Mythra – “Still Burning” (High Roller Records)
Having recently witnessed this cult NWOBHM act at Hard Rock Hell in Sheffield and been duly impressed by their performance this album’s title is a pretty apt one! Clearly unwilling to rest on past glories or rehash a retro cash in, Mythra have commendably opted to bring their authentic NWOBHM style to a modern generation of metallers as well as oldsters like me who remember them back in the day. Grabbing the bull by the horns, they flew to Poland to record this album in one go with High Roller god, Bart Gabriel and despite being their first new album for 14 years, these seasoned veterans deliver what discerning headbangers like me yearn for! Still with their late 70s founding core of guitarist John Roach, bassist Maurice Bates and vocalist Vince High, the band have consistently fought against the odds over the years and that energy definitely comes across in their live show as well as the material here, a mixture of British hard rock, proto metal and pure heavy metal mayhem! Led by High’s vocals, gamely soulful yet tinged with a hint of rough, come the twin guitars of Alex Perry joining the aforementioned Roach, chugging and warbling effortlessly in unison while comfortably offering individual lead breaks along with fluid solos – all naturally in a classic NWOBHM style. Along with the power and energy, there’s melody across the numbers along with a healthy dose of chanting chorus lines – something playing very much to High’s tune especially for those who’ve witness his crowd rousing singalongs! From ‘Sands Of Time’ which starts ambiently before roaring into big riffs and thundering drums with an epic galloping groove to ‘That Special Feeling’ with Simon Davies bringing in some light double bass drumming to increase the tempo while the twin guitars warble in those melodies to match Vince’s easy rocker vocals, it’s all across the 11 memorable tracks here. For me, the standout number had to be ‘A Call To All’ with its ballsy yet catchy chugging groove and of course, it’s singalong potential graced once again by the shining, metallic guitars of Roach and Perry – sweet! An excellent comeback even my today’s standards, “Still Burning” resonates the true essence of NWOBHM but with a modern sound and feel.