Released: 2017, Indie
Because of the massive global popularity of the female-fronted epic, symphonic sub-genre, I have been getting a lot of that type of material, new releases by new bands, sent to me lately. So, it is nice to give my ears a change of pace and revisit an album that came to me early this year in a different style.
When I first got the debut album by Temptation’s Wing’s, I falsely assumed that they might be another one of the above-mentioned type of bands. This is likely due to the similarity of the band name with that of Within Temptation. Upon closer inspection I saw a cool, old school rendering of a warrior holding the decapitated head of a medusa on the cover art. The album title was another clue, SKULTHOR EBONBLADE does not sounds all that gothic or romantic and lastly album titles such as ‘Lair Of The Gorgon Queen’ and ‘Treachery Of The Blind Raven’ told me that my initial assumptions were probably wrong.
After a couple of indie EP’s this American band has released their full-length, independent debut in March of 2017. This CD caught my ear right away and has been on a bit of a slow-burn all through the spring and summer. So I figured I better get around to reviewing this gem. Musically these guys fall nicely into another popular and growing genre, or rather a genre that is having a bit of renaissance, namely True Metal or just…classical Metal. Temptation’s Wings (along with bands like Portrait, Argus, Grand Magus, Visigoth all those bands, who all drew their inspiration from Manilla Road, Thor and Manowar etc,) are a throwback to a simpler ‘non-hypentated’ era of Heavy Metal.
This trio have put together a really cool album, which is a concept story about the titular character and his adventures. The lyrics of Micah are clear, power and discernable making it easy and fun to follow the story of the warrior. The albums chugs along from highlight to highlight, a nice driving pace with just relying on double-kick drums to maintain a sense of speed. The band works as a cohesive unit but there are still a few moments when the individuals get to shine, for example the subdued but awesome bass solo intro to the epic, 10-minute long cut ‘Witches Of Dredmoor’. The riffs are chunky and the songs are well-constructed, nothing too fancy, but memorable and most of all enjoyable.
I think that what it boils down to is, great songs, well delivered in a cool, conceptual package. You can’t ask for much more fro ma young band of Metal heroes who faithfully and loving help keep the flame alive and usher in a sound that never truly went away but for a couple of decades got buried under of heap of innovative, exploratory bands in multiple, fragmented sub-genres. For an old banger like me, hearing SKULTHOR EBONBLADE takes me back to the magic (in my mind anyway) of the mid-80’s when this sound was fresh and new and that is a sincere compliment to Temptation’s Wings.