Canada's metal trio Cauldron are back with their fourth album, titled In Ruin, out now on The End Records here in the US and High Roller Records in Europe later in the month. As always, their focus seems to be late 70s/early '80s classic metal and the era of the NWOBHM, and this slab of retro sounds contains 9 new songs that are basic, to the point, and enjoyable.
I'm almost hesitant to call In Ruin no frills metal, but that's basically what it is, and that's quite ok in my books. Plenty of catchy, heavy riffing going on throughout the album, with tunes like "Empress", "Burning at Both Ends", "Hold You Fire", and the hot album kick off tune "No Return/In Ruin" packing a powerful punch but are engaging more for their straightforward simplicity in the arrangements than anything else. Images of Iron Maiden, Armored Saint, Diamond Head, and Mercyful Fate pop up from time to time, thanks to the delivery of the riffs and some of the rhythms, but where Cauldron differentiate themselves from some of these classic bands are with the vocals of bassist Jason Decay. He's got a very melodic, soothing vocal style, but as good as he is, at times his delivery really doesn't fit the music all too well. The rampaging riffs of "Come Not Here" smack you right in the chops, but then Decay's dreamy crooning kind of spoil the momentum. He has more bite on the raucous "Santa Mira", and even throws in some splendid Steve Harris styled bass runs on the song, but then on the crushing "Outrance" he just seems to be missing that 'edge' that the song really needed. Again, he's a mighty fine singer, but I'm just not sure how well his vocal style really fits the kind of songs the band are creating. On the one instrumental here, "Delusive Serenade", the band pull out all the stops, delivering a atmospheric, proggy, complex metal gem, complete with weaving guitar & bass patterns, fat riffs, and acrobatic drumming. Those who loved Metallica's incredible instrumentals on their early albums will certainly dig this piece.
Overall, In Ruin is a very solid, fun album of old school metal sounds that should certainly resonate with plenty of fans of the genre. Despite my partial reservations with Decay as the lead singer for this band, let me reiterate that he is a very capable vocalist, but I just wish he had more of an edge to his delivery that better fit the bands music.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) No Return/In Ruin
3) Burning at Both Ends
4) Hold Your Fire
5) Come Not Here
6) Santa Mira
7) Corridors of Dust
8) Delusive Serenade