Slaves To Fashion - The History of Heavy Metal
(Fish Farm Records – 2021)
Slaves To Fashion boast probably the most self-contradictory band name I've ever encountered. This Norwegian bunch explore every subgenre of metal and hard rock bygone or still bubbling.
Whether intended as a some piss-take or a straight tribute to their inspirations-a-many, Slaves do it with iron clad honesty. '1970' opens with what sounds like a song from a somewhat revered metal debut of that same year, or what sounds like about several of its tunes rolled into one. 'The Priest of Maidenhead' - best title on the album, is played more purely Bruce, Adrian and Dave, than Rob, Glenn and KK with a convincing 8 minute song structure and smashing solos that sound exactly like the more established act under a name change. Surprisingly pedestrian for its title, 'Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll' is a slick AOR rocker in the Journey/FM vein and another of my personal favourites.
The next couple of tracks completely throw the switch the other way, 'Thrash of the Titans' speeding angrily into the stage, with some class nods to certain loved titles of the genre, whereas 'Expressions of Extremity' applies a deathly layer to the devastation. 'Garden of Chains' is their Seattle moment as a strong clue in the name heralds - a heaving mid paced rocker with a hefty echo of 'Them Bones'. Things speed up for both the following numbers, from the black metal hybrid of The Ever-growing Tree, to a symphonic treat in the appropriately titled 'The Power of Metal' with a clichéd yet guiltily catchy chorus part.
'The Nu Wire' is what it's name is, with a streamlined Limp Bizkit approach and some nice thrashy chops, plus a Korn-esque vocal build up at one stage. 'Too Close (To See Clearly)' closes in a similar vein to the previous, except with some plush female vocals swirled in for a surprise symphonic connection. Constructed track by track across each month of 2020 as a celebration of the genre's half-century, Slaves To Fashion's latest album shows its purpose as plain and honest. Diverse as I've never seen a single metal album try to get, this is an immensely entertaining yet genuine exercise across several totally separate, and some would say conflicting styles.
Certainly a slave to this album.
By Dave Attrill