Reviewed: June 2020
Released: 2020, Pure Steel Records
Reviewer: Rossy Maguire
Intense hail from the UK and released their first EP back in 1997, and it has been nine years since their last release but at long last, the new album is ready to be unleashed on the Metal world.
Vocalist Sean Hetherington and guitarist Nick Palmer are founding members but the current line up has been together since 2004. The listener might think at first contact that INTENSE would be another one of these countless formations that play in the style of the unbreakable NWOBHM. The blood of SAXON, DEMON, and all the legends is of course in their blood, but INTENSE are more influenced by the darker side of power metal like ICED EARTH and NEVERMORE among others.
The fourth work of INTENSE represents a fresh cell treatment for British heavy metal, power metal with sense and reason which is rock solid on the achievements of its history.
As a fan of British heavy metal, I was surprised to see an amalgamation of it with power metal. However, I was not disappointed.
Starting the album, there was a slow build-up that gradually gets louder with the introduction of symphonic sounds and instruments. The feeling received from this song was, like the name of the band, intense. Despite being their shortest song, this provided the basis for the rest of the album.
I found “End of Days” quite ‘thrashy’ to begin with but then symphonic elements of power metal are subsequently included. During this song, I developed a sense of similarity to iconic British heavy metal such as Iron Maiden through the style of Sean Hetherington’s vocals, and Nick Palmer’s and Dave Peak’s guitar riffs.
Throughout the album, I found welcoming variations in the songs with some being calmer initially, and then followed by more heavy and aggressive sounds. For example, “Final Cry” starts with a calm intro but is followed by an increased tempo and heavier sounds. This song became one of my favourites during my listening as I noticed strong tones of British heavy metal through the guitar riffs and drum patterns. Overall, there was a Judas Priest vibe during this song.
Another notable one I enjoyed listening to was the title track, “Songs Of A Broken Future”, which was also the longest song on the album. This begins with a pleasant piano intro, assisted by very clear and clean vocals. It worked well with the heavy down-picked guitar section immediately following.
This pattern of similarities to iconic British heavy metal bands and heavy instrumentals carries out from the first song and straight to the last song on the album. Much like “The Oncoming Storm”, “Children Of Tomorrow” starts intense and supports this theme throughout the song whilst maintaining a Judas Priest vibe. This was a great finisher to the impeccable and loud album.
It’s all of these elements together that allows me to give this album a 4 out of 5 rating.