SPLIT HEAVEN – Death Rider
Pure Steel Records
“Death Rider” is a morbid title no doubt about that, but it brings happy memories to the fans of U.S. epic metal since OMEN have a great song with this name. I don’t know if SPLIT HEAVEN had that in mind when they decided to give this title to their new release, but surely it created to me a positive energy to listen to this album.
I do appreciate the metal bands that don’t rush things up and release an album when they feel ready to do so. “Death Rider” comes 3 years after the previous release of the band under the title “The Devil’s Bandit” and of course it has all the elements that characterize the sound of SPLIT HEAVEN which is 80’s oriented heavy metal with lots of speed metal elements. Things here, though, have matured for the band since they have managed to fully embody their influences and create a release that might sound reminiscent, but on the other hand you feel the identity of the band all over the songs.
Their label suggests that the new album of the band is U.S. metal oriented, well personally I think that it is more into European metal since the way these guys structure their songs moves on the same path as bands like JUDAS PRIEST and ACCEPT did and still do. They have a firm rhythm section upon which the guitars create the character of each song that is included here. There are also times that they reminded me of another new band which I appreciate highly and I mean METAL INQUISITOR.
Finally the new singer of the band Jason Conde-Houston who is also in SKELATOR (another great band) offers a passionate performance and gives to the album even more character.
From a traditional heavy metal band all we need is good songs that sound fresh and not clones of the classic ones of this genre and SPLIT HEAVEN manage here to bring memories and yet create an album based on their own musical identity.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis