To Death and Beyond

I have to admit to a weakness for swords, dragons and battle metal. Unfortunately, quite a bit of that style also happens to be pretty cheesy, so I always enjoy finding a release that has no more than the required amount of cheese and some pretty solid songs. That’s just what I get with this record.To Death and Beyond starts well with the nice, dramatic beginning of “The Wrathforge” and heads into a good gallop before breaking into the Manowar-influenced “Dragonhelm,” which features the almost-required Tolkien lyrics (not that that’s a bad thing by any means as far as I’m concerned.) That leads to one of my favorite tracks on the record, “Finis Mundi,” which opens with a mystical, dark, medieval style synth intro before opening up into an early Maiden-influenced number.

There are a couple of notable misses on the record. “Born in the ’70s” is a real mess. It’s a bit Spinal Tap-ish and really, really silly sounding all the way around. It’s one that probably should have been reconsidered. “Metal from Hellas” has smaller problems when vocalist Marco Concoreggi goes for a soaring Bruce Dickinson-style vocal that comes off a little too thin for the song. Likewise album closer “Death Before Disgrace,” which is perhaps one of the strongest songs on the record from a musical standpoint, loses a bit with the vocals, which I think are intended to sound exotic and end up sounding more like they’re being sung with a lisp. Still, the song is worth a listen for the epic nature and some nice riffing, particularly the chunky gallop around the six-minute mark.

They recover nicely from those missteps though, with songs like “Hyrkanian Blades,” which features one of the heavier riffs on the album and has this huge, adventurous spirit that, fittingly, sounds almost like the soundtrack for a Conan movie. “Warlord of Mars” has some great riffing and a strong chorus. It suffers a little from the “metal warrior” lyrics, but some of that is to be expected and overlooked by fans of the genre.

The band is tight throughout the record and the guitar work of Kostas Tzortis and Manolis Karazeris is top-notch. They deliver some great traditional metal riffing reminiscent of Manowar and Iron Maiden, as well as some nice epic, moody stuff. Though he occasionally tries to overreach a bit, Concoreggi’s vocals are mostly well-done, a good balance between the melodic sound required for the style and the manliness required for the lyrical content. I’d still like to see him give us a little more grit at times, a la Eric Adams.

All in all, if you’re looking for some songs about strapping on your sword and shield and riding into battle, you can’t go wrong with Battleroar.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
July 10th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Dan

    I’ve been on a lo-fi black metal binge lately. This sounds like just the thing to pull me out. The Cruz del Sur tag helps make the sell also. I still thank them every day for Crescent Shield’s ‘The Last of My Kind.’

  2. Commented by: Vance

    Cruz also releases the Pharoah stuff which is excellent American style Power/Heavy Metal with some excellent vocals from Tim Aymar. I will have to look into Battleroar.

    Thanks for the review.

  3. Commented by: Fred Phillips

    I’ve got the review of the new Pharoah coming soon, too. Hopefully this weekend.

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