Album Review: Elegant Weapons - Horns for a Halo
Elegant Weapons - Horns for a Halo will be released on May 26th 2023 via Nuclear Blast Records.
An all-star lineup consisting of veterans of the metal world, (Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest), Ronnie Romero (Rainbow/Vandenberg/Michael Schenker Group), Dave Rimmer (Uriah Heep) and Christopher Williams (Accept)) Elegant Weapons present their debut album Horns For A Halo. Embodying the spirit of the likes of Dio, Pantera and Judas Priest, guitarist Richie Faulkner says:
“It's a mix of JIMI HENDRIX, PRIEST, SABBATH, solo OZZY and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, but with a lot of melody, sort of old school and modern at once if that makes any sense, and actually down-tuned a whole step. The Marshall Plexi basically does one thing, but you’ve got to crank it to 11 for it to have that distorted sound. It hasn’t got a lot of bells and whistles on it or different channels and effects. It basically does one thing and does it very well. But again down-tuning creates more of a modern sound, and by using the classic sound of the Marshall Plexi, you get that juxtaposition, that contrast. All told, there are a lot of guitar solos and the songs are on the heavier side. And even though there’s a lot of melody, it’s still going to shake your bones."
The record opens with 'Dead Man Walking' which showcases Faulkner's intricate riffage and Romero's crisp and clean vocal range; a steady gallop of classic heavy metal with a modern twist before launching in to stunning solos and soaring melodies. 'Do Or Die' bursts in to life with an in-your-face guitar solo and frantic drumming. A great balance between rapid-fire speed metal and classic 80s heavy metal groove carrying crisp and powerful vocals. 'Blind Leading The Blind' is a considerably slower track compared to its predecessors with it's mid-tempo glide but it more than makes up for it with its catchy hooks and heavily impassioned groove.
'Ghost Of You' is the closest the record gets to a ballad. A mellow, blues-tinged track which is very dramatic and emotive in nature with absolutely beautiful solos and stunning vocals. Faulkner has explained "that one is about a memory, or a ghost of a lost love. But that's as acoustic as it gets." 'Bitter Pill' takes a nosedive straight back in to the riffy, groovy epicness with a grungey edge. A crowd pleaser for sure and one which will get the fans chanting their hearts out. 'Lights Out' is a cover of UFO's original hit and one that does the track every bit of justice and more. Breathing new life in to the song instead of emulating it, this definitely showcases the band's muscial prowess.
The title track hits hard and doesn't hold back in the slightest, it's dirty, soaring and layers the groove down thick and nasty; not to mention more soaring solos. 'Dirty Pig' is everything you would expect from a track of this name. A mid-tempo stomp with a subtle build with thunderous drums and smooth riffage. Romero's vocals alternate between silky smooth cleans and a harsher rasp with heavier screams in parts. But what really stands out about this track is the use of synthy moments halfway through to really build the atmosphere. 'White Horse' is quite the journey; at 7 minutes long, the band are pushing forward with their closing moments to show they still have the firepower and what a gallop this track is. Finally, the record's closer 'Downfall Rising' is a Sabbath-rich bluesy riff fest of stomping beats and heavy shredding. Romero's vocals soar and scream but maintain their velvety glory all at the same time. Ridiculously catchy but with a slightly eerier element at times compared to the previous tracks; and yes, yet more solos flying all over the place.
If you're looking for a proper old-school 80s heavy metal record with a modern approach from an all-star lineup that provides catchy hooks, unlimited solos, lightning riffage, stomping rythm and ridiculously addictive vocals, Elegant Weapons have you covered.
Release Date: May 26th 2023
Released By: Nuclear Blast Records
FFO: Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Dio
1) Dead Man Walking
2) Do Or Die
3) Blind Leading The Blind
4) Ghost Of You
5) Bitter Pill
6) Lights Out
7) Horns For A Halo
8) Dirty Pig
9) White Horse
10) Downfall Rising