Killer - Immortal
The reviewing pile seems to be full of surprises and for me new names in the metal sphere for the time being. Killer is a metal act hailing from Belgium and obviously the band's celebrating their 25th anniversary with this sixth output since the start back in 1980. Within the following ten years 4 albums were released but then the band decided to quit. But not for all eternity it would turn out. In 2003 Killer made a much unexpected reunion and released the album Broken Silence and now Immortal is done and ready for unleashing. And unleashes it certainly does. In heavy doses outstanding 80's heavy/power metal of NWOBHM character is poured over you.
The attack begins with the title track but judging from the booklet and the band name I must admit I was very sceptic initially. The old cliché not to judge the book by its cover certainly had huge amounts of truth and the scepticism soon was a pale memory though. A very 80's sounding power metal riffage supported by fast double bass drums swept all doubts aside and even though the guitar work has been heard several times on other band's releases it's a smack right in your face. A formidable chorus strongly nodding towards Judas Priest in their prime fortifies this feeling as does the great guitar solo and overall intenseness. Frozen Fire- Burning Ice continues the full throttle approach and once again a very power chord eighties sounding riff is presented. The incredible drive of the first song is also maintained and almost out of nowhere a great and catchy chorus is delivered.
Stone Cold is a more heavy metal oriented and little faster than up tempo piece with a longer three part intro that also introduces the keyboards a little more prominent than the first two numbers where they remained nice and firm as a background effect only. A slight epic feel also emerges and the quite simple chorus is still a memorable one and the album couldn't have started better with these three numbers. So far as good as full score and it really began to dawn on me that this was going to be a very pleasurable sonic metal feast. Many albums have disappointed so immensely with a strong opener and then just grinded the promising start to dust but here it just goes on and on. The Mirror then returns the pace to fast and the impression of greatness truly remains. The guitar intro here is a little more melodic with its solo character and shows that the band can compose quite a versatile metal approach within the limited genre field. Another really great song!
Then it's time to introduce the true highlight of the release: Highland Glory. A Celtic/Scottish inspired keyboard theme sets its brand appropriately on this absolutely outstanding up tempo track. Offering a more melodic take than the other previous songs this number can and will be repeated countless of times. The chorus is once again of a very simple nature but in a style that certainly will the start the crowds chanting in unison. The solo/lead section is amazing and we're virtually dealing with a song that really puts itself very high on the best of all times list. So impressive, so great, so epic!
The rest of the material is of almost identical standard as the initial ones and the album never undergoes any hardships and continues to show what variety there is to explore. Drifting Away and Liquid Shadows are really speedy tracks whereof the latter spans over 7 minutes. A calm ballad sounding beginning sets a nice atmosphere on this one and then all hell breaks loose. The Deep Purple character on Easy Rider certainly brings back memories of old and the instrumental final Ad Tempus Vitae once again demonstrates some great guitar work and shows Shorty Van Camp's knowledge of his instrument. The vocals of the same guy are located somewhere in the middle range and while reminding of many others he still does have a certain and special touch. He can at times be a little compared to legendary Halford without the real high pitching and on occasion even of Mr Running Wild, Rolf Kasparek but overall he's still got his own features. Not too high, not too low, nothing elaborately fancy but just terrific middle section of the scale and fitting the music perfectly. Each and every song also has an immense drive and a powerful delivery that rivals Running Wild at their best and resemblances of that sort are also found in the rhythm guitar sections. Merging that with the darker touches of Sinner, the direct riffing of Accept, some galloping rhythms of Maiden and an overall NWOBHM feeling, the metal summit is quite complete.
Sure though, Immortal won't redefine your sonic expectations but is still outperforming many other major releases of 2005 so far and should send serious shockwaves through the metal world. The building blocks are unquestionably there and Killer is a band I have to look much deeper into. This Belgium knock out surprise strongly reminds me of why I fell in love with the metal genre in the first place and why I still stick indubitably to it. Killer's simply used the old schoolbook lure in a splendid way and I swallow the bait without any hesitation whatsoever.