Slabber - Apocryphal Diary
(Punishment 18 Records – 2021)
The letter 'I' often stands for two things in the metal these days - Italian and Iron Maiden influenced. Well that's three I's but all are the sort I don't mind. (four now).
This Milan foursome, a reincarnation of former line-up Rapid Fire actually begin their opening track 'Time of Boredom' sounding frighteningly like Metallica's 'Eye of the Beholder.' However, the moment singer Alessandro Botin, whose voice sounds like a cross of Bruce Dickinson and occasionally something teetering towards black metal lets rip, we are in for one frightening thirty seven- minute classic metal ride.
'Insane Attack' is a fast, thrash paced number pumped with Judas Priest fluid and a bouncy chorus line that catches me ringing along right away. 'Bell Does Ring' is a bulky slow dirge that does an acceptable job but seems to take time getting going, then 'Evil Pay' makes up by opening with the most scandalously Maiden-borrowed moment yet - think 'Iron Maiden and then The Trooper', wrapped round a classy Eurometal chorus harmony.
'Backbone' is a brief instrumental that cuts off highly abruptly, as if there was a fault with the CD. 'Dirty Hands' is a progressive flavoured track with a stop-start variation but another hook-line that eventually sticks itself in. 'Survivor', a mid paced metaller with 90s thrash mouldings, stomps with a strongest headbanging element of the album and some sweet bursts of triple-step rhythms.
Ending where it started, 'Condemned to Live' kicks off with some more Smith-inspired strumming and sails into a mid beat melodic metal piece with a huge soaring chorus. For an album that includes three instrumentals in ten tracks, plus a name that would be more suited to a sludge outfit, you'd think Slabber had taken enough liberties to last their lifetime. Yet for all their wondering, they have crafted a wonderfully tasty jar of ear candies for all fans of classic metal who come into this shop.
As much as certain famous British metal names may be already preparing to sue, I'm hoping that that you will appreciate how said influences have been put to this such loyal use.
By Dave Attrill
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