Traditional heavy metal from Germany, full-length discography of three albums released between 2002-2010.
Metal Inquisitor was founded in 1998 by Blumi and Witchhammer. The idea behind the band was to play classic and traditional heavy metal. Short time after the foundation they assigned KronoS for the bass guitar and El Rojo as the singer. In 1998 they released a 3-track demo and in 2002 the first full-length record "The Apparition". In 2004 they lost their recording contract with Iron Glory Records. Then in early 2005 they signed to Hellion Records and released the full-length album "Doomsday For The Heretic" in November the same year. Since this album Metal Inqusitor confirmed their fame in the Heavy Metal underground.
While Metal Inquisitor is certainly their own band with a certain classic style, I believe it isn't outlandish or without (crystal) logic to say that Doomsday for the Heretic can best be described as a more thrashed and, definitely far more British (shhhh... I know they are German), version of a band that rhymes with "vanilla code" and comes from Kansas. El Rojo's vocal style is definitely reminiscent of Mark Sheltons with a healthy dose of Saxon's Peter Byford's own, anthemic style mixed in.
The tone suits everything that this album is about. The guitars are edgy with lots of treble and mid range, allowing the bass to really fill up the low end audibly. The drums are basic in sounds and in technique. Don't expect blast beats, crazy fast double bass or a four minute long drum solo halfway through the third track.
A lot of the band's sound is a clever reworking of other influential acts. The short acoustic intro immediately reminded me of the intro to Fight Fire With Fire though with a more romantic-era underpinning than Metallica could ever muster although Restricted Agony sounds like a less interesting throw-away song from Kill Em All right down to the Seek and Destroyish "ALRIGHT!." Vocally this one sounds much more like Bobby Blitz on Taking Over than Shelton or Peter Byford leading me to believe that El Rojo seems to still be finding his own style.
Although Thane of Cowder's opening riff reminds me of "Losfer Words" and other parts remind me of the chorus in Blind Guardian's "Don't Break the Circle," I find that the this and the next two songs are the strongest part of this album. Star Chaser - though somewhat Priesty in its naming and even more Halfordesque in its possible connotations) is catchy and easily singable. El Rojo's voice becomes more distinct at times during these songs. Midnight Rider continues with the memorable riffs and Priestisms.
Throughout this album though there is no doubt about what era Metal Inquisitor wished they were in. The entire album reeks of forgotten high tops, patched denim and leather, and mullets. Hell, Metal Inquisitor make me wish I was around during the heyday of metal. The album's title track is one of the best fist pumping and air guitar playing tracks I've heard in a long time. The last song on the album is a CD only track (the LP has an LP only track) with a guitar tone that I would compare to AC/DC on The Razors Edge album.
Infamia is the "epic" twin guitar dueling track on the album. Legion of Grey, though the shortest track, Is impressive, masterful and lyrically iconic in it's fuck you, fuck the "easy way out" ideology. Logan's Run has some excellent sections though it could use some lead riff boostage. It has a great chorus and a great solo section but is thin otherwise. The inclusion of a sample mid song doesn't do much for me either but, it's not detrimental either.
Germans Metal Inquisitor have been sticking to their guns now for about 12 years, exploring the roots of heavy metal with a heavy emphasis on classic British sounds like Saxon and Iron Maiden, and Unconditional Absolution sees refinement in both their writing and production values, so it's not a stretch to imagine that they've reached a new career height, surpassing the quality of The Apparition and Doomsday for the Heretic before the smoke has cleared off the first few tracks. Where so many younger bands are attempting to imbue manic vigor and ironic screaming into their 80s worship, these men sound like they not only actually lived it, but approach an album in 2010 much like their idols would, without any of the brash arrogance off or silly self-referential indulgence.
"Extinction" begins with steady rock fluency, giant shimmering AC/DC chords thrust into a Judas Priest verse, solid below the consistent delivery of El Rojo's distinct style. He's basically like a pastiche of various NWOBHM singers with a slight accent, never really scaling the heights to a screeching rage, but keeping the vocals smooth. "Casualty Evacuation" maintains the pace with busier riffing, and I truly enjoyed the bridge chords here, bluesy, hard rocking and well fit to Rojo's howling. They follow with what hints at balladry but soon erupts into another classic riff, "Quest for Vengeance", which sounds like the love child of Iron Maiden, Saxon and Riot (yes, a tryst!) But the best is yet to come, in "Betrayed Battalion", an angrier, powerful number that emits all the crunch and force of David Wayne's work in Metal Church/Reverend, or perhaps Sanctuary sans the Warrel Dane screaming. "Satan's Host", "The Arch Villain" and the fun "Persuader" are also a hoot, and "Suffer the Heretic to Burn" kicks the ass of almost anything else on the entire record (aside from "Betrayed Battalion" ).
I'm not sure that Unconditional Absolution creates the constituent, legendary moments of many of the band's influences through the chorus sections, but if you're a purist, you're very unlikely to care, you'll be so satisfied that a band like this honors where it came from without the needless stupidity of so many 'retro' acts. If you're into the more recent, quality effort by Accept or Saxon, or perhaps the better solo records from Bruce Dickinson or Halford, then you are exactly the sort of market that this will appeal to. Good hooks, great sound, and sincerity really add up here, and hopefully this will broach the broader audience than the 30 and 40 something record collectors who were partial to their previous albums. What I'm saying is, throw away the White Wizzard CD you've been fingering at the record shop, and pick this up instead, if you can find it.