1. Mistress of the Night 2. Angelwitch 3. Gloria 4. Heaven is Hell 5. Walpurgisnight 6. Last Desire 7. Beyond the Sky 8. Wings of Fire 9. Light of the Gods 10. Silence
It is absolutely wonderful to read about all of these underground US bands working hard below the surface to scrape up a decent metal offering, one that both themselves and the listener can be proud of. What a sorry state of affairs the American scene would be in without quality underground bands like Image. Sure we have the "processed" metal goods like Iced Earth, Seven Witches, and Rob Rock, but I'm talking about the stripped down blue collar acts sprouting up all over the country. Image has been a mainstay in the metal community for years, dating back to 1985 with their four song EP. Recently I acquired the group's 2003 effort "Drowning In The Sea Of Life" as well as their newest release, the razor sharp "Razor's Edge" self released by the band. I was really blown away by the quality on both records, and decided to write up a review of their new one and get some exposure to this deserving, talented crew.
Image can actually lay claim to roots dating back to 1976. The band was founded by current drummer Rock Wicker and guitarist Steve Simpson. In 1981 Brian Primm replaced Simpson on guitar, with Mike Metal stepping in on bass and David St. Clair on vocals. The group recorded the EP in 1985 and followed that with an album entitled "Resurrection" in 1987. In 1990 the group decided to go separate ways and found themselves under the Image moniker again in 2001. The group released their comeback album "Drowning In The Sea Of Life" in 2003 and now have released their brand new album "Razor's Edge"
For me Image would have really fit the Ebony label in the mid-80s. They have that traditional metal sound that was born out of the NWOBHM scene of the late 70s and early 80s. "Razor's Edge" manages to stay American through and through but does borrow a bit from the European scene. I can hear everything from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest to US metal like Racer-X and Dio. Brian Primm proves to be a fantastic guitar player, mixing up each song with fast licks and chops but settling down from time to time to add a bit of atmosphere in with some well placed slower riffs. Vocalist David St. Clair does an amazing job leading this brigade, at times sounding like a cross between Kevin Dubrow (Quiet Riot) and Tony Moore (Riot). His voice is a bit raspy at times but that seems to add a bit of an edge to the band's sound.
The band really mix this album up, never concentrating on one particular facet to lure the listener in. Image creates some flashy metal, but they do write mature songs that showoff their musical ability to explore different avenues within a song. Perfect evidence would be "Crionics", a unique moody piece that builds into an eerie atmosphere. The same sort of writing goes into "Seeker Returns", another song with a huge climax. The band can drive straight forward with metal fury also, evident on "Resurrection" and "Phantasm". Favorite cut for me is the stormy opener "It Doesn't Matter", which rocks the ship with some titanic riffs and monster groove.
Image really are the stranger in a strange land. In this day and age America really isn't in this type of metal mood. That is one of the reasons I like these guys so much. Just like other underground heroes like Overlorde, Attacker, and October 31, Image aren't afraid to play what they love. They are heavy metal, not to be confused with garage rock, indy rock, modern rock, or any other corporate rock that the suits and ties force down our throats to replace what we've grown to love. Image are all about talent, focus, and determination, and the results are clearly evident on this mammoth metal slab. "Razor's Edge" tops off a fantastic year of metal. Let's hope 2005 offers us some more of these fantastic underground sensations.
Cheers all around for a band that it isn't afraid to take chances!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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