When society asks you what you want to do with your life, you simply Answer With Metal.
When I first saw Canadian Heavy Metal act Answer With Metal, opening for German metallers Primal Fear here in Toronto in 2014, I had a very good impression of the band even without knowing absolutely anything about their music, banging my head and raising my fists to their powerful sound during the entire concert. Well, that’s what happens when you have a talented group of musicians delivering a well-balanced fusion of Thrash, Power and Heavy Metal, and that’s what you will find in their brand new full-length album, entitled Handling The Blade.
After releasing a few demos and a self-titled debut album since their inception back in 2008, this five-piece band from Stouffville, Ontario, Canada doesn’t hide their passion for icons such as Iron Maiden, Dio, Primal Fear, Megadeth, Children of Bodom, among others, translating this devotion to traditional heavy music into a spree of excellent compositions in Handling The Blade. Moreover, not only their new album pays a very honest homage to their metal heroes, but it also provides the listener their own touch of creativity and feeling, adding layers of electricity to what is already a thrilling display of Heavy Metal. In other words, I dare you to find a single moment of boredom or insipidity in the entire album, and if you don’t believe me just hit play and you’ll see how good Answer With Metal are.
Would the intro Bring Out Your Dead be a tribute to the legendary scene from the all-time classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Anyway, when the music starts in the awesome The Plague what we have is a feast of old school riffs, rhythmic beats and high-pitched vocals, or everything we love from the bottom of our hearts in traditional Heavy Metal, working pretty much as a badass “business card” by lead singer Dan Nielsen. Highly influenced by bands such as Iced Earth, Megadeth and Primal Fear (and blending the musicality from all of them together), Marked For Death presents guitarists Andrew Jarvis and Matt Hadaway on fire with their shredding, accompanied by the forceful beats by drummer Alejandro Gonzalez, while Angel Of Rain leans towards the same fountain where Iron Maiden and Judas Priest have been recharging their power for decades. In addition, its awesome guitar lines complement the excellent job done by Dan on vocals, enhancing the song’s final punch.
In Tomb Of The Unknown King, bassist Jon Stallan kicks things off with his dark bass lines before the entire band comes delivering a very traditional sonority, evolving to an epic tune that will please all fans of complex metal music. Needless to say, with a name like that you can imagine how potent its lyrics are, and I’m sure you’ll have a good time singing them together with the band. Now let’s travel back in time to the 70’s with Electric Woman, an exciting chant by this skillful nonstop Heavy Metal machine that sounds like an old classic by Deep Purple or Thin Lizzy. It’s impossible not to enjoy this song, in special its electrifying chorus, and pay good attention to the synchronicity between guitars and bass as they do a great job in keeping the music cohesive and vibrant the entire time.
Then we have Forbidden, another great tune full of feeling and energy where all band members have outstanding performances, but it’s Dan once again who steals the show with his potent vocal lines; followed by the title-track, Handling The Blade, which couldn’t sound more exciting thanks to Jon and Alejandro providing the rest of the band the perfect environment for delivering powerful guitar riffs and solos, thrilling screams and huge doses of electricity. In other words, it’s a perfect mix of traditional Heavy Metal with Thrash and Speed Metal, tailored for old school metalheads like us.
And those flaming guitars don’t give any sign of slowing down as they keep kicking ass in the last two songs of the album. Gates Of Hell, which name exhales the might from the 80’s by itself, takes progressiveness and heaviness to the second power, with highlights to the amazing riffs and bass lines halfway through it, whereas if you thought they would close the album with an acoustic ballad or an introspective song you’ll be surprised (and kicked in the head) by Heavens On Its Way. This song brings more of their high-octane metal music, with Alejandro sounding as if he wanted to destroy his drum kit before the album is over. In addition to that, its chaotic ending is so gripping you’ll get stunned and, consequently, avid for more of the music by this up-and-coming Canadian band.
As aforementioned, there isn’t a single second where Answer With Metal sound uninspired, tired or bland in Handling The Blade, an excellent album by a band that’s poised to become one of the big names of the metallic scene in Canada in a not-so-distant future. And if you want to get in touch with them, go check their Facebook page, YouTube channel and ReverbNation profile, and grab your copy of Handling The Blade at their official Big Cartel page. After enjoying this rousing exhibit of Heavy Metal, if anyone asks you what you want to do with your life from now on, I bet you already know the answer, right?
Best moments of the album: The Plague, Electric Woman and Handling The Blade.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2015 Independent
1. Bring Out Your Dead 1:15
2. The Plague 3:38
3. Marked For Death 3:22
4. Angel Of Rain 5:25
5. Tomb Of The Unknown King 5:27
6. Electric Woman 4:56
7. Forbidden 5:52
8. Handling The Blade 5:55
9. Gates Of Hell 4:44
10. Heavens On Its Way 4:19
Dan Nielsen – vocals
Andrew Jarvis – lead guitar
Matt Hadaway – rhythm guitar
Jon Stallan – bass guitar
Alejandro Gonzalez – drums