Drunk On Blood
posted on 8/2010 By:
In today’s world, everything old is new again. In a day when the biggest movies are based upon forty-year-old comic books or twenty-year-old television shows, that adage seems truer than ever.
In the metal world in the last however-many years, we’ve all seen a lot of revivalist acts, from Municipal Waste’s D.R.I. impersonation to Trivium’s embarrassing Metallica act. And for those bands intent upon recapturing yesterday, the hardest acts to follow are those most popular, most endearing, which also seem to be the most popular to copy—the thrash metal titans of Metallica / Slayer / Megadeth or the trad-metal pillars of Priest / Maiden / Dio. In an age wherein following acts is the quickest step to stardom (see: Coldplay / U2), at least when it comes to metal, there’s still some intangible factor that separates the men from the boys, the pretenders from the throne.
But still, everything old is new again—and North Carolina’s Colossus is banking upon that.
Drunk On Blood is the band’s second release after their debut, 2008’s awkwardly titled …And The Rift Of The Pan-Dimensional Undergods, which I’ve not heard. What’s on hand for this disc is straight-up classic metal: the guitar harmonies of modern Iron Maiden (Colossus also sports three guitarists), soaring vocal melodies, lyrical tales of zombies and such, all thoroughly soaked through with 3 Inches Of Blood’s gleeful smiling homage.
At five songs, Drunk On Blood is a short listen—at times, it’s a fun romp, but overall, it’s just another throwback that falls a hair's-breadth short of recapturing the first word of the glory days. The galloping riffs and soaring melodies are as solid as they are borrowed, and I admit that the entire affair is sometimes energetic, but never energetic enough to transcend its secondhand roots. Instrumentally, the band is very competent, but still nothing steps up, nothing stands out in any of their performances. Vocalist Sean Buchanan doesn’t have a super-powerful voice, and he avoids protracted falsettos—ordinarily, that’s a blessing, but when he does venture into the upper register, his voice holds strong and sounds surprisingly good, and I almost (almost) wish he’d push further into that most-classic of classic-metal cheesinesses. Mostly Buchanan sticks to a faceless baritone range, which is one of the band’s problems—classic epic metal demands a great singer, a distinctive singer. Think of Dickinson, Halford, Dio, Tate… Buchanan isn’t a bad singer, but he’s not in that godly league, not by a long-shot, and that’s the biggest factor that separates Colossus from their idols.
Beyond the competent-but-faceless vocals, Drunk On Blood is a likeable record that just never manages to transcend its influence. "Kill More Better" is the best track on hand, with its tale of zombie apocalypse, but even it’s just a catchy retread of the mid-1980s. Ultimately, these tunes are fun because of how you feel about Iron Maiden, Omen, Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, whatever… They’re not fun because of how you feel about Colossus, because, quite frankly, you probably don’t feel much about Colossus unless you’ve never heard those bands, because, if you have, you’d be too busy immediately thinking of Iron Maiden / Omen / whatever as soon as Colossus starts playing.
Here’s my advice, friends in Colossus: classic metal wasn’t always classic; it is "classic" metal today not solely because of how it sounded then or how it still sounds now, but because of how it felt back then. Take the spirit; take the trappings; expand upon them. Re-capture the feeling, not the sound, and you could be the next classic metal act. Until then, you’re a "classic metal" act re-enacting a bygone day, and until you put some new spin upon the old formula, you will forever be evaluated against The Number Of The Beast or Holy Diver or Battle Cry. And that’s a fight you cannot win. The path to importance is to improve, not imitate.
Everything old is new again.
But so far, everything old is still better.
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