Monday, 24 August 2015

Architects Of Chaoz - ‘The League of Shadows' (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 24/06/2015
Label: Metalville Records



Overall, this is a very strong heavy metal record. Great sound, great vibe and great vocals. If you have any affection for Maiden, and those two early records in particular, then you should check this one out. It is undoubtedly better than most records in the same genre- mixing as it does trad qualities with a modern approach and has that kind of punky edge that Di' Anno's best work has.

‘The League of Shadows’ CD//DD track listing:

 1. Rejected
2. How Many Times
3. Horsemen
4. Switched Off (Released)
5. Erase The World
6. Dead Eyes
7. Architects Of Chaoz
8. When Murder Comes To Town
9. Obsidian Black
10. Angel Of Death †
11. Apache Falls
12. Soldier Of Fortune †

†Limited Edition Bonus Track

Architects of Chaoz is:

Christoph Lucker | Bass
Dominik Nowitski | Drums
Andreas Ballnus | Guitars
Joey Siedl | Guitars
Paul Di’Anno | Vocals

The Review:
 
Heavy metal, plain and simple. That is what you get with this one. You also get Paul Di' Anno! Yes, formerly of Iron Maiden and latterly a rather badly behaved man (by his own admission). His performance on this record is his best in YEARS. On opener “Rejected” his voice soars in a way that most probably thought was twenty or thirty years behind him. His vocal performance on the record lifts it above being just another well played, written and produced heavy metal album to something much more memorable.

It should be noted at this point that Killers stands as my favourite Maiden album (or Powerslave... or Seventh Son depending on the day of the week) and their debut ranks up there too. In fact, Di' Anno, for all his problems outside of a recording studio has sung on two bona fide classic metal albums. And not many people can say (or wail) that!

Through material such as “How Many Times” and “Horsemen” the band plays very tight- guitar harmonies, muscular drums and a big, fat, modern sound. The vocals really do make it, though. In fact, it got me thinking... Where are the new world beaters? The new Iron Maidens? Well, they are not anywhere without a world class vocalist, that's for sure. What do all the biggest metal bands have in common? A vocalist with real character and unique delivery. If they aren't technically that gifted (Ozzy, Hetfield... even John Tardy or Chuck Schuldiner et al) then they make up for it with personality and a unique quality to their voice. The best of the best (Dio, Halford, Dickinson, Gillan, Anselmo) all have something that really marks them out. Di' Anno has a great voice; an ability to hit notes higher than you might think and some real grit to his delivery. Put simply, you believe him. Whether he be in a subway with his eyes burning a hole in your back or feeling the rejection of mainstream society (as on the opener) he is convincing.

Musically, things fall somewhere around Judas Priest mixed with more modern fare- with Maiden-esque guitar thrown in, of course. There is a lot of melody on offer on the album- “Dead Eyes,” for example, has some lovely guitar lines and a very catchy chorus. The band's anthem, eponymously named, is a dark piece of theatre with an individualist message and a by turns aggressive and melodic delivery from Di' Anno. Sure, the lyrics of “When Murder Comes To Town” are a little (a lot) hackneyed but this is heavy metal, not folk and musically it is great. With strong songs running all the way through the album's length, there is little to pick fault with here.

It should not be forgotten that Di' Anno's former band Killers put out a superb record in the form of “Murder One” (you CANNOT argue with the opening of “Impaler” and then straight into “The Beast Arises”) but has not done too much since. I saw him in a pub in Leeds in 2005, backed by an Iron Maiden tribute band. His voice was excellent and very, very powerful. It is nice to hear him with a backing band doing such a good job and with some quality material, rather than just re-treading the classics from 35 years ago. There are a couple of ballads in here too (I'll leave you to find them), but really it is the heavy stuff which I enjoy the most.

Overall, this is a very strong heavy metal record. Great sound, great vibe and great vocals. If you have any affection for Maiden, and those two early records in particular, then you should check this one out. It is undoubtedly better than most records in the same genre- mixing as it does trad qualities with a modern approach and has that kind of punky edge that Di' Anno's best work has. A storming and long overdue return.


‘League of Shadows’ is available now

Band info: Official | Facebook
 

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