ArcticFlame: Shake The Earth

After his impressive debut solo album Death In The Family earlier in the year, songwriter/drummer Mike Paradine returns with his ‘day job’ ArcticFlame and its unleashing of storming new album Shake The Earth. The album is the fourth full length release from the band and is a deeply impressive and invigorating explosion of classic and power metal brought with a distinct and rich imagination.

It has to be said such was the great pleasure brought by The Mike Paradine Group and their aforementioned album, which found acclaim and strong media response including regularly play on the likes of The Bone Orchard podcast from The Reputation Radio Show, that there was a heightened anticipation for the next release from the New Jersey quintet which Paradine founded in 2001. The album feeds those expectations and more with ten majestic slices of metal to captivate and fire up any rock and metal heart. Wonderfully eclectic yet soaked in the classic essences of metal throughout it is a release which concretes the reputation of ArcticFlame as one of the most accomplished and essential bands around.

From those early times when Paradine, upon leaving previous band Balistik Kick, set about forming a band influenced by the traditional metal of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead, ArcticFlame has been on a constant rise. From their first ever gig supporting Thin Lizzy, shared stages with bands such as Motorhead, Overkill, Helloween, WASP, and their well received EP of 2005 through their debut album Primeval Aggressor of 2006 and its successor Declaration of 2008, the band has risen higher and grown stronger stage by stage. Unexpected changes in 2010 could not make an obstacle for the band for long as the new line-up of Paradine, new vocalist Michael Clayton Moore, guitarist Sebastian Garcia, and returning original bassist Jeff Scott, emerged stronger and more determined. 2011 saw Alex Schuster join their ranks as second guitarist and the release of third album Guardian At The Gate which marked the band as one of the most powerful and enthralling melodic metal bands around.

Shake The Earth not only builds on what came before but throws the band up with the giants of the genre, their incendiary sounds and sharp imagination a sonic explosion of skill and passion. The album is a brew of multiple flavours which sets it apart from similar styled releases. Their melodic prowess again runs as a controlled riot throughout whilst the generated energies are as rampant and hungry as any offering anywhere. These strengths are fused with an array of grooves and disharmonies compound the full ignition of the passions, their discordant breath an inspired counter to the scorching and inventive melodies which burn from within every song.

The opener Man Made Man instantly piques interest with its electrified strokes across the ear, their sparks slowly blistering the air whilst heralding the following predatory stomp of badgering riffs and heavily jabbing rhythms. The vocals of Clayton Moore as expected are immense proving he is one of the best metal vocalists around and immersed in the surging guitars sounds, a wonderfully snarling bass from Scott, plus the unmissable power and mighty punches from Paradine, it all combines to show the band is pushing new heights. It is a thunderous start with a song which will rile the passions for fans across the years.

Two Sides Of The Bullet and Last Chance continue the high octane adrenaline riling enjoyment. The first is a pulse racing bruise of a track which fires up any passions still only simmering from the opener whilst the second simply enflames the soul with its abrasive intensity and incisive melodic dazzle. Both offer rock n roll at its best, neither arguably trying to break down boundaries but simply conjuring the freshest most majestic sounds from existing palettes.

The punk rawness of Call In The Priest as it rampages like a bull increases the heart rate whilst songs like Rider Of The Headless Horseman and the excellent Run To Beat The Devil only leave raptures with their melodic charms and insatiable hearts. The last of these three especially shows how the band, their craft and songwriting, has reached yet another level which can only reward fans and music alike.

The album ends with a cover of the Uriah Heep song Rain and the power ballad Seasons In The Cemetery (Gardens Of Stone), the first a vocal and piano treat passing to the second and its orchestral kiss upon the ear brought with a power metal embrace. If there is only one minor quibble about Shake The Earth it is that as it progresses the earlier charging energy dissipates, though the quality remains at the same impressive height, making it a little top heavy in adrenaline. Just a minor complaint and the placing of tracks as they are do allow one to recover the loss of breath which results from the first three quarters of the album.

Shake The Earth is outstanding and easily one of the best melodic metal albums this year, and ArcticFlame… well they simply make the best kind of metal to leave one energised and fulfilled.

http://www.arcticflamemetal.com

RingMaster 11/09/2012

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