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Death Of A Hero
Released: 2012, The Parlour Recording Studios
Every so often an unsigned band comes along that blows me away and Bakken is such a band. DEATH OF A HERO is the debut album from the band, formed in Northern Ireland in 2011. Bakken professes a love for 80s metal styles by fusing elements of thrash and German power metal with an ample influence from Iron Maiden. Add it all up, and you have a lovingly crafted homage to the golden years of metal, not exactly a ground breaking sound, but flavored with enough original interpretations to set it apart from simple mimicking.
One of the immediately recognizable differences between Bakken and the bands I mentioned above are the gruff vocals of Simon Pickett. Pickett uncannily resembles Hetfield’s early style, his singing unquestionably altering the flavor of a style that almost begs for dog whistle highs. Pickett’s singing might not be considered a strong point, but his guitar playing is top notch as he and fellow guitarist Mark-Anthony McGinnis fling out riff after riff of top flight metal as effortlessly as breathing. The two complement each other well, mixing in dual harmonies over chunky gallops and fleet fingered runs. The rhythm section is up to par as well, but the guitars are the center of this show. “Sasquatch” is a fine place to hear some of the catchy harmony runs, while “Back To The Future” is a pure power metal track recalling Helloween’s glory days. The overall production of the albums is respectable, but like most unsigned bands things sound a bit compressed and lack the full dynamic range that a major label release would have had.
The final assessment is that DEATH OF A HERO is an amazing debut from a band that fully deserves recognition from a major label. Recall that Helloween had its greatest success when Kai Hansen relinquished vocal duties to Michael Kiske, allowing him to focus solely on his guitar work while giving the band a much more diverse and varied singer. Perhaps Pickett and company might have to do the same to get that major record label support. Either way, I am on board with the band, and if you are a fan of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Helloween or traditional metal then you will no doubt be joining me in propelling these guys to the major leagues.
01. Darkest Day
02. Mystic Mogul
03. The Cursed
05. Back To The Future
06. Get Back To Your Feet
07. Fortress Of Evil
08. Voyage Of Aodh
Simon Pickett (vocals, guitar)
Mark-Anthony McGinnis (guitar)
Niall McGrotty (drums, backing vocals)
Brian O'Kane (bass guitar)
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