Tuesday 22 November 2016

“11 is one louder”: Final Sign vocalist Shawn Pelata chooses his Top 5 trad metal albums

Final Sign’s foundation stems from a musical partnership between vocalist Shawn Pelata and guitarist Brian "Hellstorm" Williams which dates back to 1999, when Brian contacted Shawn with the hope of recruiting him to sing for a new project he was putting together. That short-lived endeavor became K-OCTAVE—yielding a single, highly praised album, “Outer Limits”, issued via Germany's Hellion Records in 2001.

Williams then continued with his main band, underground metal giants OCTOBER 31; while Pelata released two albums with melodic rock outfit LINE OF FIRE, as well as working with metalcore cultists KILLWHITNEYDEAD. The two kept in touch, vowing to one day work together again when the time was right.  As a proponent of unstoppable riffs Brian soon found himself with new players, and eight new songs in need of the right voice and Shawn was brought on board, finally Final Sign was born. Releasing some of finest traditional metal in the form of debut “Hold High the Flame”, it is time for The Sludeglord to share some pure metal for true metal heads and who better to discuss that with than Shaun Pelata, vocalist with the mighty Final Sign, as we once
again turn the dial up to 11 because it is, after all one louder. 

"All-time". Really, "all-time"? Yeah, really. It's so hard, after 40+ years of amazing heavy metal releases, to make lists like this. I think any metal fan would say the same. Then to be limited to only five albums is there any task more daunting to a fan?

Anyway, I poured a cup of coffee (hey, it's only lunch time) and sat down to think of my list. It was quite difficult whittling down to five albums (FIVE???), but after reheating my coffee a few times I managed to get it done. There are SO many great bands that I had to leave out (Armored Saint, Queensryche, Saxon, Accept, Ozzy-Sabbath, Mercyful Fate, etc) and so many albums in other styles that I love so much ('The Skull', 'Ancient Dreams', 'Ride The Lightning', 'Show No Mercy'). I just want you to know how much work this was and feel sorry for me. The pain is real.

So, now that I have reached the finish line, I present to you my Top 5 All-Time Favourite Traditional Metal Albums.

5). The Scorpions – “Blackout

SKAW-PYAAAWNS!!!! Yes!! Such a great, enduring band! 'Blackout' is my all-time favourite Scorpions album and was not going to miss being part of this list. This album is pure energy! Klaus Meine is simply raging on these songs. "Blackout", "Now!", "Dynamite", "No One Like You" (!!!), "Can't Live Without You"...awesome, awesome, awesome! I never get tired of playing this album. This is an album where the production quality is so full and clear that it's absolutely timeless. THIS is the kind of energy all bands need to play with.

4). Iron Maiden – “Piece of Mind

As I was writing this list, a buddy asked "Not 'Number Of The Beast'?" For me, 'Piece of Mind' tops them all. I love the songs, the mix, the cover art, the vibe, and most of all Bruce Dickinson's vocals. Dear lord, the vocals! Bruce is in top, top form on this record. "Where Eagles Dare", "Die With Your Boots On", "Quest For Fire", "Flight Of Icarus"...brilliant, one and all. Also, if every heavy metal fan in the world doesn’t know all the words to "The Trooper", I'd die of shock. Bruce is such a major influence on me in terms of how I want to be on stage and the kind of power I want to convey when I sing...and he's never been better than on 'Piece of Mind'.

3). Judas Priest – “Hell Bent For Leather

I got into Judas Priest with 'Screaming For Vengeance'. MTV used to air the "You've Got Another Thing Coming" video all the time when I was a kid and I loved it. As I got older, started playing in bands, and delving into their huge and growing discography, I ended up loving all eras of Priest (even the Ripper era, although to a lesser degree). It's 'Hell Bent For Leather' that makes this list, though. Rob sounds amazing on this album. He's been a favourite of mine and a huge influence for decades now, but his vocals on this album are stellar and full of fire. "Delivering The Goods", "Burnin' Up", "Running Wild", "The Green Manalishi", "Evil Fantasies", and of course the title track, all just explode with intensity. I love it!

2). Dio – “Holy Diver

'Holy Diver' is just such an essential album for me. Everything from the music, to the vocals, to the lyrics ("Ride the tiger!") just resonates with everything I love about heavy metal. Dio has such intensity to the way he sings and to his presentation. There's this undercurrent of crushing energy to everything he sings, whether it's the aggression of "Stand Up And Shout" or "Straight Through The Heart", or the enchanting falsetto on "Don't Talk To Strangers", or the uplifting swagger of "Caught In The Middle". Every note is delivered with unmatched sincerity and passion. When Dio sings, you believe it!

1). Black Sabbath – “Heaven And Hell

Seriously, could there be anything else? Dio gets double-billing on my list because he's Dio, and nobody else is. This album is absolutely, 100% flawless heavy metal. Not a single note is out of place. I even named the band "Final Sign" after the lyric in "Children of the Sea". It was my way of honouring not only the very roots and traditions of heavy metal, but of honouring Ronnie James Dio himself. The words "classic" or "iconic" or "legend" don't begin to do justice to this brilliantly amazing example of badass badassery. Hyperbole, be damned! This album IS heavy metal! BELIEVE IT!

 Final Sign’s latest record “Hold High the Flame” is available here

Band info: facebook