Released: March 2018
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh
When you open YouTube and see a band called Weaponlord you have no choice. You must check it out. When the lead track is “Requiem… Dies Irae” (only Verdi didn’t do it this way) you can’t help but be taken in.
The cover says Heavy Metal and that sure is what you get. The band seems to throw themselves at the songs in a somewhat Devil may care fashion that suggests they were either influenced by the New York Dolls directly or by acts who followed them like Twisted Sister or Mötley Crüe.
That enthusiasm is a wonderful thing as it has been missing from Rock for far too long after we were all invaded by Grunge and the Miserable-Rockers that shuffled after; where every band tried harder to be more disinterested than the one before. Bah. Who needs that, life sucks enough already without entertainments being un-entertaining. Leave that to hipsters who like being bland. I wanna ROCK!
This is a first record with the band appearing to have made the record themselves in their own studio, Hangar 12 (which I take to be a practice room someone fitted a computer to). Bootstraps, I like it.
The downside is that the record is a bit rough around the edges if you are used to that over precise & samey Metal thing that has been the children of the corn norm for a decade or two.
Upside, as I said, is that this record is unique. The guitars don’t sound like they came from the same sound tank as everyone else (SM-57 on a Celestion Custom 12 speaker with all the mids scooped out). The overall sound is raw and lively. It sounds like a mid-late 70’s mix which means it sounds natural. And raucous.
The band has a girleen as bassist and second singer! Who do they think they are, Bolt Thrower? It’s horrifying I tells ya.
Actually no, it is great. Just a surprise as overall the band comes across with that masculine energy of a Metal band, dare I even whisper it, Glam Metal. And girls were rare indeed in that environment as anything more than candy.
Girls looking girly are all over some Metal styles but it is rather nice that Leona essentially is one of the lads. Her gender isn’t an issue or selling point, the music is.
The music. You are no doubt listening right now. If you know your Metal at all then you don’t need my 2-cents. If you don’t then you may be concerned that your ears are going to melt down the sides of your head. They won’t. It is just a very slightly different language. Take something like Beach Boys “Surfin’ USA”, amp it up, play it faster, and squeal like a stuck pig in an alley in LA and you understand Metal passably. Anything more is detail (the Devil lives there so best you stay away).
The songs vary a little which is good but sometimes it makes the band just a wee bit harder to pin down. Are they denim outsiders on the streets of Seattle (Mötley Crüe), social commentators (Sanctuary) or aspirants to the fantasy throne (Judas Priest)?
Songwriting could use a bit of a goose as while all the tracks are good, there isn’t a standout single that could have run on FM radio against Bon Jovi. The band may not want to conquer mainstream (and I wouldn’t blame them) but some more straight-out Pop songs wouldn’t go astray. Being able to walk away singing a song or two from the record is really important. It makes a boy want to come back to this record, this band, as opposed to it being a generic high I can easily substitute with any of those other bands I mentioned.
This record feels like slipping in on the ground floor of an elevator that could go real high (assuming it doesn’t collapse first). That is always exciting in itself. If Weaponlord can keep their “real” sound and develop more singable songs then they should do real well.