Fast forward to a few days ago, when I first started listening to this album by Canadian metal gang Medevil. The cover looked somewhat Old Man's Child-ish, which immediately aroused my attention. I know I wasn't dealing with a black metal band, after all, I read the biography before I started playing the album, but I was quite sure that this was going to be something qualitative. Something like Iced Earth maybe, another band that I like but always seem to forget about. Perhaps that's the problem I have with more modern metal bands; I forget about them because they don't take me back to a time when everything seemed to be easier.
Well, Medevil is different, but what would you expect from a band whose vocalist sounds quite similar to Udo Dirkschneider? Backed by extremely talented musicians, vocalist Liam drags all of us back into those early to mid-eighties. Not because his voice is alike Udo, but because his voice is so perfectly suited for this kind of old school thrash metal that the whole thing sounds like it's coming directly out of those plastic shelfs in the library. Just listen to opener 'Nightwalk' and you'll get sucked into the vintage-sound.
Fast paced, vicious riffs remind me of the very best of those old albums and I quickly start missing my long hair. 'An Empty Glass', for example, is a massive headbanger, perfectly capable of hypnotizing an entire festival audience, from young to old. Besides, there is some unbelievable guitar play in here, from flashing licks to almost psychedelic solos. There's also plenty of variation in tempo and atmosphere. Speaking about atmosphere, the brilliant ballad 'The Angel Of Rain' drives of a simple but awesome guitar lick, one that each and every post-rock band simply forgot to write. Too bad, now it belongs to the collective heavy metal scene.
One more thing I'd like to mention is the conceptual feel of the whole thing, probably triggered by the similarity in 'The Angel Of Rain' and the classic metal anthem 'A Sacrifice'. I miss that feeling in many present day heavy metal albums. Classics like 'Ride The Lightning', 'Peace Sells...But Who's Buying', 'Painkiller' or 'Breaker' were no mere collection of songs but a musical unity. Well, 'Conductor Of Storms' has that same feeling as those classics, something I can only applaud. This album is a gem, a must-have in every self-respecting heavy metal collection.