Grim Reaper – “Walking in the Shadows” (Dissonance)
Blimey, it must be close to 30 years since this cult British band released a new album! One of the new bulldog breed during the early 80s along with Savage, Chateaux and Samurai who ably mixed aggression with melody, Grim Reaper soon rose to fame thanks to their cult classic, “See You In Hell’. Despite commercial success through European and US tours playing alongside the Scorpions, Bon Jovi and Deep Purple, 3 albums later and problems with their label – as well as the changing genre landscape – saw the band fold in 1988. Vocalist Steve Grimmett went on to sing in Onslaught before forming melodic rock band Lionsheart, while guitarist Nick Bowcott opted to work in the industry firstly as a writer and later, on instructional videos. In 2006, Grimmett formed a new version of Grim Reaper, initially using the lineup from his solo band and went from strength to strength largely due to the growing ‘true metal’ market, which allowed the band to capitalize on its cult legacy – as well as Grimmett’s uncanny resemblance to Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos! “Walking in the Shadows” has been several years in the making but I am hugely impressed by it as it stays true to the band’s original sound of mixing melodies with metallic power! Grimmett’s voice itself is still remarkably in shape and able to hit the highs as well as being soulful – not band for a 57 year old!! While Bowcott’s mark across the past material is indelible, new guitarist (and longtime associate of Grimmett) Ian Nash is a fitting successor, possessed of the same thick n raw sound ably dishing out true metal riffola alongside majestic melodies, not to mention those wild, blinding solos on ripping tracks like ‘From Hell’, ‘Come Hell Or High Water‘ and ‘Blue Murder‘ – a quality seldom heard these days in today’s genre rigid bands. With an excellent production to boot, the 12 tracks resonate the essence of Grim Reaper as well as an authentic sound made only possible through original purveyors of this style. Completed by Chaz Grimaldi (bass) and drummer Paul White providing a rock solid back beat (along with some conventional double bass drumming runs) “Walking in the Shadows” is a truly respectable album that both fans and the band can be proud of!