Album Review – Category VI / Firecry (2023)

A classic 80’s metal combustion of bold and true female-fronted anthemic Power Metal masterfully brought into being by one of the most promising names hailing from Atlantic Canada.

Hailing from the misty shores of Avalon, also known as St John’s, the capital of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Heavy/Power Metal unity Category VI formed in early 2010 bringing something new to their local metal scene as they are not only the only band from the city that plays Melodic Metal, but also the only active female-fronted Melodic Metal band in their hometown. Now in 2023 the band comprised of Amanda Gosse on vocals, Geoff Waye on the guitars, Keith Jackman on bass, and Patrick Tarrant on drums returns with a full blazing firestorm with their third album and most accomplished release to date, entitled Firecry, offering us all a classic 80’s metal combustion of bold and true female-fronted anthemic Canadian Power Metal. Featuring a fiery cover art by Serbian artist Ivan Radnić (Enchanted Sword, Fractures in the Sky), Firecry is mandatory for fans of Chastain, Warlock, HellionSentinel Beast and Fear of God, among others, a global scale climate-changing metal cyclone that just may melt the North American frozen tundra with its blazing sound.

The quartet wastes no time and kick off their metallic feast with the title-track Firecry, with Amanda already showcasing all her vocal potency supported by the thunderous bass lines by Keith in a lesson in modern-day Power Metal; whereas darker and more introspective than the opening tune, the somber Valkyrie brings forward piercing riffs by Geoff while Patrick hammers his drums in the best Manowar style. Then we have The Vultures Never Came, presenting a sonority that reminds me of 90’s Megadeth infused with elements from Mercyful Fate, while Patrick is on fire behind his drums providing Amanda with exactly what she needs to kick some ass with her soaring vocals, followed by She Runs With Wolves, another solid hybrid of classic Heavy Metal with more modern Power Metal spearheaded by the stylish riffs and solos by Geoff. And Heavy is the Crown is a direct song with all the classic elements from Heavy Metal, albeit not as exciting or inspiring as its predecessors.

Adding a touch of darkness to their sound and feeling even more inspired by the music by the iconic King Diamond, Amanda’s vocals will resonate through the four corners of the earth in Coven while her bandmates smash their instruments in the name of heavy music, and as every album of metal music inspired by the 80’s needs a power ballad, that’s offered to us by Category VI in The Cradle Will Fall, with of course Amanda stealing the show with her powerful vocals while the music increases its heaviness and epicness considerably as time passes by. Burning Bridges carries a beautiful name for a song that exhales Heavy Metal, with all band members being in total sync, in special Geoff and Keith who deliver a thrilling stringed attack; before the album ends with their rendition of Heart’s all-time classic Barracuda (check the original version HERE), and the band did a sensational job with their own version by bringing the same energy from the original one.

Such electrifying Canadian quartet can be found on Facebook and on Instagram with news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and don’t forget to also stream their music on YouTube and on Spotify. The excellent Firecry, which can be purchased from the Moribund Records’ webstore, from Season of Mist, from Apple Music or from Amazon, is undoubtedly the band’s strongest effort to date, bringing endless fire not only to their beautiful homeland, but also to any part of the world where our beloved heavy music is truly appreciated.

Best moments of the album: Firecry, The Vultures Never Came and Burning Bridges.

Worst moments of the album: Heavy is the Crown.

Released in 2023 Moribund Records

Track listing
1. Firecry 6:10
2. Valkyrie 6:05
3. The Vultures Never Came 4:10
4. She Runs With Wolves 4:12
5. Heavy is the Crown 3:47
6. Coven 4:52
7. The Cradle Will Fall 4:53
8. Burning Bridges 3:49
9. Barracuda (Heart cover) 4:21

Band members
Amanda Gosse – vocals
Geoff Waye – guitars
Keith Jackman – bass
Patrick Tarrant – drums