Age Of Taurus – “The Colony Slain” (Rise Above Records)
Oh wow, I wonder if Kevin Heybourne’s heard this band, cos they sound an awful lot like classic Angel Witch. Right from olde London town and firmly rooted in that golden era of British Heavy Metal known as the NWOBHM comes Age Of Taurus, as if from that time itself! Formed in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Toby Wright, the band has scored an absolute wonder in bringing into its fold none other than legendary bassist Leo Smee (With The Dead / ex-Cathedral), along with famed producer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Angel Witch / Paradise Lost /Ghost /Cathedral /Primordial), making this sophomore one helluva stand out record! Taking on Heybourne’s cult formula of blending dark and heavy riffs with pagan occult melodies and ethereally soulful vocals to great sophistication, Wright follows suit, although adding 80s metallic elements and doom drawn from Candlemass, while sticking with the quintessential English sound and vibe, honed through the 70s and brought to fruition through the NWOBHM. That said, what makes the “The Colony Slain” appeal is that ironically, it is not a ‘retro’ album as such, but a modern extrapolation so full marks to all concerned for such a classy release, right down to the earthy sound! From the hard chopping riffs that give rise to the dark gloom enshrouding ‘For Treason We Rise’, Wright’s soulful vocals and tender harmonies add the stark and beautiful contrast, while on ‘To Seal A Mountain’ it’s his guitar, along with sidekick Daniel Knight that drives the track through slow, power riffs and a rollicking mid section where Smee’s heavy ass bass joins in for a serious headbanging moment – definitely a metal fer muthas moment woaarrrgghhh! Standout track for me was the quite different ‘In Dreams We Die’ with its superb twin guitar melodies that really lifted the song into an almost epic true metal style, graced by Wright’s tender vocals made all the more powerful through the ambience in places. Like I said, anyone with a familiarity with Angel Witch’s early work will take to this like a fish to water, but Wright n Smee have done a righteous thing here by bringing it all back and with heaps of pedigree to match!