Tuesday 2 March 2021

Album Review: DURBIN - The Beast Awakens


01. The Prince Of Metal
02. Kings Before You
03. Into The Flames
04. The Sacred Mountain
05. The Beast Awakens
06. Evil Eye
07. Necromancer
08. Riders On The Wind
09. Calling Out For Midnight
10. Battle Cry
11. By The Horns
12. Rise To Valhalla

I'll be brutally honest. When I heard that ex-Quiet Riot singer, James Durbin, was going to put out a solo album, I didn't really give a shit. 

For those unfamiliar with James, he was famous for appearing on the TV show American Idol, and for a recent stint as lead singer for Quiet Riot. He sang on their last two albums, Road Rage (read my review here) and Hollywood Cowboys

The reason for me not initially giving a shit was that the two albums he did with Quiet Riot weren't really that great. I'm probably being a bit too polite there. I won't pull any punches regarding the production, as it was fucking dreadful. I've heard local band demos that sound better. 

In fairness, James' vocals was the best thing about those albums, but, even so, I don't think they did him any favours. 

Anyway, I had a quick listen to the first 'Durbin' single, The Prince Of Metal, on YouTube, and it was pretty good. It's traditional Heavy Metal with a nice 'gallop', and James' soaring vocals are really on-point. The production was far superior to that Quiet Riot mess, so I decided to check out the full album. 

The Beast Awakens is Metal as Fuck. Not in a contemporary way, but in a Manowar, Saxon, Judas Priest, Dio, Iron Maiden kind of way, with absolutely no regard for what's cool or trendy. If this record was released in 1982, it would have been massive. Do I think that a young audience will enjoy this? Probably not, but kids are generally assholes anyway.

Kings Before You is an absolute gem of melodic classic Metal and features guest appearances from Fozzy main-man Chris Jericho and ex-Machine Head lead guitarist Phil Demmel. My other favourites include Riders On The Wind, which has a Dio-era Sabbath feel, the power ballad Battle Cry, and  my over all favourite Evil Eye, which is a flawless piece of 80's melodic Heavy Metal.

So, yeah. This has been one of the biggest surprises of 2021. James Durbin kicks fucking ass. He's a great singer and this album is absolutely solid slab of old school Trad Metal. Great stuff indeed!


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