I like my Traditional Heavy Metal to be of either of two types; it should either modernize the genre and bring it into contemporary modes of production and execution or it should be incredibly dedicated to reproducing the old school style. Sadly, most trad metal falls in between those two approaches, attempting to produce something modern which calls back to the classics. This, invariably, fails and turns into a boring retread of cliches instead of a dedicated and convincing homage. But when the latter approach is embraced fully, like in the case of Lunar Shadow, Gatekeeper or Eternal Champion for example, the result is a great romp through what made heavy metal great to begin with. To that illustrious list we can now eagerly add Midnight Force.
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These guys, through their latest release, Dunsinane, channel the power and ferocity of the classic age of heavy metal. Think early Iron Maiden but spliced with the swagger of Motörhead. You can hear that swagger all over the second track for example, “The Scarlet Citadel”. The main vocals have that raspy, derisive attitude that made the late, great Kilmister so great. The high pitched shrieks littered throughout the track on the other hand, as well as the galloping bass and its relationship with the drums, scream the Iron Maiden influences. Even more so, the passage starting at around three minutes and a half minutes could well have come from Killers or The Number of the Beast except for, again, the main vocals’ unapologetic delivery.
Other tracks on the album are just as satisfying. Their chock full of riffs, solos and vocal passages that make no attempt whatsoever to gloss over the deep, true dedication that Midnight Force have to the early days of metal and to the power that still remains within that style. Dunsinane is a real pleasure for those yearning for that sound, alongside the already excellent releases in the past two or three years from this style. All hail metal!