Released: 2013, Pure Steel Records
I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing myself when I first got this; “Jeez, these guys cannot even fucking spell Warrior correctly!” Turns out, Warrion are merely following one of many established metal templates by naming their band after the last name of a member, one of many metal templates Warrion embraces. I am always intrigued when one fairly unknown guy puts together a semi-super group of weathered and respected musicians to forge new music. Much like Chris Sanders did with Knight Fury, Ron Ravi Warrion has collected some big guns to make the band’s debut album AWAKENING THE HYDRA. Warrion is a US Metal band consisting of vocalist Mike Viscera, singer of Obsession (and Ex-Loudness singer). There’s also guitarist Tim Thomas (Abattoir, Ex-Agent Steel, Ex- Steel Prophet), bassist Keith Knight (Aska) and drummer Rob Brug (Halloween). Furthermore, George Call (Aska, Ex-Omen) is guest-vocalist on two tracks.
Warrion plays a hybrid style of early US Power Metal with flourishes of European influences and a noticeable flavor of each member’s main bands. Imagine a combination of early Iced Earth, a dash of Warlord and pinch of early Jag Panzer and you have an idea of the music within. The album opens in what has become a clichéd, rote, and totally expected way to begin metal albums (that template thing I mentioned earlier); with a cinematic instrumental about a minute long. Feel free to skip to the next song, as we have all heard this opening track more times than we can count by now. The title track properly introduces the album with a speedy assault that hits quick and is into the chorus before you know what happened. We also find immediately that Mike Viscera has not lost much of his range while there is some guitar-on-steroids work, with sweep picking, lightning fills and general guitar exuberance.
Viscera actually rises into helium histrionics more than perhaps necessary, but he is probably the showcase on the album, which is not to say that the rest of the band are not up to the task because they are. “Serpent’s “Fire” is a notable vintage metal track, with an almost hallowed and archaic metal feel. Bassist Keith Knight deserves mention for really anchoring the band’s sound while offering runs and fills that complement rather than mimic the guitars. The sound of the album does not vary much, but there is a nice acoustic piece near the end of the album called “Earth Fire Water Spirit”, which is in keeping with much of the spiritual and religious themes running through the album, our man Warrion obviously not a fan of traditional Christianity.
Eleven tracks later AWAKENING THE HYDRA reveals itself to be an enjoyable but unremarkable listen. The talent is certainly adequate, but the band needs more time together to allow the chemistry to form that is needed to create truly memorable music. The songs themselves lack identity and purpose, none really rising above the fray into the truly memorable. There is room for improvement but lots to appreciate just the same. Recommended for fans of ye olde US Power Metal.