Spellcaster - Night Hides the World - (7.5/10)
Published on July 9, 2016
Spellcaster are one of these young bands that re-discovered the melodic sound of old and were probably not even born yet, when it was around the first time, so for them to abstain from the temptations of modern metal deserves some kudos for sure. Night Hides the World is their third full length album and their heavy metal hardly gets much more traditional than this, pretty straight forward, harmonic, high vocals and all, belying their young age.
Yes, Night Hides the World sounds older than it is, while with today’s production values, harkening back to a time where metal was strictly underground and pretty much outlawed by good parts of society. Nowadays, though, it is far easier for bands to permeate the crowds and get their music heard by people worldwide by a simple click of a button. That should not take away from the quality of these young bands, though, because they have some serious things going on. In the case of Spellcaster, there is no hint of modernism to be detected, but it is not without flaws, despite the mostly excellent reviews out there.
As far as traditional metal goes, Spellcaster have all the right elements going, keeping things simple and catchy, but not neglecting the necessary technical finesse, at the same time, though, not all the songs manage to pack the same kind of dynamic punch that especially this kind of metal needs to really make an impact and Tyler Loney’s vocals are part of the “problem”, but more on that later.
Spellcaster work best, when they shake things up a little and bring in more dynamics and tempo changes, for when they rely mostly on mid-tempo, things can get a little samey here and there, songs like “Aria”, “The Lost Ones”, “I Live Again” (reminding me a bit of their Canadian counterparts Striker) and “The Moon Doors” are the best examples for this, where the band sounds fresh, energetic and with a clear cut goal to get to, whereas the title track or “Betrayal”, while far from being bad songs, just don’t get to that extra step that would push them to the next level.
The vocal “problem” is that while Loney has a clear, high voice, he at times lacks a bit of power and expressiveness that would add just a little grit to the mix and avoid everything staying at the same level throughout, a big problem, though, this is not, yet one that prevents the album from reaching even higher grounds.
It is easy to see, why the Oregonians are being seen as one of the rising stars of traditional metal, especially with a label like Prosthetic behind them, and they have all the right ingredients. As for any young band, there still is some room for improvement, but Night Hides the World should appeal to the vast majority of fans of traditional steel!