Reviewed: May 2020
Released: 2020, Gates of Hell Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
“If it ain’t broke…”
Oftentimes, the classics are classics for a reason, and that goes for styles as much as specific bands or albums. Traditional, classic heavy metal worked and captured so many people’s imaginations for good reason; Sölicitör get this, and show it off with vigour and passion on Spectral Devastation.
The album sounds beautifully like a snapshot of heavy metal in the early 80s, with a genuine understanding of the sort of sound they’re looking to capture, rather than relying solely on retro nostalgia. It -is- retro, and it -is- nostalgic, but it gets to the core of what makes old-school heavy metal so enjoyable, rather than just wearing that nostalgia like a glossy coat of paint.
“The Red Queen” is an anthem to ride into battle with, “Leathür Streets” and “Spectres of War” have a frantic pace where every instrument feels like it’s desperate to keep up with the rest, while tracks like “Grip of the Fist” and “Terminal Force” demand that you roar along with their metallic choruses in the midst of your headbanging.
This is heavy metal from a time when it was just beginning to branch out, with the beginnings of thrash or power metal starting to show themselves. It’s Jag Panzer’s Ample Destruction or Omen’s Battle Cry, Satan’s Court in the Act or Liege Lord’s Freedom’s Rise, classic speed metal with a rewarding balance of wicked aggression and ruthless catchiness. There’s a wild, manic energy, barely restrained, yet the delivery is anything but sloppy. Instead it’s a refined and viciously effective power (just see the solo work in “Betrayer”).
If you want something to remind you of just why that early 80s, NWOBHM sound is so good, you need look no further than Spectral Devastation.