Take five vampires who've decided the London Heavy Metal scene is now the place they can finally show their unearthly, immortal talents to unsuspecting audiences, add some great Metal riffs that Maiden and Saxon would be proud of, and stories of the fighting on their fabled World War Two Stuka Squadron. Metal it seems is the only thing that distracts these Lords of the Undead from their lust for blood or the divebombing Stuka.
For all the cliches, actually its bloody (he he) good stuff. A night out with the Stuka Squadron is a real show (however low budget), and well worth the effort. Their debut album showcases favourites from the live show such as the immortal eponymous 'Stuka Squadron': an outstanding track that first grabbed me by the throat from a cover disk of Classic Rock.
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Cheap theatrics aside, its damn good Metal. 'Tales Of The Ost', with its anthemic chorus and 'On The Volga Bridge' are stand out epics that take you on a fantastic journey, whereas 'We Drink Blood' stupefies with predictable silliness, with a tongue firmly planted in its cheek!
Where the record (and live show) lets itself down on occasion perhaps is the limited vocal range of James 'Duke Fang' Begley, but with a few virgins sacrificed to the alter this may well improve with experience (or just eat another vampire and take their power!).
Most songs conform to a rhythm that chugs away, and has nods to NWOBHM classics by numbers and Duke Fang regales us with stories from the Front. 'Lovecraft' builds to a climax, and shows influences that inspire the rest of the album, but has a lighter tone. Fleshed out by a soundtrack of WWII, it's a well trodden path!
'Zabulon's Inferno' live has many transitions that bring the show to a close with plenty of blood letting, and the guitars certainly do the talking. Its bestial, and comic at the same time. Gravedigger, Lord Pyre and the prolific George Gt Stergiou's musical talents battling with the guitars with more than a passing nod to Maiden et al is where really the backbone of the group is at!
My advice is check them out wherever they are playing near you, and indeed (or I'm not sure wisely!) a prolific tour of places near and far including ermm... Germany beckons in 2012.
The band are certainly getting great exposure. Although stay away from the sunlight lads..!
All in all, it's a great opening gambit that has many nods to the past near and far, and surely as these reawakened Lords of the Undead get more used to equally blood sucking music industry, it can only be theirs to take by storm.
In a world where Viking Metal and Folk Metal and indeed 40s Battle Metal with Sabaton has shown the way, surely Vampire World War II Metal must be next. More power to them.