Germany’s Stallion hit the scene just as the whole retro metal wave exploded, and their output over the past seven years has been both strong and on-the-money. Their previous full-length album, 2017’s From The Dead, showed the band maturing and settling into their role as modern heavy metal heroes, and Slaves Of Time cements this fact.
At 43 minutes clock-in time, the record is at the perfect length for classic metal – short enough to keep your attention, and just long enough for the band to stretch their musical legs. Opener “Waking The Demons” doesn’t hold back in the slightest, ripping through pure speed metal a la early Metallica and Anthrax, with a tasty dash of Exciter and Razor, and this sets the template for the rest of the album. “Merchants Of Fear,” “All In,” and “Kill The Beast” are some of the best material that they’ve ever written and performed, and there’s not a weak track in sight (something that a fair whack of retro bands fail to achieve).
Buried square in the middle of the record is “Die With Me,” which may scare away a few of the titanium rivetheads that require fast, molten metal at the fastest possible pace ALL THE TIME. This song is pure ‘80s epic power balladry at its most unashamed and confident, easing the emotions out of the listener with tenderness and heart, but still rockin’ hard. The construction builds and builds with layers of mood and metal-might to a face-melting, horns-in-the-sky, arms-around-your-pals burst of feelings, all thrust to the fore with guitar wizardry. It is here where we can truly see the musicians bonding and forging forward with ease and badass intention.
My only minor gripe (and the only one that I’ve had since first hearing the band) is that Pauly’s vocals haven’t progressed in any way, and still come across a little one-dimensional. That’s not to say that he doesn’t hit the lights when the machine is roaring, but there’s very little in the way of dynamics or flow, which is highlighted most in “Die With Me,” where there is no room to hide. Here’s hoping that he’ll work on this going forward, as it would push the band to the next level instantly.
Yup, it’s pure speed metal with heart that will whisk you off in a time capsule and give you big ol’ high fives. Slaves Of Time is Stallion’s finest album thus far, and one of the strongest retro metal records heard in recent times. Bang thy heads, legions!
Slaves Of Time Track Listing:
01. Waking The Demons
02. No Mercy
03. Time To Reload
04. All In
05. Brain Dead
06. Die With Me
07. Merchants Of Fear
09. Kill The Beast
Run Time: 43 minutes Release Date: February 28, 2020 Record Label: High Roller Records