Album Review: Warlord – Free Spirit Soar

Album Review: Warlord - Free Spirit Soar
Reviewed by Lana Teramae

It’s totally normal for bands to break up and reform years later, right? Surprisingly, a lot of bands do that nowadays and Warlord are no different. Formed in 1981 by drummer Mark Zonder and late guitarist William J. Tsamis, their first studio album, ‘Deliver Us,’ was released in 1983. The follow-up, ‘And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun…’ (1984), came out a year later. After a massive hiatus, Warlord reformed in 2002 and released two more studio albums before Tsamis’ untimely death in 2021.

As a tribute to their founding member, the band are releasing ‘Free Spirit Soar’ on May 10, 2024 through High Roller Records. The album includes tracks that Tsamis was working on before his passing. “We wanted to finish these pieces of music ‘for Bill’ and the material we felt was certainly strong enough to inspire us to do so,” said vocalist Giles Lavery. The lineup that plays on ‘Free Spirit Soar’ includes Lavery on lead vocals, Eric Juris on guitars, Philip Bynoe on bass guitar, Jimmy Waldo on keyboards, and Zonder on drums.

Album Review: Warlord - Free Spirit Soar

The easiest way to describe Warlord’s sound is epic metal with lots of melody and hooks. Think modern Helloween. Opening track “Behold a Pale Horse” makes a grand entrance, thanks to the galloping drum intro from Zonder. His playing throughout the whole album is incredible with his tasteful fills, only enhanced by the raw tone of his drums. “Conquerors” has a thrash metal vibe going on, but the guitar melodies make the track very accessible. “Worms of the Earth” and “The Bell Tolls” are mid-tempo headbangers with an edge to them. Think power metal orchestra, if that even is a thing. 

The instrumentation on ‘Free Spirit Soar’ is really good and there are some tasteful guitar solos on here. However, the instrumentals are quite long. Not as long as Iron Maiden’s instrumentals between songs, but they’re long enough for certain listeners to lose interest within 20 seconds. Heck, Warlord could easily make a movie soundtrack with the chops they have. Plus, Waldo’s keyboard parts ooze their way perfectly into the power metal orchestra. For the most part, though, ‘Free Spirit Soar’ is a solid Warlord release and a beautiful tribute to Tsamis. 

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