Label: Fighter Records
Date: November 9th, 2021
I still cannot get over the cover art. Makes me laugh each and every time I look at it. Bordering on serious cringe, the painting of a tyrannosaurus on top of a Latin American pyramid, terrorizing the ancient population is just… Add your own adjective.
Then you have a song titled “Cybörg-Rex” added to the track list. Not as laughable, but in the context of the cover, it falls close.
Okay, I’ll stop the ridiculing here. I would probably go on with it, but there is no point when all of these aspects mean nothing when you have an amazing record like “Tyrants”. I mean it, this is an epitome of heavy metal for the 21st century.
A while back, I reviewed the latest material by Antioch and even if the closest tie between the two is the country of origin, Ültra Raptör seriously reminded me of them. Also, they both perform classical heavy metal although in somewhat differing styles. Where Antioch went to Germany for most of their inspiration, Ültra Raptör opted for Great Britain.
Actually, the quintet seriously reminded me of a Serbian band called Space Eater, especially when they go for speed and ferocity. But there is a smell of Judas Priest here, which just won’t quit. Those immortal records such as “Ram it down” or “Painkiller”. The sharp guitar sound of those albums dominates “Tyrants” as well.
Also undeniable is the influence of German masters, such as Helloween. Or Gamma Ray, perhaps even predominant of the two. The melodic input is clearly German, but it is of less importance to the overall sound than the British one.
At this point, all of the above should be the least of your worries. Mostly because, once you push play, it is extremely easy to forget the name-dropping or which tone comes from where. At the exact moment when Ültra Raptör starts playing you are immersed in a heavy metal bombardment of highest class. There is an incredible quantity of extremely catchy songs on “Tyrants” which simply do not let you go. Hell, I had to stop the record just so I could write these lines down in peace.
Starting from, what I perceive, a huge metal hit titled “Missile (Metal Warrior)” onwards. That opening song just gives you a taste of speed, killer riffing and the chorus immortally stamped by an incredible vocal work. Just listen to that low, downright operatic “Miiii” leading into a direct homage to Mr. Halford (or Kiske) on “Siiiile”. Holy crap! Got myself goosebumps just from thinking about it!
And it doesn’t end there. “Tyrants” is not all about speed. There are songs that don’t push the engine to its limit. But even when the speed does not dominate, Ültra Raptör keeps the high standard of song writing and offers us relentless carpet-bombing of memorable tracks, one after the other. Adding to the equation that this is the debut album by the Canadians, “Tyrants” gains even more weight.
It was the mentioned vocal that I had the hardest time to swallow. Not the performance of Phil T. Lung (huh, what a pseudonym), but the colour of his voice. Such a deep tone is not usual in the genre which strives for high-pitched vocal chords. Still, once I did come to terms with it, it fell into its own place and added a new and, arguably, distinct variation to the record.
Conclusion is simple. Canada takes over the genre which was once owned by European bands. “Tyrants” makes it already two milestone records coming from there within this one year. And who knows what else I’m still missing.
“Live at Jurassic Park”? Please, gods of metal, make it happen!