Review by Tony Gaskin
In ancient Celtic and Norse legends a Berserker was a warrior who felt no pain and was virtually unbeatable when in the throes of their battle fury, so I reckon The Mighty Wraith should have used this theme for the title or graphics for their album. Many obstacles have been placed in this bands way over the last 12 months or so but they have battled through adversity to finally release their debut album. The Awakening is an old school heavy metal offering that tips it horned helmet in no small way to the likes of Priest and Maiden, with the theatrical cheesiness of Manowar. There’s also an element of the heroic battle metal so beloved by Scandinavian Power/Folk Metal bands, but first and foremost it’s a solid offering for a debut release.
Just reading down the track list, you know there is going to be a strong fantasy hero theme to the songs and you won’t be disappointed (or will be depending on your point of view). ‘Fury of the Norsemen’, ‘Dragonheart’, ‘Thunder of the Gods’ reads like an anthology of stories from Robert E. Howard, and the lyrical content pulls no punches when it comes to painting a picture of a dark world inhabited by Heroes, Demons and the ever-lasting battle between good and evil.
That’s basically the theme of the album, but how about the execution? Musically it’s not ground breaking or technically challenging, but it’s competently put together with sufficient skill and knowhow to carry it off. The two guitars of Messers Potter and Miller provide enough heavy riffage to keep most diehard metal fans happy, just the right level for this album as too much progressive technicality probably would have ended up making the whole album seem pretentious.
Bass duties were handled by Danny Nardone (Aceldama) who also was the man behind the knobs (insert jokes here) when it came to the engineering and producing the album, whilst the relentless and thunderous drumming was provided by the equally able Andrew Kirby. It was a good partnership, and Nardone’s skills as an engineer have enabled the band to produce a high quality disc on a budget, something for bands looking to put out an album to consider, there are plenty of top notch sound guys on the underground scene that will help you get the most for your pennies.
But last word is for frontman Matt Gore. He is the focal point of the band, the outlet for the hours of writing and practising. If you’ve ever seen The Mighty Wraith live then you’ll know what I mean. Every song is sung with passion, every chorus is a performance. He may not have a huge vocal range, some of the songs scream out for, well, a scream, a Halford or Dio falsetto, but he knows his limits and sticks to what he’s good at. Like a bard of old he captivates you with his sagas, but can show a softer, melodic side with a ballad as in the track Memories of the Past. His stage battle gear is now legendary on the local live scene, and ultimately that is what you want from this band, you want a show, one that’s going to put a smile on your face and get your blood pumping, to cast a fugue over us and send us all into Berserker mode.
8 out of 10
The album is available through Bandcamp and there will be an official launch night at The Roadhouse, Birmingham on 1st February which will also include the stellar line-up of Aceldama, Gehtika, Valous and Stout Gentlemen.
- Fury of the Norsemen
- On Demon Wings
- Nightmare World
- Realm of Shadows
- Thunder of the Gods
- Memories of the Past
- When it Rains