Review: “Ascend To The Throne” by Saints Of Death

Originally starting out as a Motorhead tribute band, Vancouver Canada quartet Saints of Death are an outfit with a unique selling point – they have two bassists in their ranks. Inspired by the Mexican folklore of Santa Muerte (Spanish for Holy Death), the band are fronted by vocalist and eight-string bassist Twan Holliday, a beast of a man standing at 7 feet tall. He’s someone you may be familiar with without realizing as he has numerous acting credits for movies including American Mary (2012), The Devils Ground (2009) with Darryl Hanna, Stan Helsing (2009) which was Leslie Nielsen’s last movie and Catwoman (2004) with Halle Berry to name but a few. He’s also been in numerous TV shows and been a Pro-Wrestler for over decade. He’s joined in Saints of Death by five string bassist Juan Helluva, guitarist Ashley Blue and Christopher James on drums, all of whom are scene veterans having appeared in the likes of Snaggletooth, Strapping Young Lad, Farewell to Freeway, Tides of Honor to name but a few and it has been 5 years since their debut 2015 self titled EP.

A haunting eerie opening in “Call Of The Kings” blends the cheap horror film synths with some buried electronics that you might expect to hear from a band like Kissing Candice before bursting into album title track “Ascend To The Throne” flies off in a completely different direction. Crossing a Power Metal styled lyrical narrative with Holliday’s Randy Blythe esq vocal style and some galloping Groove Metal is probably the last thing you’d expect from the opening cut given the introduction. It’s an absolute ripper of a cut with Hollday’s screaming “Stand and fight or fall” being the ultimate call to arms. Continuing down that line with “Watching Me Die” which introduces a solo into a sound rooted in the early 90’s and with the likes of TripleMurder also showing a nostalgia for the period with their current music, it seems a revival is on the cards. “God Can’t Help You Now” offers your classic mid tempo chugging riff with a little nuance in the turn around but it’s James’s kit work that impresses above some of the dirge laden sounds before Blue rips into an absolute face melter of a solo. It maybe nothing you haven’t heard before and it may not be pushing any boundaries, but it doesn’t need to because what Saints of Death have here is an album that is instantly familiar and a fine listen. If you’ve heard their debut self titled EP, “Ascend To The Throne” is as if they haven’t skipped a beat in the five years since it appeared.

The atmospheric “Repentance” captures a Black Metal moment of majesty without having any of the raw edge to it while Holliday rants with a harsh spoken word that builds neatly into something that shows off some of that Motorhead influence for the final two minutes as it races away. The darkest cut lyrically, it focuses on that old adage that you can be your own worst enemy and perhaps shows that Holliday has struggled with mental health at times. Your classic Quentin Tarantino b-movie sound track song “You Can’t Run” is another Motorhead inspired ripper that flies along at punk speed with a Metal edge before the call to arms of “Soldiers of Metal“. A lyrical declaration of a love of Heavy Metal of all genres that calls together all fans to stand together, stylistically reminiscent to Anthrax in places that boasts a slick Thrash production, it’s a sure fire winner for the live show. There is no doubt that it could, given the right exposure and clever edit be a huge single and played in Metal and Rock Bars up and down the land. It’s a drinking song of the highest order in classic style [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Call of the Kings
  2. Ascend to the Throne
  3. Watching Me Die
  4. God Can’t Help You Now
  5. Repentance
  6. You Can’t Run
  7. Soldiers of Metal

Ascend To The Throne” by Saints Of Death is out 10th July via Head Rattle Productions Inc

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