Released: 2002, Century Media
When I first was thinking about rating the new album by Onward I was leaning towards 4/5. However, the thing with ratings is, your opinion over time changes. So it’s a good thing for Onward that I waited a month to finalize my review because after repeated listens I grew to not like, but to love this album!! As I mentioned in my Seven Witches CD review this month, not many NEW bands play what I’d call “heavy metal.” So many fall into one of the “sub-genres.” Onward are one of the few who do not, they are classic sounding heavy metal so don’t confuse that with power metal!! Listening to this album made me think of the best of the 80’s with Dokken, Priest, Maiden, Accept, Dio, etc. That means great lead guitars and riffs, excellent melodic hooks, and a vocalist that kicks major ass. When I listened to Onwards first album last year I liked it but it didn’t have that spark that made it classic. It was close, but with the new album, REAWAKEN, the band is already coming into it’s own.
The album begins with the title track “Reawaken.” The first line in the song is “I remember the day of the fall. Betrayal from brothers, bloodlines broken.” What vocalist/lyricist Michael Grant had in mind here is something I also remember and agree with….he’s referring to the day that that shit song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came into existence and was pushed to death on all North American video/radio programs. This signaled the end of an era…the beginning of a dry spell for heavy metal. Well Onward are here to reawaken people’s interest in metal. Not that all of us need reawakening mind you! I never lost interest!! Perhaps the coolest thing about this band is their ability to sound 80’s yet not sounding totally dated. During songs I reminded of the great 80’s bands ranging from the early 80’s material from such metal bands as Ratt and Dokken but it’s mixed in with Priest, Accept, Maiden, etc. All together is comes out as Onward. Toby Knapp, Onwards guitarist is no slacker either. Even though he was once signed to Shrapnel, he’s not guitar wanking. His playing complements the music and the solos are not self-indulgent shredfests. The vocals of Michael Grant are the other major plus to the band. Grant’s vocals are clear but they are not that high. Instead they are often deep, rich and always melodic. At times he goes into the higher registers but not that often. It’s hard to point out the killer tracks on here because all of them are great. There is one cover song on here that took me off guard and that is “Clockwork Toy” originally recorded by Japan’s Loudness! Their version is great and Grant’s vocals give the song new life and more power! This is a must listen for fans of classic heavy metal.
Onward are new comers to the metal scene but their sound is that which all fans of pure metal have been craving for. No frills, straight up heavy metal is something that is in short supply these days so it’s refreshing to sit back and crank the fuck out of this CD and “relive the sound of purest power.” I’ll be enjoying this album for the years to come and I look forward to hearing much more from Onward.
Official Site: http://www.evermoving.com