Reviewed: January 1, 2022
Released: January 24, 2022, Gates of Hell Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Well metal never takes a day off and just as we are preparing our best ofs and AOTYs for 2021, 2022 is already attempting a “hold my beer” moment. 2021 was most definitely an outstanding year for metal releases but Canada’s Maule is kicking the new year off with a beast of a self titled debut album. Formed in 2017 and with demo under their belt their debut album is going to take the world by storm and we can also add Maule to the list of great NWOTHM bands that are keeping the flame burning! Formed by bassist Johnny Maule and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Jakob Weel this band manages to capture the best of the original NWOBHM movement and add enough modern elements to not sound dated.
Straight out of the gate you get treated to some dual lead riffs to open the album. “Evil Eye” is your typical anthemic metal song loaded with killer riffs and a really catchy chorus. The solos is just godly and was brought to you by Daniel Gottardo, who recorded the solos on this album but is no longer with the band. That’s sad because the solos here are seriously catchy. “Ritual” starts with a blistering wah wah solo as well as loaded with dual lead riffs. Another blistering solo before its all over. These songs are not super fast but have a lot of power and aggression; almost a thrash metal attitude with a traditional metal approach and these guys pull it off. The title track is another highlight starting out with their signature dual leads then some fierce riffing. This one borders on speed metal a bit they still remind you that they are not all about speed. Once again another amazing solo for the cherry on top.
The production on this album is extremely clean and polished but there is still that analog old school sound. The guitars have a great tone to them with a nice crunch when the riffs call for it and a nice melody for the soaring leads. Just listen to the riffs on the epic “Father Time.” This song is almost six minutes long and just brings an epic atmosphere with it. That clean production is all part of the execution of strong songs to create a debut album this solid. Not relying so much on the speed here but in the power and heaviness of those crunching riffs. The end solo ends the song brilliantly. The album ends just as it started, brilliant dual leads on “We Ride.” This song works so well as a closer but it could have easily been the opener as well due to its high energy. This is another killer fist pumping anthem to bring in the new year.
So Maule has decided that following up a great year like 2021 is not that much of a challenge to them. They came out of the gate swinging….and connecting. Everything you love about heavy metal is present on this album; from killer riffs to soaring vocals to godly solos. What more could one ask for? Maybe make the next one just a tad longer? Starting off the new year with essential metal! You’re welcome!