Reviewed: August 1, 2022
Released: July 22, 2022, Pure Steel Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
L.A.’s RESISTANCE has been around since 2000 and somehow flew under my radar. Hearing serious riff driven power metal from this side of the pond is always refreshing and this band does not disappoint. Their fourth full length release, Skulls of My Enemy, is my first exposure to the band and I have not reviewed their back catalog as of yet so this is based solely on this album alone. What I hear when I play this album is the heaviness of USPM mixed with the melodies and catchiness of European power metal. The result is an extremely enjoyable metal album that has become part of my regular rotation.
Obviously the first thing that drew me to this album was the title. You can’t get any more metal than Skulls of My Enemy. The good thing is they bring the metal in a huge way. After the brief intro they come straight for the throat with “Valhalla Has Locked Its Doors.” The riffs are killer and the solos are scorching. The vocalist reminds me of the late Mike Howe with a little Blackie Lawless and Udo thrown in. Check out the verse on “On Dragon Wings” and tell me you don’t hear some Blackie Lawless. Both songs are what you expect from a quality metal album, riff drive songs with a lot of power. What these guys add are some catchy choruses and melodies. The chorus on “On Dragon Wings” is straight outta HELLOWEEN! “Earthshaker” rounds out the opening trio and this is another ripper that pounds from beginning to end. Driving riffs, dual leads, and soaring vocals. All of the ingredients for a classic in the making.
So my rule of thumb is that its those first three songs that set the pace of any album. If the pace falls off then the album will not stand up. Thankfully this album does not suffer from that and the remainder keeps the pace. Its also at this point where you begin to hear this band has their own signature sound and its that formula that makes this album so good. That chorus to “The Nordic Witch” is extremely melodic and you can hear the W.A.S.P. influence from vocalist Robert Hett. But the one thing that stands out is their emphasis on writing really catchy riffs like some of the riffs on “Templar’s Creed.” That song crushes from beginning to end with one of the best solos on the album but as you move along you realize it’s only to set you up for the beast that is “Awaken the Necromancer.” Clocking in at almost six minutes this song is metal defined. Driving riffs, soaring vocals, an extremely sick solo, and another catchy melodic chorus. This is how metal is done!
How this band flew under my radar is beyond me. This album caught me completely by surprise and I became an instant fan. I’ll surely dive into their back catalog here real soon. Until then this will be on repeat for a while. You need this album! I mean, come on, with a title like Skulls of My Enemy….resistance is futile!