|Review: Leslie Ripp - The Riddle of Steel|
|The Riddle of Steel|
Label: Sliptrick Records
Year released: 2022
Genre: Metal/Hard Rock
Review online: July 18, 2022
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
for:The Riddle of Steel
Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (7 Votes)
Leslie Ripp is a Hawaiian guitarist best known for his work with underground legends Rat Attack back in the early ‘80s, but he’s apparently been very active in his local scene since that time playing in various clubs and, more recently, starting his own one-man instrumental project. The Riddle of Steel is his 7th release within 5 years (8th if you count his rerecording of Rat Attack’s debut), and if it’s anything to go off of, it’s fair to say he’s still got it.
This album is a good old-fashioned slice of rocking, commercially oriented Metal that takes as much inspiration from Iron Maiden and Omen as it does Def Leppard and Scorpions. With Leslie being a guitar player first and foremost, it’s unsurprising that the bulk of the music is held up by wailing solos, but rather than being mindless, indulgent shredding, they essentially take the place of vocals in the top end and give the songs energy and momentum while being backed by a respectable rhythm section and some cool, cheesy synth work. There are some killer tracks on this, like the blazing opener "Flesh and Burn," the pounding title cut, and the epic, moody highlight "Tree of Woe," but also some middling songs like "Kingdom Crom" and the silly "Thulsa Doom," and overall the album is at its best when it leans more on the metal than the bluesy hard rock. Still, this is old-school music made by an old-school veteran with all the energy and professionalism that implies, and that’s more than enough to make this worth your time.
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