Classic American Heavy Metal!

Tyrant - Legions of the Dead (Brainstorm) 1985

1. Warriors of Metal (4:48)
2. Fall into the Hands of Evil (5:19)
3. The Battle of Armageddon (5:12)
4. Legions of the Dead (7:03)
5. Tyrant's Revelation (:51)
6. Listen to the Preacher (3:46)
7. Knight of Darkness (3:27)
8. Thru the Night  (3:24)
9. Sacrifice (6:56)
10. Time Is Running Low (3:57)
11. Free for a While/Leavin' (7:18)

When the first track on the album is titled "Warriors of Metal", is there really any question as to what Tyrant are all about? It's Heavy Metal 101 circa 1985.

Produced by legendary metal legend Bill Metoyer, Tyrant are one of Metal Blade's early signings and are traditional, underground, heavy metal along the lines of early Fates Warning, NAsty Savage, Savage Grace and many of the other bands that appeared on the various Metal Massacre CDs who were equally inspired by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and the NWOBHM. All the key ingredients are here, chugging riffs, masculine vocals, gang shouts, high pitched screams, screaming guitar solos, catchy songs, dark and ominous lyrical themes, cheesy metal intros, etc. For me, it takes me back to a head-banging time when I was in high-school, going to all-ages clubs to catch band like Heathens Rage and Tantrum live. The songs were important, of course, but there was an attitude about the whole thing as well. Denim vests, leather jackets, spike wristbands, torn t-shirts, long hair, etc. That's the vibe this album evokes. It's classic. It's old-school. It's heavy metal!

The track "The Battle of Armageddon" also appeared on Metal Massacre III, though is a different version of the song than the one that appears here. There are two hidden bonus tracks buried at the 5:59 mark of track 10. Both are demo tracks.

I have to add that I nearly spewed my drink when I burst out laughing reading a ridiculous review of this album on in which the reviewer described the singing as, "of the sub-par hair metal variety". Obviously a clueless metal fan if he connects any part of this American arcane steel to "hair metal".

Too Late to Pray Tyrant - Too Late to Pray (Brainstorm) 1987

1.   Tyrant's Revelation II [intro] (1:35)
2.   Too Late to Pray (3:16)
3.   Beyond the Grave (3:16)
4.   Valley of Death (8:19)
5.   The Nazarene (3:43)
6.   Bells of Hades (3:15)
7.   Into the Flames (2:55)
8.   Babylon (5:11)
9.   Verdalack (3:47)
10. Beginning of the End (6:40)
11. Eve of Destruction (4:07)
12. Heavy Steel / You Don't Have to Sell Your Soul (8:16)

Originally released on Metal Blade Records in 1987 and produced by the legendary Bill Metoyer, "Too Late To Pray" is an underground, cult favorite. Tyrant play dark, traditional heavy metal that is equal parts influenced by Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. In other words, Heavy! Metal! Thick, dark, sludgy, guitar-driven, heavy, metal with and ominous feel and a slightly epic vibe. At times the band has an almost doomy feel, while at others they touch on speed metal and the beginnings of thrash metal. "Into the Flames" is an example of an early speed metal song complete with high, soaring screams. The epic "Valley of Death" starts off as a melancholy ballad and builds up to a heavy, mid-paced rocker. Likewise the title track is an upbeat heavy metal romp. Personally, I feel some the best material presented here is when the band have that slow, doomy, ominous feel such as "Bell of Hades", "Beginning of the End" and "Babylon". To get a good mental picture of this band's sound, combine the artful songwriting of Cirith Ungol with the aggression of most 80's thrash bands and the heaviness of Black Sabbath. This is Heavy! Metal!

Vocalist Glen May sings with a coarse, almost grunted, masculine growl to his voice. No, not a death metal growl. Rather, think more on the lines of Cronos from Venom. A a matter of fact, the song "Verdalack" reminds me of classic Venom, and my very well have been inspired by the dark NWOBHM band.

In complete contrast to the black metal bands of the time, Tyrant's lyrics take more of a Christian slant, even though they deal with rather dark topics such as sorrow, hell, the apocalypse and fighting evil. However, they don't come off as preachy, but rather more along the lines of classic Trouble.

The two bonus tracks are buried in track eleven, which is actual 14:07 because of the three tracks and the moments of silence between them. Sort of annoying actually. I wish they would have just been added as regular tracks or left off. "Heavy Steel" starts off with a very recognizable Sabbath riff before bursting into an upbeat speed metal song. "You Don't Have to Sell Your Soul" is a ominous acoustic ballad.

King of Kings Tyrant - King of Kings (Brainstorm) 1996

1. "Tyrant's Revelation III" (2:40)
2. "King of Kings" (6:04)
3. "Fast Lane" (4:10)
4. "Dance With The Devil" (5:00)
5. "Ancient Fire" (7:59)
6. "Nowhere to Run" (3:34)
7. "When Night Fall" (4:00)
8. "Tighten the Vice" (5:53)
9. "Coast to Coast" (5:54)
10. "War" (3:35)

Held off writing anything about this disc for a while, not because I didn't like it, but because I wasn't sure exactly what to say about it. I am actually surprised I hadn't heard this CD before. I am always on the lookout for good, traditional heavy metal bands, especially with Christian slanted lyrics, and Tyrant is certainly a good Christian metal band. Produced by Metal Blade/heavy metal guru Bill Metoyer this disc reminds me of October 31, both in music style and in vocal style. What is most impressive about Tyrant is that they are straight forward heavy metal. They don't mix in elements of thrash, or progressive metal, or anything modern. They just play heavy metal! Few bands were doing this awesome style in the 90's. Gotta love that, right? I know I do.

Tyrant also have tracks on Metal Massacre and 2000 A Second Coming compilations.

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