VARIOUS ARTISTS
Keep It True - The Underground Kodex Compilation Vol. I
(Iron Kodex Records)
45:43min

"Keep It True – The Underground Kodex Compilation Vol. I" presents us a selection of bands that raise the banner of good old Metal. Ranging from Heavy and Speed to Thrash executed by international acts across europe and Canada. Released through the German label Iron Kodex. What’s really interesting is noticing this style is still embraced! Not only by the old well known (reanimated) stagers who used to fill magazines like Rock Hard and Metal Hammer but also quite new acts are STRIKER (CAN), TRACER (GER), SIGN OF THE JACKAL (ITA) and MIDNIGHT PRIEST (POR) but I can tell you everything and everyone sounds old and from the mid eighties. Here’s a quick impression of all acts. STRIKER (CAN) starts off with ‘White Knight’ and performs energetic and galloping Speed Metal, really promising so check out their EP "Road Warrior". Next is REZET (GER) who unleash some great Speed / Thrash from the German golden days in ‘Have Gun, Will Travel’. Also check their EP "Toxic Avenger". Italian BATTLE RAM follows with ‘Smash The Gates’. Epic Heavy Metal with great riffs and vocals. Some MAIDEN hints (of course) but nevertheless awesome. More MAIDEN epical riffing with MIDNIGHT PRIEST from Portugal. Sung in Portugese with a production that suits their style second too none. After this we have the Italian SIGN OF THE JACKAL who shifts gear up a bit in ‘Heavy Metal Demons’. Man, this sounds old school, with the tremolo picking and the arrangement that it sounds way longer than 4 minutes. Next comes the epic ‘The Wizard Of The Alderley Edge’ from DARK FOREST (UK). With twin vocal duty and man, is this epic! Needless note: former bassplayer Bill Clough plays in CRUCIAMENTUM nowadays and I can’t imagine a bigger contrast! Swedish HITMAN shares their ‘Lust For Battle’. Again with twin vocalwork and a heavy MAIDEN inspired riffing. Unfortunately I can’t give you any more info about these guys but their chorus is one you can easily shout along to. Definitely heavier is ASOMVEL (UK) with ‘Stone Cold Stare’. I guess this is the oldest band on this compilation. A bit too monotonous for my taste, still good, but missing something. TRACER (GER) blew me away with some DESTRUCTION like Thrash! These guys are young but very talented!! It wouldn’t surprise me if Nuclear Blast would show interest in these killers. Best one for me and remarkably still unsigned! Unfortunatley for french HURLEMENT they couldn’t impress me with ‘Harvester’. I didn’t get into their vocals and the leads. To be honoust, it took some sessions since I usually don’t pick up this style, so sorry for not going deep into most contributions. Nevertheless it was able to get me out of my Death Metal isolation and turns out to be a really cool compilation with mostly unreleased tracks. I look forward to new offerings by STRIKER, REZET and especially new Thrash monster TRACER!! Check these bands because the quality is there! Go to www.ironkodex.de for more info.

Michael Tak

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