Nima : So far the Italian SpellBlast had managed to convince me with their melodic, typically Italian, folky power metal. On each album the band around guitarist Luca Arzuffi made a more professional impression and also took more distance from their happy folk elements. It has six years since the last long player, ’Nineteen’, came out, but at the end of March the silence was broken by the fourth long player, 'Of Gold And Guns'.
As the illustration on the cover artwork (and the new logo) suggests, 'Of Gold And Guns' is indeed all about the wild west; a completely different theme than what we are used to from the gentlemen. Musically we still have (typically Italian) power metal here. The influences of especially Elvenking and to some degree Blind Guardian and Edguy are still clearly audible here. We do hear a slightly heavier and at some points a more modern approach, but in general the album is more in line with the debut. I must say, however, that the band has managed well to create the atmosphere of the wild west with those folk tunes. In comparison with its predecessors, the new vocalist Dest Ring (a.o. Heavenfall) has a rawer voice and sounds a bit tougher, which fits well with the theme and the new approach. Although his voice is a matter of taste, he does stand his ground and manages to convince in general.
In terms of songwriting the gentlemen have opted for a slightly more compact and simpler approach in general, and there is nothing wrong with that, of course. However, the material is of a slightly lower level than what the gentlemen showed on especially 'Nineteen'. Not all songs are as equally convincing/memorable and all in all the album doesn’t really match its predecessors. Don’t get me wrong though, because I have definitely entertained myself with this record and songs like 'Wyatt Earp', the catchy chorus of 'Billy The Kid', 'Sitting Bull', 'Crazy Horse' and 'Goblins In Deadwood' (a new version of the great 'Goblin's Song' of the debut, with a typical "saloon" atmosphere) linger on for a long time. In addition to the original material, we also get a reasonably executed version of Bon Jovi's (how appropriate) 'Wanted Dead Or Alive'. Of course this does not come anywhere near the original, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Peculiar that the song is not mentioned anywhere. Anyway, all in all 'Of Gold And Guns' is a very respectable album, but the band has already proven to have more in them.