Vatican – ‘March Of The Kings’ (Pure Steel Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 04:00

Cover VATICAN March Of The KingsI believe they call it a “cult thing”. Who “they” are, well, that’s beyond me… as is the whole “cult” thing, especially in heavy metal terms: unless you are one of those who believes that HM, in itself, is a cult… But, leaving that aside, US crew Vatican apparently are a band that fall very firmly into the “cult” category. The reason for this? Well, the reason proferred forth goes something as follows: having originally formed back in 1986, they released four demos before disbanding in 1990, only to resurface again in 2011, releasing a compilation of the aforesaid demos three years later. Now, we wind the clock forward a further three years and we are offered this, the Cleveland trio’s debut full-length album…

 

‘March…’ is an album very much of the time era which spawned the band: good old-fashioned thumping heavy metal, very much in the vein of contemporaries such as Armored Saint and Metal Church.   Vatican’s lengthy interruption to their musical career of course means they are a long way behind similar outfits and have a lot of catching up to do – but I’m not sure that this is their desire, as ‘March…’ sees them seemingly content to mine a metallic vein that has been by and large exhausted over the last three decades…

 

Now, that is not meant as a criticism, as I love a bit of the old “retro” stuff as much as the next reviewer – and this is the sort of heavy fucking metal on which I grew up and formed me as the metallian I am today. And ‘March…’ most definitely is an album which takes me back to those glory years, when metal was raw and enervating and focussed on just being as loud, as fast, as neck-breaking, as… well, as heavy and as metal as it could be. The days when we all had long hair (I know, some of us still do), when we could drink like there was no tomorrow as we partied all night and when we didn’t care that our ears were bleeding because we’d had our heads stuck in a bass bin for hours on end. That is the feeling this album evokes.

 

In addition to the US counterparts already mentioned, Vatican draw strong comparisons with the likes of Accept and our own Judas Priest, especially in Brian McNasty’s vocals (yep, there’s another Eighties throwback right there…). The rhythms are solid, the bottom end is big, and Vic Vatican’s guitar work is just what you would expect it to be – big melodies, accomplished riffs and tremelo-filled finger-shredding solos galore.

 

This is heavy metal as it should be played. It’s pure, it’s simple, it’s honest and displays plenty of passion for the craft its creators ply. It’s decent stuff and I imagine the songs work brilliantly live. It’s not particularly imaginative, indeed it’s very formulaic in places - but sometimes that’s what works, and it definitely does on this occasion. A little gem worth unearthing.

 

‘March Of The Kings’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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