beautifully packaged reissues take you back to where it all started and are chock full of liner notes, old band photos, flyer collages and most importantly, long lost demo tracks. The album covers have updated artwork that now at last do the music justice, but die hard fans will be pleased to know that the original artwork is represented within the CD booklet’s full color glossy 12 page booklets. I’d like to focus this review on the abundance of bonus material that make up the second disc of each reissue. (Each disc also contains a Heaven and Hell Records mp3 sampler comprised of acts on the label’s roster)
CURSE OF TWISTED TOWER’s bonus disc takes us all the way back to the band’s debut two song HAIL NORTHERN VIRGINIA cassette demo from 1996 with “Rue of The Forsaken Sleepkeeper” and “Mourner In The Nethermists” then moves along to a re-recording of “Mourner” (and is the first of the next three tracks to feature Janet Rubin on vocals) from the following year that originally appeared as a split disc release with the band Solstice that was limited to 300 copies. We also get “Beyond the Gate” and “Home of Darkness” taken from the band’s 1997 self released demo cassette TRIUMPHING TRUE METAL that originally featured cassette artwork Xeroxed onto red cardstock. Also included is the previously unreleased (in any format) “Starflight Requiem” This is fucking awesome and cult.
The ISLE OF HYDRA album closes with an interview with and a photo gallery of the band. Bonus tracks found on Disc 2 are TTD doing some very choice covers including “Forgotten In Space” (Voivod), “Give Her The Gun” (UFO), “The Temple Of The Syrinx” (Rush), “Queen of The Reich” (Queensryche), “A Dangerous Meeting” (Mercyful Fate), and “Glory Ride” (Black Sabbath)
Pretty much everything given the reissue treatment here is out of print or was next to impossible to find. For people who loved 2005’s CREST OF THE MARTYRS or most recently 2007’s NETHERWORLDS and want to hear where these guys come from, I really can’t recommend this any more highly! You will surely love and treasure these two reissues. Only 1,000 of each title have been pressed so I would encourage you to act fast!