Dragonsclaw - Judgement day 4/5

Reviewed: 9-1-13





Tracklist:

1. Watching my every move
2. Onset of war
3. Judgement day
4. Bullet
5. Fear
6. Fly: Defenders of the sky part II
7. Lucifer’s hammer
8. Battle cry
9. Eternally


Before writing this review for Australian power metal band Dragonsclaw and their 2nd release ‘Judgement day’, I went back over my review for their debut ‘Prophecy’. At the time, I had never heard of the band, however after blasting ‘Prophecy’ time and time again, I felt that this band was sitting on something huge, which ultimately came out in leaps and bounds in my review of it.

Across the board, ‘Prophecy’ was receiving outstanding reviews, both in official metal magazines and e-zines around the world. Truly it was an inspiring performance by all involved in Dragonsclaw, a relatively unknown band from out of Sydney. A lot has happened since the release of the debut, particularly for lead vocalist Giles Lavery. Aside from lending his powerful voice in guest spots on CDs including Indian band Blood & Iron and veteran L.A. metallers Warlord, it was the latter who invited Lavery to be their temporary lead vocalist for Warlord’s tour in Europe for the ‘Keep it True’ festival; a huge highlight in Lavery’s career in anyone’s language.

Dragonsclaw also moved from Greek label Arkeyn Steel Records, to Killer Metal Records based in Germany, a decision that the band were all happy with. As for the piecing together of the new CD ‘Judgement day’, this time around it was a more balanced effort from all members in the band, however primarily spearheaded by Lavery and guitarist Ben Thomas.

On the previous CD ‘Prophecy’, Dragonsclaw were able to gain the vocal talents of 2 high profile singers – Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge of Forever/ex-Eden’s Curse) and Blaze Bayley (Blaze Bayley/ex-Wolfsbane/ex-Iron Maiden). On the new release, the boys were again able to get in an international singer, that being David Reece (Malice/ex-Accept/ex-Powerworld), who sings in a battle duet with Lavery on the opening track. The other guest musician on the new CD is Jack Starr (Jack Starr/Jack Starr’s Burning Starr/ex-Virgin Steele), who plays on the track “Battle cry” (a tribute to late Riot guitarist Mark Reale).

So, what can you expect from ‘Judgement day’? Well I can say much more of what we heard on the debut CD, ‘Prophecy’, meaning more excellent forging of traditional heavy metal with melodic power metal, with influences spaning from Riot to Warlord, to Judas Priest and everything else in between. Most tracks on ‘Judgement day’ contains furious and thundering double bass, with swift, intricate and energetic guitar riffs via underrated axe-man Ben Thomas. Lastly the impressive vocalist, Giles Lavery who can belt out the highest notes with powerful ease is again leading the charge of this kick-ass CD. His range is utterly endless, while his delivery is 2nd to none; so it’s no wonder that Warlord wanted his soaring and passionate vocals for their European tour a few months ago.

Some of the better kick-ass tracks on ‘Judgement day’ include the powerful “Fly”, the sequel to “Defender of the sky” from the previous CD. “Fly” contains soaring melodic vocals from Lavery, with blistering guitar riffs and pounding double bass. In the middle the track slows down for a sombre instrumental section, building up for what is to be an epic finale. “Battle cry” is another all out metal blitz, with furious guitar riffs, paying homage to metal veterans Riot. “Lucifer’s hammer” is a slower track to the others already mentioned, but with explosive guitar riffs and I hear a Black Sabbath/Dio influence throughout. A few other tracks to raise a fist to include the title track “Judgement day” and the pulsating “Bullet”.

Overall, ‘Judgement day’ is a nice progression from the previous CD, with the band sticking with what they know best, with no mess no fuss; just pounding out straight up melodic power metal/traditional heavy metal with a hint of that classic sound we know and love so well. The songs on the new CD are again well written, quite creative but most importantly, it keeps the listener entertained (and constantly pulling out the air guitar as well).

In comparison to the quality between ‘Judgement day’ and the debut, this new CD is right up there on par with ‘Prophecy’, which was indeed a wonderful effort for a debut; which means ‘Judgement day’ is yet another excellent and cracking effort from Dragonsclaw. The Sydneysiders are quickly becoming one of the better Australian metal acts and easily stand alongside fellow top Aussie bands like Lord, Pegazus and Black Majesty.



SEAN




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