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HARDWARES

WARLORD

The Holy Empire

(Sons Of A Dream Music)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 8.0

Time was, back in the early 80s, this mysterious outfit (recording under pseudonyms and never touring. In fact, they only played one show live) was one of the greatest Metal Blade signings of all time. After an Ep and full length (during the vinyl era, so not many songs, total) and a seemingly posthumous video release, WARLORD disappeared, for nearly two decades. Guitarist/mastermind Bill Tsamis briefly resurfaced in the mid-to-late 90s (with his wife on vocals) for LORDIAN GUARD, but in 2012, there was a brief reunion, fronted by HAMMERFALL (who covered ‘Child Of The Damned’ on their debut) vocalist Joacim Cans. Another decade of virtual inactivity followed. It isn’t hyperbole to say that this, the first truly new WARLORD album, in almost thirty years, is eagerly anticipated (by a rabid cult following, myself included). Naturally, it’s impossible to live up to three decades of hope, but the music is undeniably WARLORD, regal and slightly progressive, there’s no vocal gymnastics here, rarely rising above a smooth drone. There are also female accents sprinkled throughout. Mrs. Tsamis, I presume? What’s missing is the galloping speed of past anthems, ‘Aliens’, ‘Mrs. Victoria’, ‘Lost And Lonely Days’ or even ‘Deliver Us From Evil’. Not sure why. ‘Night Of The Fury’, with it hammer-on solo, comes closest. Tubular bells and synthesized pipes introduce the 11:31 concluding titular tune. As always, Tsamis tends to create lengthy compositions, all but two clocking in in excess of six minutes. If already a fan, then The Holy Empire will be to your liking, aforementioned misgivings aside. However, newcomers to the band would be better served by first investigating the original 80s material. Try to secure a digital copy, as physical formats are prized possessions amongst the converted. A welcome addition, even if it fails to hit the lofty mark established previously. Hail the return of WARLORD!



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