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Monday, October 18, 2021

Review: Sceptor – Rise to the Light

Date: September 24th, 2021

Label: Pure Steel Records

German/American band Sceptor had a turbulent history. After numerous lineup changes, split up in 2014 and resurrection in 2019, they are back with their 3rd album “Rise to the Light”.

Naturally, Bob Mitchell is responsible for the lyrics one more time while Land is the main man for the music. 

An album opener, “Past Reflections”, instrumental, is a bit soft for my taste. “Crown of Nails” injects more energy and will make your blood start to boil. Still, it is the mid tempo song, and better will come. The song has some punkish vibe that spices it a bit more. In “The Curse of Orlac” drum section dominates and I must notice that Bob changed a bit his singing style. Compared to his previous work, his singing is a bit rougher, while high pitched vocals are put aside. I was a bit confused by the song title to be honest, because I remembered the movie The Hands of Orlac instantly. However, the creepy moment is still there:

“Standing ovation for an empty room
Curtain calls for the final sleep
Dream the bizzar witness the crawling hands
Seized by the thoat kidnapped forever more.

The memory of the nightmare
Can it please go away
My mind cannot control
The trail of victims left behind.”

“Rise to the Light” is one of my favorites, starting from guitar intro, over strong lyrics to great vocal performance. In Bob’s interpretation you can recognize sorrow. Add marching rhythm, weeping guitars, thunderous drumming by no means overemphasized, but strong enough to evoke an atmosphere. Essentially, this is another mid tempo peace. 

“Dissension”, a true power metal piece, might be one of my favorites, and it would be more convincing if the organ was added at the beginning (just an idea). Vocals are aggressive enough, and for sure, this song might be one of the best not just on this album but in Sceptor’s career. 

“Beyond the Unknown” stands out with its galloping rhythm, razor sharp guitars, again strong lyrics, great hooks, well balanced tempo change…

“Armour Black” is a semi-ballad. I am afraid that Bob’s vocal delivery in the verses is a bit weak, but he shows his real quality in the chorus.

“Horrified by your own action
Execution to you is the sole reaction
Deeper is the darkness
That sheds the light of amour black.”

“Spartacus” is one of the most powerful songs, but if you race with the daemon, could it be any different? 

In addition, Sceptor decided to treat fans with, I would say, the strongest songs in their career, a trademark “Powerhouse” and Shadows in the Maze both from their first single “Introducing… Sceptor” (High Roller Records, 2010).

Overall, this is a good traditional heavy/power album successfully flirting with a bit of a modern metal sound. Definitely recommended for traditional metal fans.

The best description of their music must be given in their own verses:

“Welcome to the House, the House of Power
We light the night, we live to fight
Can you feel the rush? The rush of power
Can you feel the strength? Can you feel the crush!?”