Reviewed: July 2021
Released: 2021, Independent
Reviewer: Jack Merry
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, traditional heavy metal outfit Oxblood Forge have unleashed their latest studio effort entitled Decimator onto the world.
This is an old-school power metal album through and through, reminiscent of early Hammerfall and Edguy, with tales of myths, legends, dragons, and spirits spread across its fifty-minute runtime. Opening track ‘Into the Abyss’ wastes little time in setting the tone for the rest of the album that follows, with roaring vocals from Ken Mackay and an explosive guitar riff that will lay waste to your enemies.
The title track and ‘Forged In Fire’ continue this trend with great aplomb, but it’s during the latter that the harsh vocals begin to grate a little. Something about them seems ever so slightly off-key, and while it is most certainly raw; and the passion is there, it can be jarring in places. The Marvel Comics-based ‘Spirit of Vengeance’ has an opening stomp that will no doubt go down well live, with a chugging guitar riff and a rumbling bassline. Ghost Rider is a personal favourite of mine and it’s fantastic to hear a song about the character, complete with mentions of his famous Penance Stare, sounds of the flaming motorcycle, and the Hellfire Chains. From a die-hard Marvel fan, top marks for this track, boys!
‘Mortal Salience’ brings the breakneck speed back with a ferocious full-throttle riff and plenty of percussive menace, while an uninspired Angel Witch cover (‘Sorceress’) doesn’t fully stick the landing, and it’s even worth questioning why a cover song was necessary, in place of another brand new track? Closing out the album is the epic ‘Ironbound,’ with its fantastical lyrics and lengthy musical passages that show off the technical prowess of the band. Decimator is, unfortunately, a little hit and miss in places, but when it is good, it’s excellent. Any fan of power/battle metal will find something to love here, and Oxblood Forge doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel… one glimpse of the album cover should let you know exactly what you’re going to get out of Decimator.