Reverence - Gods Of War

11 songs
53:03 minutes
***** ****
Razar Ice


There is not much to say about Reverence, except that some of the musicians have played already in better known metal bands. Drummer Steve Wacholz is probably their most popular member for having been in Savatage and Crimson Glory. One guitarist, Bryan Holland, once played on two live albums of NWOBHM legend Tokyo Blade, and vocalist Todd Michael Hall is currently active in many bands, with Jack Starr’s Burning Starr and Riot being the ones you might be familiar with.

All of this name dropping should reveal from the start that we are in the presence of a classic US power metal band, albeit one that has some roots to early metal legends like Judas Priest and Ronnie James Dio. Other parallels can be drawn to Riot (obviously), Vicious Rumors, Queensr˙che. The exquisite dual guitar work occasionally recalls six string legends like Eddie Van Halen or the late Randy Rhoads.

It is no surprise that from a formal point of view, Reverence have a huge background in all of the classics, but much more importantly, the guitar team of Bryan Holland and Pete Rossi are tremendous songwriters that effortlessly come up with memorable power metal songs with catchy choruses. The excellent vocals range usually in higher regions, somewhere between Riot and Ronnie James Dio, and are complemented by well done melodic backing vocals during the choruses. The guitar solos and duels are absolutely flawless. The songs vary from quite heavy and aggressive material like the opener and title track over more anthemic power metal hymns to the occasional ballad. Frankly it’s the stuff in the middle that works best for the band: the pathos never feels overdone, and one is reminded of the really great power metal records of the late Eighties (Thundersteel, Digital Dictator). The production is of course adapted to the new millennium, but in a good way. Everything is extremely powerful yet always remains transparent.

These five guys from Michigan are no longer youngsters, probably all in the mid-Forties and a little older, and may not look like aspiring metal stars, but don’t be mistaken. Gods Of War is a wonderfully enjoyable power metal gem that harkens back to a glorious time over a quarter century ago, but thanks to the ingenious songwriting and the dust free production, it should also appeal to younger metalheads that are only just discovering the classics. Old school metal fans will definitely feel tears welling up in their eyes.

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