TANTRUM - Melt It Down (Album)
It seems like forever ago that TANTRUM released teaser single ‘NWOBHM’ to promote their Kickstarter campaign for 'Melt It Down'. As a song it was a statement of intent (let’s face it, the title doesn’t exactly leave you guessing does it?) and also a marker for the band themselves. It was a stunning, attention grabbing track now they had to make sure the rest of the album could match it.
The good news is ‘NWOBHM’ isn’t even the best thing on the album. The bad news? Well you may just break your neck headbanging. This is a proper legs apart, low-slung air guitar, furious windmilling set of old-school metal anthems. All of which could make it all feel like a throwback to a bygone era, but it doesn’t, it feels fresh, modern and explosive.
If ‘NWOBHM’ was a statement of intent then ‘Melt It Down’ is the fulfilling of a promise and the title track itself is a statement of fact. “This is the sound of hammers and anvils and steel” they chorus, and they’re spot on. The album doesn’t sound like it was written, it sounds like it was wrought at the foundry. It is the sound of battleship chains being dropped from a great height. It is, in every sense of the word, metal.
That’s not to say that there isn’t any fine craftsmanship to be found though. The intro to album opener ‘Underdogs’ lulls you in with some minstrel like strummery before suckerpunching you with a gargantuan riff in much the same way that Sabbath and Maiden do. Pretty much every song has a hook in it too, a gang chanted chorus or a riff to chug along too. And while there is a familiarity to the style - they bring to mind the likes of Saxon and Accept - it doesn’t feel derivative.
What really drives the album however is that behind the power and aggression you sense there is also a feeling of great enjoyment from the band. This is a group of guys playing what they love exactly how they want to. It does on occasion stray a little too close to the preposterous, the more mystical stuff on ‘Wizards Warning’ and ‘The Tyrant’ don’t quite carry the conviction of the more urgent gallop of earlier songs, but even then the songs remain memorable, well above the level of mere filler and crucially none of them outstay their welcome. They are epic in sound but not in length.
If you want a band that quite literally go at it hammer and tongs and quite literally put the pedal to the metal then there is no doubt that TANTRUM could forge a very special place in your heart. (I’m not even sorry.)
Steve Swanson – Vocals
Steve Waddell – Guitar
Stoo Condie – Guitar
Ritchie Davison – Bass
Billy Angus – Drums
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