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Review: Dragonslayer - Dragonslayer

Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 69:27
Tracks: 16
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: May 3, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 2.78/5 (55.56%) (9 Votes)

Ever wonder why some bands get signed and release the most god-awful drek while other bands, with far superior material, toil in anonymity? I'll bet that's exactly what the guys in Dragonslayer were thinking back in the 80s (before the Internet, when the best way to get your music to the masses was via a record label deal). Hailing from the United Kingdom, Dragonslayer played the classic NWOBHM style and wrote songs that stand up with bands like Saxon, Diamond Head, Blitzkrieg, etc. But while those bands, and a multitude of others, went on to enjoy varying levels of success, Dragonslayer missed the longboat. After hearing this compilation of their demos and an EP, released by Shadow Kingdom Records, I can't for the life of me figure out why.

Dragonslayer features 16 tracks of pure, unadulterated 80s NWOBHM joy! Killers-era Iron Maiden is a pretty good reference point as to the style and sound of Dragonslayer, albeit with a less polished production (natch, considering these are demos). Singer Tony Mamwell spends most of his time in the mid range but occasionally drops down to an early-Rob Halford growl and once in a while throws a high pitched scream in for effect. Steve Morgan's Bass gallops like a Mongol horde riding across the steppes (check out "Run Like Hell" and you'll see what I mean). Most of the tracks are mid-paced with a couple of slower numbers like "Broken Hearts," which sounds eerily like Maiden's "Strange World," and "Lady of the Night." Tracks like the aforementioned "Run Like Hell," "I Want Your Life," "Satan is Free" and "Man in the Dark" are fantastic, with great riffs, super-cheesy 80s lyrics ("Satan is Free" features the line "Satan is HAPPY"!!! Come on, you couldn't get away with that today!!), catchy choruses, and that 80s "feel." It is obvious the band took pride in their writing as well as their playing. There are some lesser lights, but with a total of 16 tracks, you're bound to find several you like.

Dragonslayer's Dragonslayer is a reminder of the past, yet it still holds up today. Definitely for anyone who remembers going to the record store to root through the "imports" bin for unknown gems. Recommended.

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