Nima : Ever since the release of their self-titled 2003 debut, Grecian Battleroar has been one of my favourite epic heavy metal bands. The following ‘Age Of Chaos’ was already a huge step forward, and with the third record ‘To Death And Beyond’ the band became undeniable and couldn’t fail anymore in my eyes.
With ‘To Death And Beyond’ Battleroar closed a trilogy and with that also a chapter in their career. It’s been since long years since, but the new record and the new chapter ‘Blood Of Legeds’ is finally a fact. And my god have I been looking forward to this. Of course I was curious whether the years of silence had had an influence on the music and the sound, but also due to the fact that the vocals in Battleroar nowadays come from none less than one of my favourite metal vocalists, Gerrit Mutz (Sacred Steel a.o.).
Utterly excited and enthusiastic I start on the musical journey, and as soon as the album takes off with ‘The Swords Are Drawn’ after the beautiful acoustic intro, ‘Stormgiven, I find myself fully focused and the head starts banging on the delightful heroic epic heavy metal, and it is immediately audible that Battleroar – fortunately – hasn’t changed the musical course. The general sound is just a bit sharper, which fits perfectly to Mutz’s voice. This track simply has everything that Battleroar needs to have. The influences from bands like Omen, Cirith Ungol, and of course Manilla Road are again fully present, and thanks to Mutz’s typical vocals the comparison with Sacred Steel is undeniable.
After the tasty up-tempo opener the pace drops a lot and with every following track it becomes more obvious that the band has chosen for a heavier, more melancholic and more epic approach for ‘Blood Of Legends’. The majority of the songs are slow and mid-tempo. Some of the keyboard parts even remind me of the well-known Bathory’s ‘Hammerheart’ atmosphere! Don’t get me wrong though, because everything is still outmost Battleroar and there is no lack of up-tempo headbangers, but in general the material on this record has turned out slower and more dragging that the previous works. And exactly for that reason ‘Blood Of Legends’ is a bit harder to digest than the previous works and needs more, and more focused listens in order to reveal itself. With the first few listens the album seems to have trouble taking off and due to its dragging character sounds a bit tedious. Thanks to the good, clear and contemporary production the album does have a rather accessible sound, making sure the music comes into its own well. With each new listen the music grows stronger and at a certain point don’t let go anymore. Each song is a highlight on its own and has everything you can expect from Battleroar and a band in this genre. And believe me, it is more than worth it to give the album the time it need to grow, because this simply is top-notch old-school heavy metal and a must for every fan of this genre.