On their second studio album “Mach II”, Australian metal tyrants ROAD WARRIOR push traditional metal forward with fist-clenching manliness while remaining true to the past.
ROAD WARRIOR bassist/vocalist Denimal Blake is a songwriter by trade, metalhead at heart and proud purveyor of metaphor.
When discussing his manner of collecting songwriting ideas for the band’s second album, “Mach II“, he envisioned himself as a massive, ancient dragon, perched atop a giant stockpile of precious riffs, jealously guarding each and every one, no matter how tarnished and old. Through the age-old process of riff elimination and songwriting maturation, “Mach II” was born, an album that brings forth “more” of everything from ROAD WARRIOR’s sonic arsenal in comparison to their 2018 “Power” debut: More melodies, more guitar harmonies, more solos and more vocals. In fact, the word “more” was thrown about so much that Blake joked the album should have been called More II instead of Mach II. “Mach II”, though, is fitting since it is a more sophisticated offering than its predecessor.
Recorded at Against the Grain Studios in Adelaide, South Australia with producer Andy Kite, “Mach II” is the sound of a band maturing while remaining true to its traditional heavy metal roots, walking the proverbial tightrope in trying to preserve the past while attempting to push forward into less-chartered territory. The album — with the exception of “Fox Devils Wild” — rests largely in swaggering, barrel-chested mid-tempo, fist-banging terrain, a space previously occupied by greats such as Crimson Glory and Savatage, benefitting from the classic metal-tinged guitar playing of Ben “Overdryve” Newsome and rock-solid timekeeping of drummer Dillon “Villon.”
On “Mach II”, Blake and company tackle themes such as ancient gods, freemasons, the collapse of civility, warrior castes and regicide, all with the notion of balancing content with sing-ability, one of the album’s defining traits thanks to Blake’s street-tough, but melodious vocals. (“Trying to sing a pre-written piece of poetry over a song can often be like trying to push a marshmallow into a coin slot,” he jokes.) Even with such a balancing act, ROAD WARRIOR transcends 1980s retro metal mongering with a firm, stout degree of attitude and defiance, rarely heard in the traditional metal scene.
Ultimately, there is an underlying element of tongue-in-cheek within ROAD WARRIOR’s music. In the mind of Blake and his bandmates, everything serious and even threatening should be discounted as a product of the grand jest of life. After all, humor weakens the enemy and girds the will of free men.
Official Track Stream:
1. Tonight’s the Nightmare (4:02)
2. Fox Devils Wild (3:17)
3. Fiends Behind the Scenes (3:24)
4. Thunder n’ Fighting (5:48)
5. The Diamond Forge (4:36)
6. Nocturnal Arrest (4:55)
7. Wired (4:10)
8. Rest for the Wicked (6:28)
Denimal – Vocals, Bass
Overdryve – Guitars
Villon – Drums