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.
Slander, "Resolution Defiance"
Style: Traditional heavy metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release: Stormspell Records, 2017
One of my favorite things about being a wanna-be music journalist/blogger is receiving occasional sneak peeks of upcoming music from generous bands and record labels seeking some promotion for their latest releases. Even after all these years, it still gives me a little thrill and makes me feel like a music-biz "insider" in a small way. It's even more satisfying when one of those sneaky peeks from a previously-unknown band totally, completely, utterly blows my freakin' doors off and leaves me asking "Holy crap, where have these guys BEEN all my life?" I will admit that this doesn't happen as much as it used to (because I'm an old, jaded, heard-it-all-before coot) but it happened when I first spun Resolution Defiance, the new album from U.K. trad-metallists Slander.
They may have been a new name to me, but after some quick Net research I learned that Slander have actually been kicking around the fringes of the underground scene since the early 1990s. They self-released an album called Careless Talk Costs Lives in 1991, but Slander's straight up traditional metal was utterly out of step in the Grunge era and they split up soon afterwards.
Drummer Andy Edwards and guitarist Andy Saxon-Lamb ended Slander's self imposed exile in the 2000s and reformed the band with new players. Since then they've released an EP of cover tunes and a single and now they're launching their first new full-length album in more than a quarter century. Better late than never, eh? Hopefully these tunes will receive a warmer welcome than their previous album did, because this is some quality stuff that deserves to be heard!
Slander - "Take You Down"
A brief, guitar-squealing intro called "Lazarus" kicks the album off and leads into the fast-paced opening anthem "Backs Against the Wall." By this point Slander has already made it clear that they're not here to screw around. Their stock in trade is tried-and-true, meat and potatoes metal, dripping with New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) influence and adding just the right amount of thrash-metal nastiness to give things an extra bite. Saxon-Lamb and fellow six-stringer Ian Snape are an excellent twin-guitar team in the tradition of Tipton/Downing or Smith/Murray (by the way, if you don't know who those names refer to... I'm sorry, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave this review immediately!) and vocalist Martin Moffwood is a strong, proud belter ala Maiden's Bruce Dickinson or Matt Barlow (Iced Earth/Ashes of Ares). "Machine Keeps on Rolling" has a nice chunky groove and a sing-along chorus and "When We Die" is another fists-in-the-air, all-men-play-on-ten anthem that will keep the heads banging. On the title track, Moffwood even adds a few unexpected high pitched screams to his vocal arsenal that would do the great Rob Halford proud. "Take You Down" is a catchy anthem with riffage that waves the flag for old school Denim and Leather-era Saxon and Angel Witch and "Juggernaut" has a nice Ride the Lightning-era Metallica vibe. When the thumping closing track "In a Dark Place" came to an end, I was bummed because the 37 minute album had blown by too quickly, I wanted to hear more!
Summing it Up
Resolution Defiance is the latest home run for the tiny-but-true retro-metal specialists at Stormspell Records, who have put out a bunch of great stuff this year. I've previously given raves to several other Stormspell releases in my column, including Stereo Nasty's Twisting the Blade, Nightstryke's Power Shall Prevail, and Blazon Stone's Down in the Dark (to name just a few), but they are ending 2017 on a high note with Resolution Defiance!
Slander's timing may not have been right during their initial go-round in the 1990s, but the 21st Century is more heavy metal-friendly and the band is packing some serious musical firepower with Resolution Defiance, so they've definitely picked the right time to mount a comeback. Old school rivet heads and diehard retro-metal maniacs around the globe will eat this one up with a spoon. Nice work, fellas! Hopefully we won't have to wait another 26 years for your next album. Bang thy head, hail and kill, keep it true!
Careless Talk Costs Lives - indie, 1991
(re-issued via Stormspell Records in 2011)
Get'em Slandered (EP) - indie, 2012
Ian's Metal Chain (split single w/Twisted State of Mind) - indie, 2013
Resolution Defiance - Stormspell Records, 2017
© 2017 Keith Abt