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Walls of Blood, Imperium – review

Release date: Out Now

Label: Metalville

Genre: Heavy Metal

Band members:-

  • Guitars and Keyboards – Glen Drover
  • Bass – Chris Myles
  • Drums – Scott Barrymore

Tracklisting :-

  • Leave This World Behind – guest vocal – Nils K. Rue
  • Discordia – guest vocal -Todd La Torre
  • Waiting To Die – guest vocal – Chuck Billy
  • Blood Sacrifice Ritual – guest vocal – Henning Basse
  • Tarnished Dream – guest vocal – Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens
  • Walls Of Blood – guest vocal – Matt Cuthbertson
  • The Fault Of Man – guest vocal – Henning Basse
  • Dark Lords Of Sleep – guest vocal – Dan Cleary
  • Junkhead – guest vocal – Lance Harvill
  • Seven Spirits – guest vocal – Hennning Basse

Walls of Blood is a project that has taken 6 years to put together by Glen Drover, but the wait is worth it.  After contributing to the United Abominations-era Megadeth sound, Drover realised that he needed to be closer to his family.  The release of Metalusion, an instrumental 10-track album, in 2011, was the last to feature his prodigious talents.  Filling in for Alex Skolnick in Testament, while he fulfilled other commitments for the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  Apart from then dabbling with the idea of joining Geoff Tate, there has been little new music from Mr Drover, until now.

Lead track, ‘Leave This World Behind’, features Nils K. Rue handling the vocal duties.  The crunching riff that explodes after about 40 seconds, instantly gives you the impression that Drover means business.  Rue’s vocals ably support Drover’s guitars, both showing exactly how to dovetail through a song.  The riffing and the tricks go hand-in-hand with the fabulously powerful vocal.

‘Discordia’ was a single released in 2014 in collaboration with Todd La Torre of Queensryche.  This track instantly launches into life with a familiar heavy riff.  The high end vocals by La Torre are simply stunning!  Complimented by a gruff low end vocal on the chorus, with a quite blistering set of solos. 

Chuck Billy then appears on ‘Waiting To Die’, in a succession of great vocalists on this album, on a tune perfectly suited to his style in Testament.  This pulsating riff and drumming has touches of Machine Head coursing through this song.  Not a bad thing, in my honest opinion.  A slightly quieter moment in the mid part of the song gives way to a phenomenal solo, building to the climactic finish. 

On ‘Blood Sacrifice Ritual’, Henning Basse performs the vocal duties, he once of Brainstorm, Firewind and Gamma Ray.  The expectations levels are already high given the standard already set by the trio above.  Almost immediately this song erupts with a monstrous riff.  Basse adequately displays his range and power through this piece.  And with an almost impossibly quick solo (I don’t know how fingers can move that quickly!), Drover is clearly enjoying this project as he has the licence to do exactly what he wants. 

‘Tarnished Dream’ is next up with vocals from Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, a familiar name on the metal scene with numerous projects under his belt, including Judas Priest.  You can feel the influence of Megadeth pervading through this song, again, never a bad thing in my opinion.  Although the song would has a definite stamp of Owens throughout. 

‘Walls Of Blood’, smashes into a speedy riff and Drover borrows the talents of fellow Canadian, Matt Cuthbertson, for his adept speed metal vocals for this one.  Cuthbertson, renowned for his appearances with Untimely Demise and Into Eternity, growls through this track with menace. 

‘The Fault Of Man’ sees Henning Basse return for another thrashy, power metal number.  Basse is able to create an epic sound to his vocal and his range is perfect for this song.  The solo is every bit as artistic as it needs to be, indulgent enough to show how talented Drover is without being over-indulgent.

For ‘Dark Lords Of Sleep’, Striker vocalist, Dan Cleary appears to lend his warblings to the mix.  This is a thrash masterpiece and incorporates changes in pace with more incredible soloing. 

‘Junkhead’ has Lance Harvill on vocals and having worked with Rex Brown Band and his own, Arms Of The Sun, on a rare, slower paced song.  Drover proves that he can mix it up in terms of his playing styles with a bluesy section in between the other lead work on this emotive number about life choices and drugs. 

‘Seven Spirits’ gives Basse a final shot a blasting his pipes out, which closes this album out nicely with another signature Drover riff.   The solos again combine nicely to form another superb performance which highlights why Dave Mustaine had to recruit Drover to Megadeth.

This project boasting the litany of guest vocals, it is going to be hard to ignore an album with such talents on display.  Clearly this is an album that is everything that Glen Drover wanted it to be.  A thrashy, speed metal album with hooks, riffs, runs, tricks, solos and a clarity of thought behind each song.  Obviously, this has taken time to piece together as a project, but in taking his time Drover has achieved what he set out to do.  It is album that any self-respecting thrash or speed metal fan would enjoy.  The power metal elements also contribute to a versatility of sound that delivers a hefty punch to the eardrums. 

Pure and simple, this album delivers on so many levels for me as a metal fan.  The way in which Drover incorporates the vocal styles to suit the songs is quite beautiful.  The riffs are sharp and incisive, heavy and rapid.  The solos are impossibly quick in places.  If you like any of the bands that I have name-dropped throughout this piece then I believe you will be very happy with adding ‘Walls of Blood – Imperium’ to your collection.

SCORE: 10 out of 10.

Reviewed by Stefan Putwain

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