Monday, 20 July 2015

Dexter Ward – Neon Lights (2011) / 88%

Hellenic Metal Help Fund part I: Crafted with Love

A series highlighting the interesting bands the Greek underground metal scene has to offer. In this time of need for the legendary country, let's show our support by listening to their rich musical endeavours.

Dexter Ward from the Greek capital city is one of the most impressive trad metal revivalists I've heard in a long time.Fronted by Italian native Marco Concoreggi, the former front man of Battleroar (DW also has one of their ex guitarists), their debut full length is an infectious heavy metal album and I can't get enough of it.

The main element that I really noticed on Neon Lights is the variety of both the songwriting and the lyrical themes. We have some super catchy tracks like “Metal Rites” and its whispering poppy but menacing chorus and also longer, epic tracks like the Viking inspired “Return of the Longships” or “Back to Saigon” about the Vietnam war. They could be interpreted as all over the place but it's not entirely the case, the album has a good sense of unity and there's not many changes in tempos. The diversity of their lyrics is akin to their main influence, the mighty power of Iron Maiden. Albums like “Piece of Mind” or “Powerslave” where quite varied in both musicality and themes and the Greeks are definitely one of their disciples. They also worship the hard rockin' approach of Accept from time to time such as on “Youngblood”.

Marco's vocals are often spiteful, he's a clean vocalist but there's almost a sort of Venom-esque vibe to his vocals while he's mainly a high pitched vocalist and he's great at falsettos. He has a lot of power and range and use his skills well, he never go overboard with unnecessary screams and the likes. He's particularly great in the Maidenesque soft section of the aforementioned Viking track. He's certainly a part of the epic metal elite, mixing a NWOBHM approach with some more modern leanings.

The heavy metal Dexter Ward plays is heavy as hell, quite fast and pretty melodic. The twin guitars are tight, the solos are terrific and numerous and the production coating is simply an awesome fit for their style. It's not too clean or sterile and fits with their 80s. They're a bit derivative though, I mean, they're not really exploring new seas with this debut album and that's totally fine. Nevertheless, the Greeks crafted a tremendous album worth the time of all trad metal fans.

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