Close to the truth
The sun was beginning to set
Clutching the hammer
I entered the grove…"
One Word Review: Blissful
Hell Yeah! It is a gratifying feeling to discover music such as this in this day and age.
Those were my first thoughts back in 2007 when I discovered the album. Proving that it was not just a fad, Hell Destroyer still holds up today, 6 years later, and is as entertaining and goddamn brilliant as ever. Cage play Heavy Metal with so much spirit it makes me think of the glory days of Judas Priest, Savatage and Iron Maiden. No small comparison indeed but the band is clearly up for the challenge. On Hell Destroyer, their fourth album, Cage sound hungry and they do the absolute best with the material they have.
Creating a convincing concept album is no easy task, but Cage completes it with defiance and total conviction. The music and lyrics conjure vivid images which are backed by an imaginative booklet and I found it easy to get caught up in the apocalyptic story. The songs manage to move the story along smoothly while each still has enough strength to stand on its own. As much as I feel the urge to put several songs on repeat (Bohemian Grove comes to mind) as I listen to the album, I also find myself impatiently craving the next song and story twist so it's a constant battle of conflicting interests.
Feeding on a dynamic mix of heaviness, speed, aggressive guitar riffs, intense dual leads and a most convincing vocal performance, Hell Destroyer becomes addictive to the point of no return.
The best thing about Hell Destroyer is the delivery, which is over-the-top. Even the narrators do not suck in the short interludes which function as the only breathers on the album. With the music being delivered in such a forceful and convincing way any unoriginal elements, derived riffs and other such nitpicking is quickly forgiven. Cage wear their inspirations proudly on their sleeve and deliver their metal in a way that is like a breath of fresh air. This includes a great tribute to King Diamond as a special bonus track.
Elements of Harry Conklin (Jag Panzer), Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and even Eric Adams (Manowar) are embodied in Sean Peck's voice and his spirited delivery. His voice has impressed me like no other, since he sings with everything he's got and keeps a certain emotional element intact, in that way reminding me of Jon Oliva back on Gutter Ballet and Streets. Sean doesn't shriek, he sings with a stirring emotional edge.
Another highlight of the band is the guitar work. Without hesitation, the first comparison that springs to mind is Glenn Tipton and KK Downing's work on Judas Priest's Painkiller album. Anthony and Dave have a crunching sound and play with an aggressive vigor that enthralls and makes the guitar playing a major and entertaining focuspoint of the album. Superb.
Drums and bass are solid and tight.
Musically, Hell Destroyer opens the gates with a fiery scream and a furious riff. From here on there is no way back.
Scattered all over the album are countless reminders of why I love this genre of music so much. The main riff of I am the King, The incredibly captivating fist-in-the-air chorus of Fire and Metal, the varied Born in Blood which goes from wild aggression to atmospheric darkness and back again, Christhammer's superb bridge section and how the song showcases the way the music and vocals work together to underline and strengthen the lyrics just to name a few. Or what about the radical shift in tone as the Maiden'ish guitar solo appears in Rise of the beast, a song which, until that moment, has been pervaded by an intense, almost manic despair.
An open invitation to bang your head greets you from pretty much every song. I dare you to sit through Abomination without even a slight bobbing of head.
A few moments on the album references earlier works by other bands. I know I've heard that guitar melody at 3:03 in I am the King before, I simply can't place it. Help me out here! Abomination has a little reference to Slayer's Dead Skin mask in its opening notes and there are several others waiting to be discovered.
As the album nears its half point it also begins rising towards a pinnacle with the incredible trilogy of Rise of the beast, Bohemian Grove and From Death to Legend. All three are superior Metal hymns.
Realizing the story perfectly and painting a vivid image in the mind Bohemian Grove is my absolute favorite moment of the album. The way Sean sings those opening lines "Into the darkness, close to the truth..." is infinitely powerful. A timeless moment. Intensity reigns supreme in this song as a dark depravity is fully realized and added a manic sense of urgency by the dual guitar attack. When the ending arrives and it manages to kick it up one final notch it is hard not to get a wide smile across the face, even while a clear sense of dread lingers in the air. This song is pure chilling head-banging perfection.
The guitar melodies have a superb way of bringing out the atmosphere of the songs. Born in Blood around 3:08 and Metal Devil at 3:10 are just two examples.
One particular passage also needs to be played backwards, just be sure the listening zone is grandma-free when you do, since a heart attack would be probable.
I could go on and on about all the things that make this album fantastic but I will leave the rest for your own discovery.
Hell Destroyer feels like an album that has been lovingly crafted and perfected down to the very last note. Everything fits together and feels right. Several songs still give me the same adrenaline rush as when I listened to them for the first time several years ago, and I do not see myself ever tiring of the album.
Bottom line: If you like Heavy Metal, then you want to support Cage and buy Hell Destroyer. It is available on their website.
On a final note, Sean Peck is currently involved with none other than Ross The Boss, Rhino, Stu Marshall and Mike Davis in a new band called Death Dealer. Their debut album is to be released mid-2013. Check out their website for more information.
Written By Steen
Online: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I Am The King
Friday, August 16, 2013 - Anthony paradis
Beautifull write up , of my top 5 metal release of all time. Because the overtly Christian tone of the album it may very well be the best chritstian metal release. Here are my top 5. Godly metal albums. 5. Impelliteiri screaming symphony 4. Deliverance. Weapons of our warfare 3. Bride snakes in the play ground 2. Balance of power. Ten more tales and book of secrets 1. Hell destroyer
Friday, August 16, 2013 - Anthony paradis
I also must say the snog king diamond is a lot more of mockery then a tribute.