For fans of classic heavy metal, the name of Chris Impellitteri needs no introduction. It is great news that the veteran band (already into their 4th decade, having released their first album back in 1987) keeps going, and does so in style. Their latest release, The Nature of the Beast, is like a time capsule. Taking you back to the best era of heavy metal, this brand new material sounds as if it has come out of the late 80’s and early 90’s, with rich melodies, fierce riffs, killer bass and aggressive drums. The name of their vocalist is no surprise either: Rob Rock who (after periods of on and off the band) has been with them for the past ten years.
Impellitteri delivers exactly what they always have: mind blowing, highly energetic, powerful metal. Great melodies have always been their strong feature, as well as classical influenced guitar solos, operatic vocals, and anthem style choruses.
The album includes two cover tracks. There is no surprise that they both take us back in time to the roots: Black Sabbath’s ‘Symptoms of the Universe’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’.
Alongside the original material, there are also episodes that will trick into thinking that there are more remakes to be heard: ‘Man of War’ goes into the ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ territory (with an intro that follows the popular tune, only to deviate from it: tongue in cheek to those who think that Impellitteri’s music may be predictable). ‘Run For Your Life’ may get you to anticipate a cover of ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ with its intro which, too, takes a different direction. The first notes of ‘Kill The Beast’ sound like a typical Judas Priest intro – but this is another original track of Impellitteri.
It is easy to draw comparisons here, not to diminish the quality of what you are listening to, but to demonstrate the integrity with the genre whose old representative the band has always been. You will hear Yngwie, Alcatrazz, Judas Priest as underlining influences, but there are no direct references to them, which is the beauty of true talents like this drawing on heritage, yet giving it a fresh new interpretation.
I cannot help but compare Rob Rock’s era with Graham Bonnet’s one (being a fan and follower of all branches of Rainbow’s family tree), and I must say I cannot pick a favourite. They are both characteristic of the band’s history, and Rock is true asset to Impellitteri’s just as much as Bonnet was in his times.
The album has taken a whole year to record, mastered by renowned studio wizards: engineer/producer Mike Plotkinoff (known for his work with Van Halen and Aerosmith) and mix engineer Greg Reely (Overkill, Fear Factory).
In two words: modern classics. Whether you choose to look at this album as a fresh classic heavy metal effort, or to think of it as a time capsule taking you back to those times this music belongs to, is up to you. The album does credit to both centuries, and does it brilliantly.
Released on 12 October 2018 through Frontier Records
Reviewed by Angie K
- Run For Your Life
- Phantom Of The Opera
- Gates Of Hell
- Wonder World
- Man Of War
- Symptom Of The Universe
- Do You Think I’m Mad
- Fire It Up
- Kill The Beast
- Shine On