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.
Ty Morn - "Last Villain Testament"
(Doc Gator Records, 2022)
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Melodic Power/Heavy Metal
10 tracks, Run Time 46:18
The progressive/melodic power metal band Ty Morn is the brainchild of British guitarist/bassist and songwriter Aron Biale. Ty Morn's second full length album, Last Villain Testament, was released in February 2022 by the Swiss label Doc Gator Records. I reviewed Ty Morn's debut, Istor, for this fine web site back in 2019 and enjoyed it quite a bit, so I was glad to hear from Aron again and learn that the band was still an active entity.
Istor was a studio project recorded without the benefit of a full "band." The core membership at that time was Aron on rhythm guitars and bass, Brazilian vocalist Rafael Gazal (whose extensive resume also includes Bulletback, Leviathan, and Cyclopean Walls, to name just a few) and drummer Per Mikkelson, with a half dozen guest guitarists dropping in to provide leads and solos. On Last Villain Testament, Aron has pared the lineup down to a traditional (and presumably much more manageable) five piece, retaining the services of Gazal and Mikkelson, and adding session lead guitarists João Corceiro (from Portugal's Okkultist) and Martin Szorád (of the Czech band Nucleon). The result is a much tighter, more cohesive sounding unit
It's been a while since I last listened to Ty Morn's debut album, but if memory serves, Istor was steeped heavily in the symphonic/fantasy metal sound similar to bands like Domine or Rhapsody of Fire. Last Villain Testament, on the other hand, seems to be a more straightforward, traditionally minded metal outing, which is just fine by me,
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On their label's web site, Biale had this to say about the new material: "there were various 'epic' influences on Istor, and this time I wanted to concentrate on shorter songs that sat between traditional metal and hard rock." He name drops such bands as Diamond Head, Alice Cooper, Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest as the major influences on the new material, all of which sounds promising, so let's press "play" on this 10 tracker and find out what Last Villain Testament is all about!
"Eyes of the Many Gods"
Last Villain Testament kicks off with the thunderous opener "War of Nations," a fist-raising call to arms that brings to mind the German power metal mavens Primal Fear. In fact, vocalist Rafael Gazal sounds quite a bit like PF's legendary screamer Ralf Scheepers on this track. The awesomely titled "Hellastryke" has a nice epic/symphonic bounce to it but the shredding guitars and thudding bass work bring the heavy most admirably.
"Eyes of the Many Gods" is built on a chugging, pleasantly head-bangable rhythm and leads into the shred-fest "Wherever Demons Roam," and "Come Feed Us Night" is firmly in Judas Priest territory (it would have fit nicely on Priest's Firepower).
"Firenado" may sound like the title to a cheap SyFy Channel disaster movie, but its layers of scorching guitar and keyboard interplay flow like hot lava, so it's aptly named. "Compliments of the Wolf" sounds like something from one of the recent Helloween albums, and the all-men-play-on-ten "The One" brings in some major speed metal influence. It's also the longest track on the CD at just a hair over five minutes. The bass-heavy "Lifting the Curse" and triumphant crunch of "Warlock" bring the album to a satisfactory close.
Summing It Up
Last Villain Testament is a well played, passionately sung, and spotlessly produced blend of vintage metal styles, sure to please fans of old school melodic metal like Priest, Maiden, Helloween, Primal Fear, the NWOBHM, and so on. It definitely represents a step up for Aron and Ty Morn. Fans of the Istor record won't be disappointed, and if you've never heard the band before, then this is a fine place to get on board.
For further information on Ty Morn and Last Villain Testament, you can check out some tunes on their Bandcamp page and keep up with their current doings via their official Facebook, Last Villain Testament CDs and vinyl are available from Doc Gator Records' official website. Check'em out, and if you like what you hear, be sure to spread the word. Support underground metal!
© 2022 Keith Abt