Elixir – “Voyage Of The Eagle” (Dissonance Productions)
Battle Helm Rating
Wow, talk about pure heavy metal for true headbangers! Formed back in 1983 at the tail end of the NWOBHM, Elixir at one point featured famed Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr in their line up and their 1986 debut “The Son Of Odin” still ranks as one of the Top 20 Power Metal albums of all time! Despite a hiatus in the 90s, Elixir came back with a vengeance (and their classic line up) at the turn of the century, rising with the ever growing true metal movement to release 4 full length albums and play festivals like Headbangers Open Air and Keep It True which have brought their cult name to ever growing crowds. “Voyage Of The Eagle” is the band’s 6th release and proves why they are still very much sought after, taking their inspiration from legends like Sabbath, Priest, Lizzy and Maiden although the material, which has an authentic early 80s feel to it, is still very much their own. What jumps out on “Voyage Of The Eagle” is the sheer range of styles across the 10 tracks spanning late 70s hard rock and occult rock to NWOBHM and melodic rock, all of which are handled commendably thanks to the veteran prowess of this cult band. Vocalist Paul Taylor especially deserves a mention for his singing versatility in being able to handle it all, from his epic tones on the power resonating opener ‘Drink To The Devil’ with its heavy pulsating riffs beautifully complemented by Thin Lizzy twin guitar melodies to the drum hammering, bluesy wailing guitar soaked ‘Press Ganged’, complete with plenty of heavy hooks and Taylor’s vocals having a slight Bon Scott edge to ’em – sweet! Slowing down for the bluesy doom on ‘The Siren’s Song’, the heavy but catchy main riff is superbly contrasted by Taylor’s high but clean style along with some haunting whispers which over the course of the song’s 7 minute length, don’t just have plenty of time to soak into your skin, but actually evolves with psych passages and trippy female wails adding their own cosmic 70s dimension to make this one helluva metal for muthas number! Letting rip with those Lizzy melodies along with some punchy hard rock riffs on ‘Almost There’, Taylor’s Bon tones add the sassy icing although the twist of the melodic crooning chorus again shows an unpredictable aspect to make this an Elixir song in its own measure, right up to the bluesy solos from guitarists Phil Denton and ‘Stormin” Norman Gordan – nicely done lads. Turning heads yet again on the ballad ‘Whisper On The Breeze’ with its delicate acoustics, atmospheric keys and soft bass that gave way to an amazing lead whose soaring passion could melt a stadium, Taylor matches again in fine style through his own heartbreaking soul to make it a true tissue moment. With friendships to the aforementioned Clive Burr and also Maiden vocalist Paul Di’anno, closer ‘Evermore’ was a fast piece complete with plenty of Maiden gallops and melodies although again more in the inspiration rather than anything overt, while Taylor added in his own power while commendably not ushering in a scream! It’s been almost a decade since we last heard from this great band and now Elixir have returned with a release befitting their revered cult status and loyal following over the years – and that’s 10 years overdue in my opinion!