Warkings – “Revenge” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Keen to match ‘anonymous’ bands like Ghost come Warkings, with even more generic names like The Tribune (vocals), The Crusader (guitars), The Spartan (drums) and The Viking (bass). While I’d normally shy away from something as seemingly contrived as this, knowing that there is a guest appearance by Swiss vocalist Melissa Bonny (Rage Of Light, Evenmore) – a.k.a. the Queen Of The Damned – adds a more serious consideration for Warkings. Matching the vocal talent is the musicianship, notably The Crusader’s mesmerising guitar work, both in its shredding ferocity and blinding neo classical splendour, and backed commendably by the rhythm, making for a truly catchy epic power metal experience on the 10 tracks here. In many cases themed to reflect each character’s concept, ‘Maximus’ typically takes on musclebound Roman proportions from its imperious trumpets to its hugely catchy chorus with matching gladiator lyrics to boot ‘…For the gods and the heavens…We will die on the sand…Like brothers forever…We will stay till the end…’, although The Crusader’s emotional guitar solo adds an unexpectedly mournful touch to the obvious blood and sand on show here, qualifying the quality residing behind his masque. With deep horns and pounding war drums, ‘Odin’s Sons’ echoes its viking inspiration in The Crusader’s catchy grooves and Amon Amarth like melodies as Bonny brings her grim growls almost rapping in spectacular contrast The Tribune’s clean, soulful highs that take on bard like tones themselves. Heavy as the ‘Battle Of Marathon’ itself, The Crusader’s epic power riffs add to the dramatic atmosphere on this truly stirring number which culminates in the unforgettable singalong chorus of ‘… Run – run – run – Marathon…’ as brought to life by The Tribune’s passionate singing of ‘…26 miles, to tell from our pride…he gave it all, he gave his life…’, all the while backed by The Spartan’s thundering double bass drums. So one may well wince and liberally pour disdain on Warkings for their pedestrian look, but the better side of wisdom to concentrate on their music tells me this band are deserving of something better, much better in fact.