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Review: Airged L'amh - The Silver Arm
Airged L'amh
The Silver Arm

Label: Black Lotus Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 60:24
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: December 3, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
The Silver Arm

Rated 3.6/5 (72%) (5 Votes)

Never heard of this band before, despite that they have been around for a long time. Airged Lamh (Gaelic for "Silver Arm") are a Greek band. Part of the new wave of True Metal bands emanating from the Hellenic part of the world (Doomsword, Wotan, Battleroar, Lonewolf). This is their second CD, and the first to get any kind of wide distribution. I am as surprised as anyone to see the Black Lotus logo on such a good release, as that label is a pretty reliable indicator of crap. But this kills.

Airged Lamh play a crunchtastic variety of slightly folky speed metal in the general vein of bands like Wizard or Cryonic Temple. They pull in a lot of influences, from folky riffs that remind me of Elvenking to thrashy chugging that recalls Exodus or Heathen, all the way to epic stylings a la Wotan or Human Fortress. But the basis of this music is fast, chunky and crunchy guitar riffing that veers from heavy Traditional Metal all the way over into Thrash and back again. Vocals are clean, and I have to say they are a weak point. Not that Steve Venardo is a bad singer, but his vocal lines need work. He's a perfectly good singer with a lot of energy and charisma, but a lot of the vocal lines here range from mediocre to fairly piss-poor. The vocals and choruses are not really a selling point here, and what they mostly do is simply not distract. The cool part about this band, and what keeps me coming back, are the killer riffs. The guitars here are just an enormous amount of fun, as they rip out song after song of thrashy goodness, then spice it all up with some excellent leads and very tasty Maidenesque harmonizing riffs. There were places this recalled "Powerslave" era Maiden so strongly I could not help but smile. Other spots are so thrashy I would almost think they had slipped into an Exodus song. The production is very good, and the guitars sound great. The mix is perfect, and that's refreshing from a Greek band, as often budgetary troubles can be clearly heard on albums from this part of the world.

So "The Silver Arm" is a great metal album – and at 60 minutes or so you really get your money's worth. The only complaints I can level are at the uninspired vocal melodies and the band's slight but noticeable tendency to go on for too long. If Airged Lamh can tighten up their arrangements and write some vocal chops as good as their guitarwork then we will be looking at a classic album from them next time, no question at all. As it is, "The Silver Arm" is still a highly enjoyable album despite some weaknesses, and shows enormous potential for the future. Recommended.

Track Listing:
  1. Intro – Guardian Of The Ancient Deeds
  2. Fate Of The King
  3. Dissention Seeds
  4. Warp Spasm
  5. Mourning Grief
  6. The Silver Arm
  7. Balor Of The Evil Eye
  8. The Arrival
  9. Armies Assemble
  10. Splendor Divine
  11. Painless Vengeance
  12. EnDomain
  13. Homeland
Other related information on the site
Review: Ode to Salvation (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Interview with George Sofikitis (guitar) on February 12, 2005 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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