By David Pearce (proofread by Diane Parkes)
Artist – SOLDIER
Album – Dogs of War
Label – Starhaven Records
Year – 2013
1. Dogs of War
2. I Can’t Breathe
4. The Eye
5. Lock ‘n’ Load
7. Demon in the Room
8. I Am
10. Take Me Home
11. No Man’s Land
13. Crash Course
14. The Hanging Tree
SOLDIER are a British band formed in 1979, featuring Garry Phillips (vocals), Ian Dick (guitar), Steve Barlow (bass guitar) and Ian Astrop (drums). Since then there have been a lot of line up changes, then after about twenty years they formed again in 2002-2003. The original line up of Garry Phillips, Ian Dick, Steve Barlow and Ian Astrop then recorded the ‘Infantrycide’ E.P. which came out in 2002.
“We wanted to put something out quite quickly and when we listened back to the old stuff I loved the riff in ‘Infantrycide’. The ‘Live Forces’ recording is very poor audio quality and I thought it would be great to record it properly. Also I always thought the original recording of ‘Silver Screen Teaser’ sounded more like a blues song, and had always wanted to record it beefed up. So with those two, and two new songs, we had an E.P.”
In 2013 the new release from SOLDIER is ‘Dogs Of War’. This is very much a contemporary metal album, although as Ian notes: “We have still managed to retain the NWOBHM sound in the songs, and in the production of the album too. In my opinion it is a very strong album – there are no tracks we just threw in to fill the running time: they are all really good songs. Speaking for me, this album represents what I have been trying to achieve as a songwriter and musician for many years, and I truly believe this is the strongest material SOLDIER have produced to date.”
The first song on the album is ‘Dogs of War’ and the first thing that hits you is a cracking intro’ riff, full of power and instantly getting my feet tapping. The vocals are clean and the lyrics are catchy in the chorus, and with the twin guitars and a superb solo, overall a great start to the album. The next three songs are ‘I Can’t Breathe’, Fireflies’ and ‘The Eye’ and all these songs have great twin guitar riffs, very good strong lyrics and stunning solo’s, typical of the NWOBHM genre.
The fifth song on the album is ‘Lock ‘N’ Load’ , that starts with a strong intro’ riff with pounding drums, and then the vocals come soaring in with purpose. The song has lyrics that you can easily relate to, and sing along with; the twin guitar solos are just awesome. The next three songs are ‘Bedlam’, ‘Demon In The Room’ and ‘I Am’ and all of these songs have got some amazing vocals and lyrics. The guitar work is sensational and the drums keep the beat perfectly. These are all top quality songs.
The ninth song on the album is ‘Forever’ and starts with a classic riff which gets my head nodding instantly, the song itself is great, the guitars on it are out of this world with some superb solos, and the riff carries on through the song. The vocals are top quality, just what you would expect from a band of this quality. The next three songs are ‘Take Me Home’, No Mans Land’ and a new take on the old song, ‘Sheralee’. These songs are superb in every way, the guitar work right through to the vocals, and the drums pounding out the rhythm; they are classic NWOBHM songs.
The thirteenth song is ‘Crash Course’ and is an instrumental which starts off with a classic style riff, this goes through the whole song, but then the second the guitar comes in with a great solo which blends into the song perfectly. The final song on the album is ‘The Hanging Tree’ which is an acoustic song. This shows just how versatile the band is, I could listen to this song all day, it is so soothing and mellow, a perfect ending to a great album.
Overall, this album is as great, coming from the NWOBHM genre. “Dogs Of War” has some great classic twin guitar riffs and solos and the vocals are just out of this world. I would easily put this album right at the top; in my opinion if you like the old NWOBHM then you will love this. SOLDIER have outdone themselves with this classic album.
Album Rating 10/10
Richard Frost – Vocals
Ian Alan Dick – Electric and Acoustic Guitars
Miles Goodman – Electric Guitars
Steve Barlow – Bass Guitar
Alex Smith – Drums