Secret Chapter – Chapter One Review

Score8.5/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountryNorway
Runtime43:15
Release Date18 October 2019
Record LabelCrime

Sit down and strap the fuck in because Secret Chapter are going to take you on a nostalgic ride back to the 80s with their hyper-melodic, solo-rific debut, Chapter One. While the title isn’t all that creative, you can be damn sure that the music will impress. The vocals are high and full of layers, the rhythm section is tight, and the album offers an array of songs from glam to power metal.

While Chapter One treads a similar sound he likes of Skid Row, TNT, Europe, and 80s hair metal in general, it keeps things interesting by maintaining a modern heavy metal undertone. The production, layered instrumentation, and driving riffs combined with undoubtedly 80s choruses allow for the best of both worlds, and there’s no shortage of passion or aggression. A lot of 80s metal bands just sound like refined metal from the era (if that), but Secret Chapter manage to maintain individuality by putting their own musical spin on things.

And don’t even get me started on the solos because guitarist Jon Aarseth and keymaster Magnus Johansen lay down some serious facemelters. ‘Human Centipede’ (weird theme for a song, right?) delivers synth excellence, and notable guitar solos can be found in ‘Baptized in Ecstasy’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘One Night Aint Enough’. That being said, there’s not a solo on the album that doesn’t get my blood flowing.

The only thing preventing Chapter One from scoring higher is the fact that there are a couple tracks that seem like filler. ‘Sin City’ and the ballad, ‘Heavy Metal Love Affair’, while still good songs, don’t carry the same charm and flare that the rest of the tracks do. Their foundations are solid, but they’re considerably weaker than the rest.

Seeing as Secret Chapter shove 80s heavy metal in your face as shamelessly hard as possible, it’d be safe to assume that I harbour a deep love them. Not only that, but the sheer skill every bandmate possesses plays a key part in the unique sound they’ve achieved with Chapter One. Hopefully, there will be more chapters to enjoy in the near future.

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Secret Chapter Sign Onto Crime Records

Norwegian power metal newcomers Secret Chapter have signed a record deal with Crime Records. Their debut album, Chapter One, will be released before the end of the year, but as of now there are no further details.

To keep up with the new album developments from these melodic metallers, go follow them on Facebook!

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Iron Fire – Beyond The Void Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountryDenmark
Runtime44:08
Release Date8 Mar 2019
Record LabelCrime

Let it be known that Iron Fire is king in the land of heavy metal. After twenty years in the forge, not a single one of their records has lost any heat, and they’ve perhaps hit the pinnacle of their career in their ninth: Beyond the Void. Each member of the trio shines bright and their mastery and cohesion don’t go unnoticed.

I’m not exaggerating when I say the songwriting is fantastic. No song sets into one feel, and the molten-hot solo sections, especially in titular track, have some serious underlying grooves. Honestly, while Kirk Backarach’s soloing is awesome, the rhythm section underneath is just as good. I mean, it’s to be expected that bandmates that’ve been together for as long as Iron Fire has will play incredibly well with each other. The melodies, both in the verses and choruses, are catchy and fun without becoming monotonous as the album goes on. Additionally, the production quality is the same as usual: slightly lo-fi (but never messy) with the bass absolutely cranked in the best way possible.

While each song carries a massive amount of weight, some are just fucking colossal. ‘To Hell and Back’ begins with a spine-splitting double-time beat until we’re met with Martin Steene’s rough vocals (which I think are used just the right amount), and the momentum carries on until its end. Another bone-crushingly heavy tune is ‘Wrong Turn’. If the blasting chorus isn’t enough for you, the solo section will surely get the job done.

Iron Fire’s Beyond the Void is the best heavy metal album I’ve heard in a long-ass time. It roars and bellows until its final breath and will definitely have you coming back time and time again. These heavy metal veterans show absolutely no sign of slowing down, and it’s greatly reassuring to see these guys continuously producing nothing but excellence.

Iron Fire – Beyond the Void (Crime Records)

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