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Cauldron
Chained to the Night

Company: Earache Records
Release: 2009
Genre: Traditional
Reviewer: Vinaya

  • Short but effective album



  • I admittedly never paid attention to Canadian doomsters Goat Horn, but after hearing this first full-length from ex-Goat Horn bassist Jason Decay's new band, I am beginning to think I should brush up on (but not against) the horn. Yes, despite its rather stupid, nonsensical title, Chained to the Night is a short but sweet foray into a world of nifty metal sounds from a bygone but fondly remembered era.

    The band's first release was the 2007 EP Into the Cauldron (appropriately reissued on vinyl after the fact), a steaming little pot of traditional metal goodness that combined speed, melody and just a hint of doom-friendly chunkiness that appeared to be left over from the Goat Horn days. Chained to the Night continues in a similar vein, but with a noticeable shift in direction. While the EP ripped with a refreshing dose of almost thrash metal-like verve, the material here is, for the most part, noticeably slower (mid-paced), more melodic and less busy. As a result, Chained to the Night comes across more like a gritty, slightly sludgy (detuned?) modern approximation of vintage Dokken, W.A.S.P. or even Black ‘n' Blue, whose anthem "Chains around Heaven" is faithfully covered here.

    Mind you, there is nothing wrong with the new direction in my book. It's just that after the more intense attack of the EP, it seems a bit of a letdown, at least in terms of sheer energy (on the plus side, however, you can get two Into the Cauldron-era tunes as bonus tracks on the limited edition of this album). Another problem, albeit a minor one in my opinion, is that Jason Decay's vocals are something of an acquired taste, a bit nasal and strangely scratchy in tone on some of the more melodic passages. Also, while cuts like "Young and Hungry" and "Conjure the Mass" are catchy and engaging, "Fermenting Enchantress" drags a bit, and the otherwise enjoyable could-be hit single "Chained up in Chains" could have used a more creative wind-down, rather than its very repetitive fade-out ending.

    Those, however, are my only quibbles with this short but effective album, which shows major promise and provides considerable enjoyment for fans of traditional metal in its various guises. For my money, a considerable portion of this album's quality is provided by guitarist Ian Chains, whose tasty, skillfully executed and commendably melodic solos reliably provide that extra special something to take each song to the next level. Bravo, man, and kudos to the whole band for forging a familiar yet fresh approach to the hallowed sounds of Reaganomics-era metal. Really, I'm being a bit nitpicky with this album, if anything, as it is a truly enjoyable celebration of ideas from metal's glory days, making Cauldron one of an increasing number of acts currently infusing traditional metal with some much-needed fresh blood. What Cauldron- and other bands attempting this sort of sound- need to do is hone and perfect their individual take on the classics, so that it may be recognized as more than just a solid (and welcome) tribute to their influences.

    Timely note: As I complete this review, the band is staging a U.S. tour with Swedish trad/melodic thrashers Enforcer, whose debut full length Into the Night is another welcome offering of old-school metal ruleage.



    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.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: CAULDRON
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Burning FortuneCauldron
    2011
    Eric Compton5/13/2011
    Chained To The NiteCauldron
    2010
    Eric Compton4/2/2010
    Chained To The NiteCauldron
    2009
    Vinaya Saksena8/28/2009
    In RuinCauldron
    2016
    Eric Compton5/31/2016
    Tomorrow's LostCauldron
    2012
    Eric Compton1/1/2014


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: CAULDRON

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: CAULDRON
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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