Album Review: Blackhearth – The Wrath Of God

Album Review: Blackhearth - The Wrath Of God
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Within the many sub-genres of the heavy metal strata, we sometimes forget that there was a time when heavy metal was just that. Loud guitars, pounding drums, thumping bass and screaming vocals, metal was metal and proud of it. Spanish outfit Blackhearth bring that old school sound with a modern twist and in their second full length, they certainly go for it.

‘Wrath of God’ is a muscular, thunderous release which should resonate with fans of the likes of Judas Priest and Iced Earth. With the band driven forward over the past decade by their primary members Alex Hernández on guitars and drummer Asier Larrea, there’s plenty of quality and experience contained within the band. The influences are many, but melody and solid song writing remain at the core of all that is good on the album.

Vocalist Alain Concepcion can hit those Halfordesque high notes with ease, although his delivery often echoes more Ronnie James Dio and Jon Bon Jovi than the metal God himself. These comparisons are enabled by the song writing throughout ‘Wrath of God’, which has shades of Dio, Heaven & Hell and Black Sabbath as well as the powerful, explosive Priest elements. At times the music strays into semi-power metal territory, but on tracks like ‘Reaching the Shore’ and the sweeping Candlemass style ‘My Boneless Child’ the band expand their repertoire with dramatic movements and huge symphonic sections which heighten the impact.

Album Review: Blackhearth – The Wrath Of God

They can put the pedal to the floor as well, rocking out with a classic power on ‘Into the Unknown’, ‘Rotten to the Core’ and the title track, which also features guest vocals from Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, who takes the high pitch screams to an extra level or two.

It’s hard to deliver a truly great heavy metal album these days. Grand Magus are to me the epitome of quality in the old school. Blackhearth aren’t at the same level as the Swedes, but they certainly have delivered a solid album which is entertaining from start to finish.

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