True Strength - The Mighty Hand Of Yahweh
The Mighty Hand Of Yahweh
TRUE STRENGTH are back with their fourth release. I have followed their career since their first independent record. Of course, I am always searching for new traditional US Metal bands and so one day I found them as well. It is amazing to hear the development between each album. I mean I really still like the previous records but they are making big steps in the right direction with every release. As for their sound, well I am not an expert when it comes to the legendary NWOBHM in the late '70s and early '80s but I can notice the influences and TRUE STRENGTH are definitely influenced by this movement. They are following a tradition of US bands who have been taking the British Epic sounds, evolve these and bring it into the current times. So yes, it is traditional American Metal but with a huge British touch. They combine the best of two Worlds indeed.
TRUE STRENGTH are creating something unique, which surely will establish themselves in the hearts of traditional Metal fans around the world. The new album is no exception and as mentioned before, is showing the constant growth of their sound and of the band itself. Songwriter, rhythm guitarist and bass guitarist Ryan "The Archangelis" Darnell is constantly building a strong lineup around himself. The newcomers on this album, for example, are Chris Lee Faulkenberry on drums, new lead guitarist Takis Koroneos, and Marco "Mark" Bravi on keyboards. Of course singer George Tsalikis of ZANDELLE is handling the vocals again. The album was produced and mixed by Joshua DeHaan and the late Walt DeHaan, the former manager of WINGER, who sadly passed away during the production of the record. Enough of introduction and background information, let us check the songs. This theme-album is entirely based on the book of Joshua in the Old Testament of the Bible. Different events of the book are covered in each of the 9 songs.
“Vision of the Commander of Yahweh's Army” is starting the album as dramatic intro including a great guitar solo. It is an introduction which leads into the album story. The intro is thematically telling us how Joshua received his command after Mose`s had died. You can read this in the book of Joshua chapter 1. "Joshua" is following the intro, so this is actually the first track of the album. Here you can clearly hear TRUE STRENGTH strong influences of British bands like IRON MAIDEN. But this classic Epic Heavy Metal tune reminds me also a little bit of old STEEL PROPHET. This song has even progressive elements, a great Hammond organ part and is perfectly leading us into the ancient times through the created atmosphere. As for other influences, their even might be a little old HELLOWEEN here and there on top, of course, it has to be, "Walls Of Jericho" was a Joshua story as well.
"Sounding Of The Shofar" is next. Amazing how the band is mixing the traditional European Metal sounds with the US-style. The guitar playing is a little bit faster here and carries through the whole tune supported by a nice but not overrepresented keyboard carpet. The choirs are also pretty cool. The vocals are really superb here as well. I love the high and little bit of dramatic singing. "Burning Of Ai" is starting with a flute intro, interesting addition. Another dramatic Metaltune which is building up a great atmosphere. Imagine a musical journey through the story which is the attack and fall of the town Ai. Galloping riffs and with majestic bombastic interruptions and wonderful instrumental guitar parts. Lot`s of things are happening here. A little bit WARLORD reminders are here and there as well. “The Sun Stands Still Upon Gibeon” is a cool, little bit slower song, really a nice ear flatterer, amazing screams as well. A nice chorus line refines the tune. The guitar solos a superb again. Some European Power Metal influences appear as well.
"King Put The Sword" is a heavier US Metal Powerish track, stamping rhythm, yes love the rhythm guitar here, the tune of course never loses its epic sound. Again a great Hammond part, very nice chorus and bass intro and also great bass solo part in the middle. One of my faves on the album for sure. "The Southern Cities Fall" great heavier rhythm again. Another battle tune with galloping parts. US Metal meets British Epic steel. Again there is so much happening musically just in this one song, you can listen to it again and again and you will hear new nuances every time. "The Waters Of Merom" the Hammond is there again, upfront, very cool song with a 70`s Epic Progressive Hard Rock feeling. IRON MAIDEN influences, of course, are shining through once more especially the basic guitar parts and solos reminding me of the Brits. An acoustic intro starts "Rest From War" and it is exactly what the title says, a dramatic mid-tempo IRON MAIDEN influenced tune, carried through a nice guitar playing with a dramatic ancient middle part. This tune closes the album.
The war is over and won! Great album with lots of treasures which need some time to be discovered. Please take your moment and join Joshua on his journey into the land of Canaan.
Review written by Olaf Becker