Rottweiller - Rage Of War 2004 Hellion Records --EC
1. Rage Of War 2. Hell To Pay 3. Evil Genius 4. Demise 5. Enter The Flame 6. F.O.P 7. Toccata In D Minor 8. Enemy 9. Speed Of Light 10. Underground 11. Never Wanted
Rottweiller is a band that I have been trying to catch up to for quite some time. After reading stellar reports about the band's metal movement through the years. You see Rottweiller contrary to popular belief is not a new band, the group have been around since the early 80s and just recently reunited in 2002 with their first release in fifteen years, "Screams Of The Innocent". Unfortunately I never got the opportunity to hear the album. After "Screams Of The Innocent" vocalist Ronny Munroe enlisted with Seattle metal legends Metal Church. After hearing Munroe's style on 'Church's "Weight Of The World" I made it a point to hook up with Rottweiller's material at some point or another. Now I have before me "Rage Of War", Rottweiller's newest release and first with new frontman Martin Morin.
I really wish I had heard "Screams Of The Innocent" before listening to "Rage Of War". I like to listen to a band to see how much they achieve from album to album. Improvement is always important but I like to go beyond that and listen to production, vocals, performance, and overall mood and vibe of a band from record to record. Unfortunately I can't do that with this review so I will just tell you what I know. This album is an amazing record from start to finish. At times it sounds really seasoned, much like Saxon, Tank, or even Warfare in its calm, consistent straightforward metal message. This certainly isn't a complicated album by any means, instead the group focus on good songwriting, traditional patterns and structure, and a defining catchy hook that really helps keep the disc in for longer plays. With other cuts the album sounds like modern day power metal bands like Seven Witches, Power Crue, and even newer Metal Church.
This record could have easily been forged in the fires of the 80s. With soaring leads, well calculated riffs, and an excellent ability to rock and roll through simplistic metal exercises. Fans of power metal in general should really fall for "Rage Of War". Fans of modern day power will embrace cuts like "Evil Genius" and "F.O.P", with those two tracks really pushing the edge of today's "German" audience. Opener "Rage Of War" brings to mind the early aspects of Tank and Saxon. But they don't always stick with tradition, allowing a bit of doom to drift in with "Demise" and groove shaker "Enemy". Morin's voice is far from clean, leaning towards Lemmy styled rasps for the most part. He does let his voice fly high from time to time but for the most part the vocals are a bit on the harsh side. Definitely a big change from Munroe's smooth delivery. Morin's voice fits well here, with Rick Van Zandt's ripping guitar style. The production leaves something to be desired and I would have thought with Hellion Records involved the band would have gotten better sound. The label have put together wonderful packaging for the album however, with plenty of vibrant colors and comprehensive artwork both inside and under the disc.
My first experience with Rottweiller has been a great one. I will track down "Screams Of The Innocent" to see what I have been missing, but I can't imagine the album being better than this second effort. From strings to vocals everything is a tight accurate fit. It is a shame that the band disappeared for fifteen years. All of the classic metal bands today seem to have huge gaps in their discography. Look at Overlorde, Attacker, and Destructor for perfect examples. Fortunately for us die-hards, everything comes around again.
Highly recommended for fans of Metal Church, Warfare, Saxon, Tank, and mid-era Venom.
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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