I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Peacemaker, "Concrete and Terror"
Brutal Planet Records, 2018
Genre: Traditional Heavy Metal
10 tracks / Run Time: 39:56
Peacemaker is a new four piece heavy metal band whose debut album, Concrete and Terror, was released in September 2018 on Brutal Planet Records. All four band members are seasoned metal scene veterans with some impressive credits under their studded belts, but vocalist Ronny Munroe is likely the best known of the quartet thanks to the four albums he recorded with Metal Church between 2004 and 2013. He has also performed with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and released several solo discs. Peacemaker's lineup is filled out by guitarist Scott "Rif" Miller of Tango Down, drummer B.J. Zampa of House of Lords and Obsession, and bassist R.C. Ciejek, who has jammed with Anthrax's Joey Belladonna and in Munroe's solo projects.
The record-label hype sheet that accompanied Concrete and Terror stops just short of calling Peacemaker a "supergroup," which might be overselling them just a little bit... but nonetheless, this foursome has delivered an impressively tight, crunchy collection of old school, meat 'n' potatoes heavy metal tunes that should appeal to fans of latter-day Judas Priest and Accept. Sharp eared listeners may also detect some of the sinister feel of early Savatage (which reminds me... are we to assume that this album's title is an intentional nod to the lyric "down in the dungeons of concrete and terror..." from Savatage's classic "The Dungeons Are Calling"?) and a pinch of over the top guitar shred ala Vicious Rumors. In short, if you like metal that's heavy and melodic, yet still has a healthy dose of nastiness & bite, Concrete and Terror should be right up your street.
A snarling scream kicks off the opening track "Blood Lust," which quickly settles into a nice heavy groove that sets the tone for the nine tracks that follow. The auto-racing inspired "Big Block" is next, and its high-energy power metal pummeling sounds like it could have come from one of Primal Fear's early albums. The album's title track starts out all moody and foreboding before kicking into a full-on metal gallop. Munroe's vocals reminded me a lot of Tim "Ripper" Owens here. "Insanity Speaks" and "Kill Love Sin" both chug along at a nice grinding tempo, then at the album's mid point Peacemaker takes a brief break from the brutality to bring us a nice acoustic ballad. "Endless Dream" is reminiscent of Skid Row's "I Remember You," and it gives Munroe the chance to show off the impressive "soft" side of his vocal arsenal. Things don't stay mellow for long, though because it's followed by the speedy, riff-laden "Jane Slain," which resembles an amped-up Dokken or W.A.S.P.
By this point, I feel that I have to give special mention to the very impressive guitar work of Scott Miller. I wasn't familiar with his playing before I heard Peacemaker, but after listening to this album and also checking out some songs by his other project, Tango Down, on YouTube, it sounds like this guy is a name to watch out for. He's got a whole lotta metal in him screaming to get out! The combination of Miller's shredding capabilities and Munroe's chameleon vocals makes Concrete and Terror a record with plenty of ear candy packed into its nooks 'n' crannies.
The thumping "Me Enemy" (the longest track on the album, at just a hair over six minutes) and the crunchy "Social Suicide" lead into the album-closing "The Bomb," which speeds things up to near-thrash metal territory around the choruses, making it the heaviest song on the disc and ending it on a high note.
"Concrete and Terror"
Summing It Up
Peacemaker obviously weren't trying to re-write the heavy metal rule book with Concrete and Terror, but it's a solid, satisfying listen. Fans of well constructed traditional HM with just the right amount of grit 'n' grease should give it a spin. If you want to know more about Peacemaker, say hello at their official Facebook page.
I'm not sure if this is intended to be an ongoing project, or if Concrete and Terror is a one-off release, but I certainly hope Peacemaker continues because I'd definitely be interested in hearing more material from these guys. Keep bringing the heavy, fellas!
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© 2019 Keith Abt