From the ashes of Canada’s GOAT HORN comes CAULDRON, the new project of GOAT HORN’s vocalist/bassist Jason Decay. Musically, the CAULDRON sound is a direct continuation of GOAT HORN’s late ‘70s/early ‘80s NWOBHM sound, which is a good thing, as GOAT HORN were one of the very best unsigned Heavy Metal bands in Canada at the time. The band combines raw, rugged Metal riffs with brightly melodic, clean vocals, evoking the oft-underrated NWOBHM band ANGEL WITCH.
Despite the many similarities between Decay’s two Heavy Metal bands, CAULDRON is altogether a more polished and more consistent beast than its predecessor. Decay seems to have mostly abandoned the snarl he sometimes employed in GOAT HORN (see “Rotten Roll”) in favour of a very clear and melodic voice, more like the one he used on GOAT HORN’s “Threatening Force.” The decision to stick with the clean vocals as opposed to the thrashier growls is a welcome one, as Decay actually has a very pleasant singing voice. He makes the choruses, which are well-written in their own right, really stick in your head. “Chained Up In Chains” may have a ridiculous title, but shouting it out during the chorus just feels so right, thanks to Decay.
Guitarist Ian Chains delivers classic riff after classic riff; nothing feels out of place. He alternates between rhythmic chugs and more proto-Thrash riffing. His riffs are simple, but his solos are not, providing just the right dose of high-octane shredding when needed. Where the guitars in GOAT HORN sometimes sounded a little too rough, Chains’ guitars sound much better, while still maintaining the feel of raw, oldschool Metal.
The majority of the songs on “Chained To The Nite” are well-written, simple, and catchy. “Bound To The Stake,” “Conjure The Mass” (featuring Decay’s classic call-and-response vocals reminiscent of “Threatening Force”) and the aforementioned “Chained Up In Chains” are standout tracks. Songs like “The Leaven/Fermenting Enchantress” and “Midnite Hour” seem to take a little bit longer to pick up. The cover of BLACK ‘N BLUE’s “Chains Around Heaven” is absurdly fun, even if it sounds entirely uncharacteristic of the band.
“Chained To The Nite” is a solid professional debut for CAULDRON. The album manages to be both raw and polished at the same time, resulting in a slick, professional-sounding early NWOBHM record. Fans of the genre (and ANGEL WITCH in particular) will easily dig its accessible, classic sound. Highly recommended!
(Online December 14, 2009)