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Review: Challenger - Turned to Dust
Turned to Dust

Label: Dying Victims Productions
Year released: 2019
Duration: 19:05
Tracks: 4
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: November 4, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (8 Votes)

Challenger are a Slovenian act whose generic name belies their pedigree. See, this band was formed by former Vigilance guitarist/vocalist Jakob Rejec, whose performance on both ends was a clear highlight of their debut, Queen of the Midnight Fire. I was pretty happy to find out he had another project to work his magic with, and even happier to hear him producing material of similar quality on their debut EP, Turned to Dust.

Musically, this is pretty similar to Vigilance in that it bows low before the altar of classic '80s Metal like Iron Maiden and Omen, only Challenger don't have the same occult atmosphere and are more modern in their approach. That's not to say this is less enjoyable, and in fact Jakob's guitar work is much sharper and his songwriting is more consistently engaging. He's also really stepped up as a vocalist, belting out his mighty wailing highs more often while his mid-range sounds more confident and energized, and his harsh vocals have gotten more venomous and fit the songs better than in the past. The compositions can end up being closer to a pile of riffs than actual songs, but when all the pieces come together, as they do on the excellent closing track "Challenger", they recreate that timeless old-school magic without being too imitative of any one band, and they do it better than most wannabe retro acts could ever hope to muster. At under 20 minutes, it's a little too short for me to rate it any higher, but if this is any indication of what a full-length will look like, then I'm excited to see what this band does next, and you should be too. Recommended.

More about Challenger...
Review: Turned to Dust (reviewed by MetalMike)
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