ALBUM REVIEW: Greyhawk – Keepers Of The Flame

Seattle, Washington is known musically for its grunge scene and the legendary Jimi Hendrix. However, metal masters GREYHAWK are putting Seattle on the map once more. Cross the threshold into another realm. A land of fantasy, dragons and wizards with Keepers Of The Flame awaits.

Gates Of Time is the best unreleased eighties’ fantasy themed movie score intro that was never released. Think of The Neverending Story and Labyrinth and you would not be far off.

Frozen Star features a glorious wail from vocalist Rev Taylor right from the beginning. It is a fast-paced power metal attack and sets the scene for the rest of the album.

Drop the Hammer instantly channels JUDAS PREIST and MANOWAR influences “feel the thunder flowing through your veins”. It is a banger of a track and features some blistering guitar solo work from both Jesse Berlin and Enrico Marriuzzo.

Halls Of Insanity would not be out of place on any classic SAXON album and has elements of Strangers In The Night about it “in a heartbeat, just a moment in time…” It even reminds one of the heavier DEF LEPPARD’s tracks

The Rising Sign slows things down with a gentle yet beautiful guitar intro and some deep bass lines courtesy of Darin Wall. This one feels like it would not be out of place on any of the late eighties’ releases of ALICE COOPER sound wise. “what begins in ecstasy, must end in tragedy, once hailed as majesty then cast down with the thieves and the beggars”

R X R O is a chance for the band to demonstrate the instrumental prowess and features a great guitar battle between Jesse and Enrico whilst embracing each other’s skills. This breaks up the album nicely. Certainly, two highly skilled masters of their craft.

Don’t Wait For the Wizard jumps back in to the fray. Headbanging opportunities throughout and has some lovely descriptive lyrics. “Don’t wait for magic, don’t wait for truth, don’t wait for the wizard, cause the wizard is you!”implying that we are all capable of making our own magic.

Black Peak is an instant fist pounder. Rev’s delivery of the lyrics is not dissimilar to that of the late, great DIO  “the nightmare ends and the scene dissolves into the light, but still you fear the eyes of the thing that was born that night” and really does put you amongst the shadow of Black Peak.

Masters of the Sky is a powerful Power Metal themed track with choral elements and fantasy lyrics “arise you saints and sinners, you dreamers of the forbidden dreams” there is certainly hints towards the works of H P Lovecraft in this song

Ophidian Throne utilises a good use of alliteration in its lyrical content “serpentine shadows” &remember his majesty, reptilian royalty” and totally sets the scene of a wanderer coming to the end of their quest only to mutate into a Serpent King. “The poison sits in your bones, approach the ophidian throne” I am now curious as to whether there are any other tales to be told surrounding this adventurer in the band’s future.

Keepers Of The Flame brings the album to a close, with the use of weeping guitar pieces and apocalyptic elements. It is slower paced track than the other compositions on the album and is a poignant end to this glorious trip into a fantasy realm. Like returning to a well love fantasy novel, I look forward to returning to this world of epic adventure.

For the band’s second release, this is a beautifully told tale of a fantasy realm consisting of swords and sorcery. There are wonderful lyrics throughout accompanied by some sheer musical master craft. As a fan of the genre, I eagerly anticipate seeing GREYHAWK live in a future time and place to embark on a quest to behold the Keepers of the Flame in person.

For anyone that is a fan of Heavy Metal/Power Metal, this really should be the next album that you listen to.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Martin White

Keepers Of The Flame will be available to fellow adventurers on Tuesday via Fighter Records.

Find GREYHAWK on Facebook.

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