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Review: Various Artists - A Crack in the Sky
Various Artists
A Crack in the Sky

Label: Pitch Black Records
Year released: 2022
Duration: 1:19:00
Tracks: 16
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: April 17, 2022
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
A Crack in the Sky

Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (3 Votes)

Warlord was a band with a legend far exceeding their recorded output. Between their formation in 1980 and their 2002 full-length, Rising Out of the Ashes, they only released a couple of singles and the legendary Deliver Us EP (the album And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun...was essentially a live recording of songs that were on the EP and one of the singles), but that sparse output rippled throughout the heavy metal community, touching fans, many of whom were also musicians, in a myriad of ways.

With the death of founding member/guitarist/songwriter William Tsamis in 2021, Pitch Black Records has put together A Crack in the Sky (taking its title from a line in "Deliver Us from Evil"), a collection of Warlord covers from mostly newer bands though many you've undoubtedly heard of. The collection features all the songs from Deliver Us and the early singles plus a selection of tracks from Rising Out of the Ashes and The Holy Empire. Standout versions include "Lost and Lonely Days" (Sumerlands), "Aliens" (Mirror), "70,000 Sorrows" (Claymorean) and "Stygian Passage" (Eternal Champion). The power and atmosphere of these songs are palpable even as these bands put their own spin on them. If you aren't playing air guitar or drums, I don't see how you can be listening. Some of the earlier material proves challenging for bands like Reflection ("Winter Tears"), Solitary Sabred ("Black Mass") and Forsaken ("Lucifer's Hammer"), but how much of that is me holding these versions up to the impeccable originals and naturally finding the new takes lacking is hard to say. Those original vocals and Tsamis' intricate solos are hard to emulate. What is undeniable is that these songs, whether the ones from the '80s or the later material, are excellent regardless of whose hands they are in. And it is clear that every band participating in this collection, no matter how close they get to the originals, adores these songs and is giving their all to do them justice.

Any fan of Warlord has heard "Deliver Us from Evil" and "Child of the Damned" and all the others so many times it is probably beyond count but if you are like me, you'll gladly listen to them again, even when done by different musicians. A Crack in the Sky is as respectful and honest a collection of covers you're likely to find and it is full of some of the best heavy metal ever written.

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