|Review: Battleroar - Battleroar|
Label: Omicron Music
Year released: 2003
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: January 29, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Oh yeah. This one caught me by surprise, as I had never heard of this band. Shame, shame on me. As big a fan of old-school heavy metal as I am, and I missed this one. I have to give a big thanks to Tony, who turned me on to this band. I guess among the Battlelore, the Battlesword, and the Battlelust, I sort of overlooked Battleroar, and that's not good, because Battleroar fucking rule.
If you like Doomsword, Omen, Manilla Road or even older Iron Maiden, then this is a must-have, heed me. Battleroar play huge, long, epic songs full of crunching riffs and headbanger rhythms that just never quit. Like all my fave bands of this kind they don't drag one riff out into a seven-minute song, but pack every epic with riff after riff after riff. Just when you think you have heard all the cool stuff in the song, they come up with something new and cool to keep your fist in the air. They have that rolling crunch style like Doomsword, with that midpaced epic thing Omen and Maiden used to do so well, and in places this really reminds me of Twisted Tower Dire's first CD. There really aren't any fast songs here, but I don't give a rat's ass, because I love this kind of sprawling doom-hymn stuff. I wish the production was a bit punchier, as the recording job is certainly not bad, but this album should sound HUGE. I trust this will be fixed on later releases (or I hope). The vocals are good, but not great – again I think this was probably a result of not enough recording budget. There is nothing wrong with Marco Congoreggi's voice (in fact he sounds a lot like Nightcomer – Doomsword's old singer.) But he sounds like he's just not delivering his best performance.
The lyrics are all focused on the kind of battle-and-blood themes I like: Gladiators, Elric, Ancient Egypt, Cyborg Warriors etc. Maybe not that original, but very very cool. Battleroar do get cred for writing a song about "Almuric" – perhaps one of the most obscure Robert E Howard books ever. And I thought I was the only one who had a copy.
This is just old-school, low-fi metal rulage. The production is a bit rough, and I really think these guys could do better with more studio time. But I will take this ahead of keyboard-soaked happy-flower metal any fucking day of the week, and Battleroar get extra points for playing a kind of metal that is A: in short supply and B: I really, really love. There is not enough room for me to detail every song and why they rule, or how much I love them all. Suffice to say I have not taken this much pleasure in a CD since Ironsword, or Cauldron Born's "Rome Shall Fall" And despite the flaws which prevent me from giving it a perfect score, I can tell you this album will be spending a lot of time in my CD player. Two big fucking metal thumbs up.
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