Review By Mike Paradine
Band: OSMIUM GUILLOTINE
Title: Osmium Guillotine
Label: MGR Records
Released: 06 June 2014
Guitar & Vocals: Peter Keliris
Guitar & Backing Vocals: Lance Steele
Bass & Backing Vocals: Daniel Thurgood
Drums & Backing Vocals: James Balcombe
1. Osmium Guillotine
2. 2. Martyrdom
5. Blight Upon Mankind
6. City of Chaos
9. Into the Battle
10. Breathe It In, Son
I first met the guys in OSMIUM GUILLOTINE a couple years back at the Metal Gods festival that was held at the Intake Club in Mansfield, England. Good guys to hang out with and a band that seemed to have a pulse on the early days on the NWOBHM bands. Before heading home, drummer James Balcombe gave me their first demo, “Into the Battle” which I immediately shoved into my stereo upon arriving home. My first instincts were right and as I recently heard that they had a released a full length CD, I wanted the opportunity to review it.
I have listened to this debut album a dozen times and I’ve come to same conclusion each time. What we have here is a tale of two cities. So let’s observe the city on the right first. The first track that stands out musically is cut number 3 called “D-Day”. The tone and attitude of the music, well actually the whole album, brings us right into the first Iron Maiden album and reminds me a lot of the song, “Iron Maiden”. The band is on fire on this one and the guitar solos literally smoke. As with the Maiden album, the band infuses just enough punk with metal to get your heart racing and saying to oneself, “We have something here”. An excellent conjuring of early British metal. This song should have lead off the album. The first track named after the band is really just an intro which, though has some nice layered textures to it, should have been place somewhere in the middle of the album. Whereas the second song, “Martyrdom”, my least favorite, should have been pushed near the end. With its abrupt, too abrupt, time changes, it doesn’t really get the listener ready for the rest of the album.
A lot of songs feel much like the early Maiden but they do have their own touch to it, which I like. The song “Goomba” is exactly what I described here with its slow doom like tempo, good guitar work and solid, heavy backing…another good one! Not many bands, really none I can think of right now, play this way or have this sound. “Into The Battle” another favorite, begins with a easily listenable riff then screams into some thrashy verses which then reverts to riffs that bring ones ears to, again, Maidens “Charlotte the Harlot”. One this whole album, the band plays with ferocity and heart and seems the have a good future head of them…. except for one roadblock. Now on to the city of the left……
Whereas musically, the songs have a lot of twists and turns, this should be a singers dream. Lots of areas to let go and produce some various melody lines to go with the rhythms. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen here. Almost all the songs only have a verse and chorus, and with the musicianship here, it should have been taken advantage of, adding a pre-chorus or vocal bridges here and there. Also most of the melody lines are very similar in style. It seems like the first idea that came up with was kept. It should have been worked on until they came up with some unique and different just like the music. Vocalist Peter Keliris has a vocal style close to Paul Dianno but sounding more like Paul’s 90lb cousin as several portions are a bit weak. More angst, more dramatic pauses and phrases are very much needed on this album. Hopefully more live experiences will make this happen.
The band itself has great attitude, feel, songwriting skills and an understanding of combining elements of punk, thrash and early metal into one sound. It sounds familiar but also new, not easy to do. Guitarists Peter Keliris and Lance Steele have some catchy double leads and really fire up the fret board when the time calls for it….excellent, excellent work. And as the band morphs into the more brutal, trashy rhythms, bassist Daniel Thurgood and drummer, James Balcombe combine to roll out a heavy metal Sherman tank wall of sound.
It’s hard for me overall to give this album a rating. If it was just based on music, which I completely love, a solid 9. But adding the vocals for me just bring it down to say a 6.5. Hopefully on the next album, the music stays the same high quality while they work on the vocals and bring it to the same level of musicianship.