Metal Inquisitor - Doomsday for the heretic 4/5

Reviewed: 5-12-06


1. Recall the heretic past
2. Doomsday for the heretic
3. Restricted agony
4. Thane of cowder
5. Star chaser
6. Midnight rider
7. Legion of grey
8. Infamia
9. Logan's run
10. M4 A1
11. Invader
12. Bad boys hardrock police (bonus track)

I love it when a really good band that has disappeared for several years suddenly returns with a corker of a follow-up CD that makes you forgive and forget the intervening passage of time. Germany's aptly-named Metal Inquisitor fall into this category. In early 2002, they released a phenomenal debut CD ('The apparition') of powerful, traditional, and true heavy metal on the now-defunct Iron Glory Records label. The next 3 years passed without another peep from the Metal Inquisitor camp, and I assumed that they were destined to join the ranks of one-hit wonders who strike hard, strike fast in one shining moment of glory, then vanish in haze for time immemorial. Much to my delight, however, the German quintet resurfaced a few months ago with 'Doomsday for the heretic', released via Hellion Records overseas and licensed to R.I.P. Records in the U.S. to ensure ready availability on these shores.

The German people take their beer pretty seriously, so much so that they have enacted a purity law to make certain that the ales served in Deutschland are pure, undiluted and unsullied by contaminants, artificial chemicals, and poisons. Well, the Germans take their heavy metal every bit as seriously as their beer. You know a band aren't playing around when their CD is stamped with the legend "100% Pure German Heavy Metal". Such is the case for Metal Inquisitor's sophomore outing. And no one will ever accuse this band of a falsehood in that regard, because 'Doomsday' is unadulterated old-school headbanging glee from start to finish. Nonetheless, for all of its narrow pigeonholing in the "classic metal" genre, the CD is a surprisingly diverse affair. Metal Inquisitor's core sound (in terms of vocals, guitar lines and songwriting) appears heavily influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal; nonetheless, the band refuse to be painted into a corner, as different songs explore different aspects of metal's glory days. The main riff to "Restricted agony" bears substantial similarity to the razor sharp chug of Overkill's classic thrasher, "Hammerhead". "Thane of cawdor" brings to mind Running Wild. "Midnight rider" has the same gait and swagger as Judas Priest's "Metal gods", with perhaps a touch of early Queensryche in the chorus. In "Legion of grey", the main riff conjures up classic John Ricci riffing in Exciter's "Long live the loud" or "Stand up and fight". The 8-minute "Infamia" channels a little bit of mid-80s Maiden's penchant for the epic. "Logan's run" feels like early Ozzy, maybe a combination of "Believer" and "Ultimate sin".

Please don't get the wrong idea. These songs are far from being copies or lame rewrites of the originals, by any stretch of the imagination, but they do capture the vibe, feel and energy of their predecessors, which represent some real landmarks of 80s heavy metal history. Crusty old-school metalheads will delight in the differing takes on the classic metal sound from song to song, even as they wrack their brains to think of which 80s traditional metal act the current Metal Inquisitors track is most reminiscent. The end result is that this 52-minute CD of traditional metal never becomes boring because each song has its own distinct identity, rather than simply being a blur of 12 faceless, indistinguishable tunes that melt into one another.

When all is said and done, 'Doomsday for the heretic' is a feast of old-school metal excellence by an act that expertly pays homage to its influences, but never at the expense of strong songwriting, cool riffing and memorable hooks. Support Metal Inquisitor. They're a good band. They write killer songs. But mostly, support them because they're just so much fun to listen to.




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