1. Hell Express 2. Standing Still 3. Rise 4. Traitors Gate 5. Excessive Force 6. Escape From The Village 7. Eyes Of The World 8. Calm Waters 9. Desolation Angel 10. Silent Scream 11. Jeckyl & Hyde 12. Hell Bent For Leather
New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) survivors Blitzkrieg may not have hit the big time, and they may not be considered the most brilliant songwriters or players the massive metal genre has ever produced. Some cynics may even suggest that they are living merely off the fact that a band called Metallica covered their self-titled trademark song. But Blitzkrieg are something that is hard to argue with indeed: a solid, reliable band.
And true to form, "Sins and Greed" opens with the sound of a train picking up speed, followed by a chugging, staccato riff that mimics said vehicle, until it all finally collides head-on into the exhilarating lead-off tune “Hell Express.” Already, there is a feeling of familiarity here- something utterly predictable, yet utterly welcome. The melodic and upbeat “Standing Still” follows suit, offering another dose of heavy but uplifting and pleasant old-school metal vibes for those who love this sort of thing. From there on, Sins and Greed is a solid, enjoyable, if somewhat inconsistent sort of affair. Basic, but riveting head-banging fare is in no short supply, with aggressive riff-rockers like “Traitor’s Gate,” “Excessive Force” and “Desolation Angel” offering pretty much all an old-school metalhead could ask for in this regard. Unfortunately, the album does occasionally lag in the creativity and catchiness departments, with the vaguely nu-metal flavored “Rise” in particular sounding forced and uninspired.
Having said that, however, I find that there are signs of quality beyond the surface level on this album, particularly with regard to the lyrics and the band’s overall musical skills. Frontman (and lone remaining original member) Brian Ross is pretty much the dominant musical force on the album, using his impressive range and unique, likable vocal inflections to raise these songs above their otherwise average status. His lyrical musings are substantive as well, with subject matter including abuse of power (on the bully-bashing “Excessive Force”) and the need for tolerance (the surprisingly touching ballad “Eyes of the World”), in addition to his penchant for sci-fi and horror movie fare. Behind him, brothers Phil and Paul Brewis prove a competent, but never overly polished rhythm section, while guitarists Paul Nesbitt and Ken Johnson keep the proceedings interesting with their basic, but skillful and enjoyable interplay.
In short, Blitzkrieg remains a reliable and vital force in the world of metal, and "Sins and Greed" is another fine offering from them. Sure there’s nothing particularly earth-shattering here, but in an age of untalented pop posers and bland, uninspiring one-hit wonders, it is somehow comforting to know that a band like Blitzkrieg soldiers on, just doing there thing regardless of what fate may bring.
Note: A couple of cool treats are thrown in at the end of the album. First is a reverent cover of Judas Priest’s legendary “Hell-bent For Leather,” with a riveting vocal performance from Ross. The second is a hidden bonus track, but I won’t tell you what it is. You’ll have to buy it and see for yourself.
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
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