Blazon Rite
Dulce Bellum Inexpertis EP

I swear to Christ. I don’t know what it is, but I just cannot seem to get enough of this whole NWOTHM thing going on right now (that’s New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, for those of you who don’t know or just hate inane acronyms). I guess it’s just the overall tongue-in-cheek, no-fucks-given attitude that seems to be a prerequisite for these goofy modern purveyors of epic heavy metal that just naturally gravitates to me, the perfect kind of soundtrack for a middle aged dork like me to rock out in my garage on a Friday night with a few beers while messing around with gear and getting ready for my weekend warrior fishing adventures… Ok so it’s not slugging mead with fellow warriors in a great castle on the eve of battle, but let me have my fucking fantasies, Gods damn it!

One of the latest in this trend is this sweet little EP from Philly’s very own Blazon Rite four tracks of traditional heavy metal oozing with just enough sleeze to make things a little dirtier, and maybe even a little more fun than some of their genre counterparts – much of this due to singer Johnny Halladay’s enthusiastic, if somewhat unrefined vocal stylings. There’s no question on opening track “The Warriors Choice (Take Me Away),” that the dude is having a ball, belting out every word with everything he’s got and leaning fully into whatever persona he’s got envisioned in his head.

And the rest of the band seems to be enjoying themselves quite a bit as well. After laying on the cheese good and thick at the beginning of “Diamond Daggyr,” the band opens the taps and rocks out an early-Maiden riff that would get any self-respecting metal fan good and rowdy (especially one that maybe had a few beers in ‘em). The song even features a fun little “breakdown” that I’m sure would just be a fucking blast to hear live.

The band gets cosmic on “Into the Expanse (Solar Portals and Celestial Holes)” – continuing their dedication to subtitles, and the driving, sing-along-inspiring metal that defines these dudes. About halfway through, the band changes the pace and introduces some surprisingly interesting and layered acoustic flourishes before unleashing a friggin’ smoking hot solo and double-timing their way to an absolute banger of a finish.

After a nice little acoustic intro, closing track “Udug Hul (Summons You)” – these guys fucking LOVE parentheses – the band launches full-bore into the album’s thrashiest riff, before breaking things down yet again into an interesting little atmospheric bridge that again shows glimpses of this band’s actual artistic caliber. It’s a fitting end to this quick-hitter.

It’s understandable that most folks are either all-in on this kind of thing, or not interested in the least. Truth be told, one look at this album’s cover, and 98% of you probably already know where you stand on this. But for the last 2% still on the fence, I say go ahead and dive into this thing and just try to enjoy the show, you might catch the NWOTHM bug like I have.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
August 21st, 2020

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