OK, folks, here’s something a little bit different. You see, one of the occupational hazards facing understaffed but dedicated Angry Metal websites is good stuff slipping through the cracks. The truth is, we just can’t cover it all, try as we might. Sometimes we don’t get the promo, other times we lack the manpower to get to it, and to be honest, sometimes stuff just gets missed. We’re only human after all (albeit the most perfect versions possible). To rectify this ongoing metallic tragedy, we will occasionally highlight something we didn’t review but judge worthy of attention from you, the metal polity. Think of it more asÂ an FYI than an actual review. Sound good? You’re damn right it’s good!
Our first entry in the Angrily Unreviewed sweepstakes is Street Law, the third release by Mexican retro metallers Split Heaven (available on Pure Steel Records). Following in the footsteps of other 80’s style retro rockers like Steelwing, Enforcer and Wolf, Split Heaven serves up old school metal with a patina of hard rock and more than a little cheese (the album cover alone is worth fifty pounds of Velveeta). Now, before you turn up your elitist metal nose, this is some powerful, authentic stuff from a bunch of hungry youngins and it rocks harder than Thor at a Manowar concert. Songs like “Time Warrior,” “Street Law,” “Lonewolf” and especially “Night of the Jaguar” overflow with unrestrained enthusiasm and exuberance and manage to hit that 80’s style dead on. Closest in sound to Enforcer, they actually remind me a lot of Theatre of Fate-era Viper, old Obsession and Attacker, these guys play fast, loud and with real urgency. Great riffs are everywhere and while there’s that typical Maiden style here and there, they do their own thing as well. The vocals by Eligio Valenzuela are high pitched and a bit shrill but go along quite well with the vintage riffing and soloing style.
Making things even better is a slightly off-kilter production and mix which manages to sound old, dirty and raw but never too muddy. The only real drawback comes from the vocals being a bit too high in the mix and drowning out the guitars here and there. All the songs are good and some are great. Its a fun listen and made for blasting on the car radio while tearing along the highways and byways. You can feel the band’s energy and dedication to their style and that always makes music feel more personal and engaging. Not original in the least but still a lot of ballsy metal fun, Street Law shouldn’t be overlooked. They deserve some attention for this album so ignore the dreadful cover and support quality metal, even the retro stuff! Nuff said.