school headbangers will surely rejoice over this debut release from Southern California's Crescent Shield
. The Last of My Kind
serves up eleven tracks of unadulterated, traditional heavy metal that's sure to leave your fingers numb from playing air guitar and your brains rattling in your skull.
I honestly didn't think I'd hear this kind of music coming from an American band ever again, but Crescent Shield
manage to exploit everything I ever loved about metal in its formative years. I was immediately impressed with Michael Grant's commanding, melodic vocal style. He's got great range without sounding overly operatic ... kind of a cross between the late J.D. Kimball and an early Bruce Dickinson
The rest of the band are no slackers, either. The Last of My Kind
is chock full of brilliantly executed guitar work that's both technical and powerful, courtesy Dan DeLucie. In fact, all of the compositions on this album exhibit larger-than-life qualities without being over-the-top. And
, I think special props should go to the team of Craig Anderson and Melanie Sisneros (drums and bass respectively). Craig's magic double bass and Melanie's furious fingers really bring in a powerful low end, without which this music could not effectively exist.
Of course, no record of this magnitude would be complete without at least one epic tune. Enter the title track. I was instantly transported back in time ; back to the days when musicianship mattered ... and this song certainly has no deficiency there. The ambitious blend of classical flavor, inspired lyrics and screaming solos are perfectly complimented by Crescent Shield
's utterly brutal rhythm section, making it an instant metal classic in my book.
Overall, The Last of My Kind
is an outstanding balance of structure, power and speed, stunningly wrapped in breathtaking artwork. Forged in the fires of bands like Omen
, Fates Warning
and Jag Panzer
, it may very well be the last of its kind and no metal collection would be complete without it. But, if this is just a preview of things to come from Crescent Shield
in the future, then I'd say they're sure to enjoy a very successful career in metal for years to come.