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Review: Blackwelder - Survival of the Fittest
Survival of the Fittest

Label: Golden Core Records
Year released: 2015
Duration: 47:53
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: September 3, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Survival of the Fittest

Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (4 Votes)

Blackwelder is a Power Metal super-group lead by singer Ralf Scheepers who is most famous for his work in Primal Fear and before that Gamma Ray. The music is Euro-flavored and the musicianship high, though the keyboards are minimal. Guitarist Andrew Szucs is from the Yngwie school of neo-classical playing and his work should appeal to fans of that style. The band's debut, Survival of the Fittest, is more of a mixed-bag with a first half composed of mainly mid-tempo material in the "I Am a Viking" style and a second half with more traditional double-kick-driven songs. It is on the latter tracks where Scheepers shines. He has crafted some truly catchy choruses and his voice is simply tailor-made to soar over the huge, major chord middle sections of songs like "With Flying Colors" and "Judgment Day." On the slower songs he doesn't seem to be able to generate the same power making songs like "Inner Voice" and "Spaceman" decent but ultimately disposable.

Survival of the Fittest has some great moments but is too uneven to propel Blackwelder into the Power Metal elite. With Scheepers at the helm, though, they will certainly be a band to watch.

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