DURBIN – The Beast Awakens
Former Quiet Riot vocalist James Durbin recently released this punchy and fist-pumping heavy metal opus of his via Frontiers Records not that long ago and the result is quite good and a satisfying listen. Musically and stylistically, this is very much in the vein of classic Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, and perhaps to a lesser extent Saxon, Manowar, and Black Sabbath around the time of "Headless Cross" and "Tyr".
There is not a shred of originality to be found on "The Beast Awakens" but the songs are well-played, nicely crafted, and damn catchy. Durbin’s voice suits the song material perfectly and being a sucker for bombastic riffs and epic atmospheres, I simply cannot hide the fact that I enjoy listening to this twelve-track journey through underworlds (or is that netherworlds?) inhabited by kings, necromancers, warriors of Valhalla, and the likes. The production is powerful while the sound is slightly rough around the edges, which all ads to its charm and emphasizes the huge-sounding feel of these compositions.
Like I said, this is as far from innovative or musically revolutionary as you can get, but who gives a fuck when the tracks work like a charm and are thoroughly entertaining to immerse oneself in? Others might argue that it is slightly derivative and they would not be entirely wrong, but personally, I dig this old-school heavy metal offering and the fact that spinning this disc equals a good time. Fans of 80s heavy metal with galloping riffs and/or power metal with blistering solos should check this one out.