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PHOENIX TITAN - Avatar of Fire

Release date September 27/19 (Inverse Records)

Out of Finland we have the debut full length from melodic metal outfit Phoenix Titan for consumption. Quite surprised by this one on a number of fronts, the band coming off like a veteran metal unit both in sound and in song-writing quality.

First track, 'Torment of Vanity' kicks things off with an infectious, upbeat melodic cut reminiscent of the criminally underrated Time Tells No Lies outing from NWOBHMers Praying Mantis. That is followed by a rumbling, bass-led track evoking the clean lines of Accept, while "Accused" continues the variation theme sporting an absolutely gorgeous melodic chorus that will stick in your melon for days. Glorious. "Ride For Vengeance" then goes full-blown, up-tempo trad metal reminiscent of Priest's recent Firepower release, before "Will I Ever Find My Peace?" takes us to the land of epic metal (evoking images of Manowar and Grand Magus).

You get the idea, a well-balanced, varied release delivered with conviction and talent that will appeal to trad metalheads and hard rockers. Kudos to vocalist Harri Ahola especially for a restrained performance at the mic. Instead of histrionically screaming to the heavens (like you know he is capable of doing), he uses his throat instead to further the depth of each track. Impressive to say the least.

That all said, I gotta call out one glaring weakness ... the lyrics. Sporting too many fantasy-based tracks about battling monsters, some of this had me in stitches. Take this gem from "Metal Shark" (damn Judas Priest for introducing the world to The Helion):

"With his rivets, tattoos as fins,

Leather vest and ripped-up jeans,

... There's nowhere you can go,

Meet your friends down below.

Metal Shark !!!"

All is ultimately forgiven though considering the quality of the music herein.


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