Review: “Metal Constructions VII” by Marauder
A twelve track semi conceptual opus is the promise from Greek Traditional Heavy Metal purveyors Marauder for “Metal Constructions VII” a band long known for their indulgences in both Speed and Power Metal. Tackling themes of hardship and despair in a testament to the deep-seated powers of Man to weather the oncoming storms and rise above, this new offering maybe familiar to fans of the bands seminal 2000 album “1821” which found the band in similar territory although in a different conceptual area. The new record marks the bands first with new vocalist Tassos Krokodilos (Blind Justice, Hesperian Opus, Spitfire) and drummer Nick “Yngve” Samios with guitarist pairing Andreas Tsaousis and George Sofronas ever present since the band started out in 1990…
…it has to be said that the pairing of Nick Samios with long-standing bassist Thodoris Paralis has breathed new life into Marauder, giving them a noticeably stronger rhythmic spine than was present on their last album, 2016’s “Bullethead“. First track proper “Strike Back Again” sets the tone with the band offering a blend of Megadeth venom and storytelling in the vein of German Power Metallers Wizard, leads flying in all direction from the very start, not to mention a couple of blistering face melting solos. Its the kind of thing you can just imagine Trivium frontman and guitarist Matt Heafy cracking a smile in enjoyment if he should hear it. Vocally Krokodilos is a great fit for the style music, offering a few cheesy moments on “Shout It Out” in a nod to the 1980’s Hair Metal scene but cleverly keeping it classy and not going overboard. The key difference here is the modern production to an Old School sound which gives the band a satisfying crunch without taking away any of the nostalgic qualities so you have an air of familiarity while the cuts still sound as fresh as if they were baked in the oven this morning. “Under Her Spell” is electrifying, the riffs raise the hairs on the back of the neck, dispensing with any cheesy ballad that you might have imagined raising its ugly head given the song title and instead delivering yet more blistering Metal in fine fashion. That new rhythm section pairing proves its worth on cuts like “Nightfall“, driving forward the sound with more edge and pushing the main riff from what could be a Hard Rock slump into Traditional Heavy Metal territory, skilfully avoiding the soft centre to an album that we all despise (well, some of us do, some live for that stuff. Guilty pleasures? who are we to judge?). “Erase” then continues to build the mountain with some stuccato rhythms underneath a rip roaring piece of lead work, the choral moment giving the whole thing an ethereal quality which is absolutely sublime.
Marauder have done and are doing what bands like The Raven Age or Threering seek to do in their career and given the success of the later it only serves to confirm the relevance of “Metal Constructions VII” to a current audience. Fist pumping anthem “Rock Fighters” is a classic driving number, the kind of thing you might expect to hear on a juke box in a Biker Bar or Metal Pub except heavier in the riff department than the lyrical narrative would have you believe. That makes for an interesting combination, much like Killswitch Engage covering Dio and beefing up a classic but with an original work. “The Iron Mask” follows suit in similar style the solos once again igniting the blue touch paper and bringing things to life with a flamboyance other musicians simply wouldn’t be able to carry off. Make no mistake, this album is the work of musicians who have dedicated their lives to the art and that is something which shows in the quality of this collection. Lyrically “Holy Bible” takes a risk in the sense that it speaks of the power and guidance offered by the book and that nails the bands colours to the mast religiously, following it up with the pure Power Metal themes of “Never Die” is something of a saving grace, especially when the obligatory lightening solo is received by the ear drums. Finishing with the epic “Father” that lifts from an acoustic base to the bands full power makes for a majestic moment, the band soaring across the skies effortlessly [8/10]
2. Strike Back Again
3. Shout It Out
4. Under Her Spell
7. Rock Fighters
8. The Iron Mask
9. Holy Bible
10. Never Die
11. The Son of God
“Metal Constructions VII” by Marauder is out 10th March 2023 via Pitch Black Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.