posted on 12/2007 By:
Jesus! This album shreds! No, seriously, Jesus, you gotta hear this thing; Hell Destroyer is the kind of power metal album quite capable of blowing the beard right off a Disciple.
Okay, I’m not gonna spend much time talking about Christian metal here, folks. And to be perfectly honest, Cage ain’t exactly what I’d call a traditional Christian metal band. There’s nothing preachy being forced down our throats. No banshee wails of “JeeeesUUUUS!!!” akin to the Barren Cross days of yore. And any evidence of peaceful symbols such as chubby doves munching on olive sprigs have been soundly crushed ‘neath the boot of well-armed battle-angels amidst explosive clashes against the armies of darkness:
“Created from vengeance and sent down below - to slay them with lightning and steel. The blacker the evil, the stronger he grows - no mercy or fear does he feel! Light KILLS as he violently vanquishes hell. Blood SPILLS as Lucifer's legacy fell!”
So, if you’ve got issues with this sort of content, might I suggest you either, 1) slither on to the next review, or 2) lighten the fuck up. San Diego’s Cage happens to be one of the most promising American power metal acts in the business. Period. And I do mean American power metal here, folks -- the species built on aggression and sheer propulsion as opposed to the joyous bounce often found in the European variety. Hell Destroyer is like Ram It Down after bonging a Full Throttle energy drink. Like “Hail and Kill” being blasted on 11 as you leap upon a foe from horseback with a shiv between your teeth. This is POW!er metal in the truest sense of the word.
Twenty tunes clocking in at over an hour long, the fourth installment from this San Diegan troupe is a concept record whose story spans the time from Christ's crucifixion up to the point of an all out apocalyptic ho-down of hostilities between The Man Upstairs and The Beast From Below in the distant future. And you know damn well this is a band that’s fully equipped for the crusade at hand the moment Sean Peck’s screechin’ holler hits the speakers during the album’s short intro. Truthfully, every tune offered here has something any fan of the genre should be able to latch onto -- whether it’s the multitude of catchy choruses, the numerous wicked grooves (just try and sit still at the 20-second mark of “Born In Blood”), the finely crafted melodic lead noodlage (check the snuggly fretwork 2:37 into “Abomination”, and the outright Maiden attack 2:47 into “Rise of the Beast”), or the utterly pants-soiling vocal performance blazed forth -- Hell Destroyer is one of 2007's most lethal power metal records in terms of skull-hammering barbarity.
But as good as the whole of the work is, the spotlight is once again very wisely pointed in the direction of vocalist, Sean Peck. This guy’s performance on Hell Destroyer is absolutely tremendous. The kind of achievement that should honestly vault this feller to the top of the food chain as far as this genre’s concerned (and particularly within the US). He has a thorough command of an expansive range -- from Halfordesque screeches to deeper, rumbling croons -- and it’s all adeptly layered throughout the record in a variety of combinations to help deliver the broad spectrum of emotions conveyed through the album’s developing storyline.
2007 has seen a number of traditional metal bands releasing top-ten contenders, but the power end of the spectrum has been relatively quiet. There's been a few challengers (DoomSword, Symphony X, and Helloween, for example), but Cage has definitely delivered a paragon in spades with this release. If you count yourself a fan of aggressive power metal and have not yet been introduced to this band’s catalog, Hell Destroyer is a perfect place to begin. In fact, this is gonna be a difficult album to top. Definitely recommended.
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