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Holy Dragons - 'Zerstörer' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/00/1c/1b/holy-dragons-zerstrer-28-1371257435.jpeg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 15, 2013    
 
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An enjoyable trad/power/speed metal romp.

Ah…Neat Records, remember them? That pioneering independent label, which was at the forefront of the NWOBHM scene 30 odd years ago! Their records were made on a shoestring budget and although many of their artists may have been found lacking in the originality stakes, you couldn’t help being won over by the boundless energy and enthusiasm on offer. Well fast forward to 2013 and the latest release from Holy Dragons ticks all the same boxes. Recorded on a limited budget – check; Low on originality – definitely, but there’s an endearing energy and conviction about the material on this album that makes it hard not to like. This ain’t NWOBHM either, it’s OWOKHM! No, it’s not some obscure Star Wars creature; it stands for the “Only Wave Of Kazakhstan Heavy Metal” as, for all intents and purposes, Holy Dragons are that oil rich, former Soviet Bloc country’s only heavy metal band.

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Having said that there’s a real NWOBHM, or more specifically Iron Maiden, influence running through this record from the dual lead guitar work right down to the Boy’s Own lyrics, which centre around a perceived World War III scenario and the Cold War. ‘Doomsday Angels’, ‘The Man Who Saved The World’ and ‘HL7442’ come across like Maiden cast offs; full, as they are, with those patented guitar melodies. Vocalist Ian Breeg – who makes his recording debut with the band on this release – is an acquired taste. He’s all too often to be found singing in that high Halford/Owens/Sheepers register but doesn’t have the voice to match and I must admit that it starts to grate on your nerves after a while. He’s not the greatest singer you’ll ever hear, but he’s decent enough and is at his best when he comes into the mid ranges, which I think would suit him much better next time round.

‘Project A119’ enters speed metal territory with a meaty riff and some neat story related sound effects. There’s still room for those Maiden guitar melodies though and a slightly shambolic Anvil vibe to add to the mayhem. ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ is from the Primal Fear school of muscular power metal and whilst ‘Cuban Crisis/Insomnia’ is a well structured attempt at a 15 minute epic, they just don’t have the savvy to really pull it off and, as a result, the song begins to drag.
So there you have it: not exactly original and definitely second division in terms of quality, but an enjoyable trad/power/speed metal romp nonetheless.

Alister Strachan

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