Blacksmith - Time out of mind 3/5

Reviewed: 12-1-12





Tracklist:

1. Time out of mind
2. Achilles heel
3. Burn down the world
4. Lost city
5. Powerhead
6. Pieces of chuck
7. Wreckage
8. The lesser evil
9. Bum out
10. Live/Die
11. Blitzkrieg bop - live


Forged in the fires of hell (Albany, NY) - paying tribute to the iron glory of the 80s - the wrecking crew of Blacksmith return from another time, to blow your mind. Get ready to feel the fire burn down your world, as you receive a taste of their darkness!

I will never forget the time when I was living in the state of Washington in the early 90s, when Grunge was all the rage, and I refused to follow fashion. I saw this unknown CD in a cut-out bin for $1 on Tropical Records by a band called Blacksmith. The cover appeared mettle enough, as did the songs, so I took a chance on experiencing 'Fire from within'. Once I returned to my house, and proceeded to put it in my CD player, I was instantly impressed as I was reminded of the early Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam, Metal Church and Tension's style of power thrash.

Years later, when I discovered a CD re-issue version online which included the hard to find 'Blacksmith' EP I picked that up too. I am not sure if this was a bootleg, but the packaging sure sucked! I still do not have any lyrics for this band!

Then last year when Heaven and Hell Records released 'Strike while the iron's hot', I reached for a piece of that, hoping for it to be chock full of extras, and include better re-mastered sound quality; sadly it sounded the same as my re-issue, although with better artwork.

Now, Blacksmith has finally released what was to be their sophomore effort, with better production and a stronger mix. Overall, I am pleased with the music, but I do not find it to be as strong as the debut, nor as memorable. In fact, main vocalist Malcolm Mania Lovegroove almost sounds like Blacksmith's original lady luck - Heidi Black, and several of the songs mirror the female touch of Sentinel Beast, Hellion, or The Runaways, when they should sound more like Steel Assassin, Savage Steel or Blessed Death.

At times, given the duration of songs, and the strong prominence of bass lines, I am reminded of D.D. Verni's more gothic rock outfit: The Bronx Casket co. Songs like "Burn down the world" or "Lost city" are quite lengthy, but not too progressive, and follow the morbid pattern suggested by "Tower of London" or "Theatres des vampires" on their debut.

The rather tongue-in-cheek "Bum out" (listed as "Burn out") is almost too OTT, and although I can identify with trying to extinguish a rather rank hobo stench, I do not agree with choosing to light him on fire as a means to end overpopulation.

One of the best and more upbeat tracks is "Powerhead" which instantly calls to mind "Powersurge" by Overkill, as well as "Terminator" by Powermad. This is followed by the black attack of "Live/Die", which penetrates the achilles heel of your inner vulnerability.

Essentially, this less than louder than hell CD may slip through the cracks of the hungry metal consumer, given the quality of recent fine releases. However, it is still better than recent Manowar, and it's truly one of the best offerings from Heaven and Hell records aside from the Overlorde SR, Witches Mark, Ritual, Praetorius, Hellrazor, or their excellent Twisted Tower Dire re-issues. So, if you prefer the analogue sound this label and Stormspell provide, then strike while the iron is hot! If not, fug it!



MICHAEL




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