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Release date: February 21, 2020 (Gates of Hell Records)

Out of Belgium emerge TerrifianT with their first full-length, a 36-minute, 8-song effort that will both amaze and perplex fans of traditional heavy metal. The amazing part comes from the fact that this is a well written debut album, with lots of catchy riffs, performed instrumentally in a professional manner. The perplexing part is that anyone allowed the vocalist, Lord TerrifianT, behind the mic with his endless, shrill yelping.

Things start out very well, with “Steel for Life”, an instrumental, military-style march that leads into the speedy “Devil in Transport”. But once his Lordship starts his vocal caterwauling, the listener is left wondering what this is all about. The next song, “Bed Queen” is more of the same, and when a deep, growling backing vocal barks out the title of the song in the chorus, surely most headbangers will be left thinking “why can’t the backing vocalist just sing the whole song”?

Guitarists ZZ Slop and Slime Valdi do a good job keeping things interesting, and the production of drummer Alcoloic is spot on, making him sound like a human, not a computer-generated drum machine. But the grating vocals are the only fly in the ointment: think King Diamond if he only used the higher octaves.

Surprisingly the final song, a cover of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” finds Lord TerrifianT actually altering his vocal style to include a more varied range beyond that of glass-breaking screech! If he could demonstrate more fully his ability to change things up on their next outing, this band might just go somewhere.

I like this album, but I am not sure if the vocals will ever grow on me. If you want to see if this band is for you, check out the excellent 7-minute plus “Iron Mountain”. These guys have potential….if….you know….


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