Written By: Nameless N00b_19
Traditional metal has endured a revival of sorts this past decade. What makes this surge more palatable is the tendency of the bands behind it to eschew the frilly histrionics of the Euro-fantasy metal set, and instead get back to the grittier, if no less virtuoso tenets of the NWOBHM acts of yore. From Melbourne, Australia, comes a rising band which firmly flies the banner of this type of straightforward heavy metal fare. Calling themselves Turret, they’re all set to release their second full-length album. Entitled In the Shadows, it follows on from their 2015 debut effort with what they hope will be a shot to the arm of the genre. Turret appears to be the result of dedication and good old hard work. Such traits are the tenets of the underground, something to be admired and respected, but can they distinguish themselves from the legions of acts plotting that very same course?
Spinning In the Shadows gives the listener the proper feel of the foundation laid down by bands like Satan and even hints at the high-energy go-for-broke attitude exhibited by the first two Iron Maiden LPs. If that was enough, though, there would be no delineation of classic groups versus also-rans. The drama and well-wrought solos in “Raise the Sword” helps this album considerably, its storybook feel belying the relatively cliché title and showing that Turret does have the goods. A tight rhythm section and fluid riffing bolsters the nicely done “Off to War.” Shades of mid-80’s Helloween comes through, however, Joe Stanley’s vocals ride the exact same falsetto-ended singing style as exhibited on the slower numbers. His range isn’t the problem, nor his tunefulness, but sometimes it blankets each song with the exact same feel. Some songs need different vocal styles and Turret could certainly expand their appeal by differing that just a little bit. Such gripes aside, the song itself rips and the excellent soloing keeps things interesting.
While many song ideas are good on the album, the rocking “New Beginning” even jumping off the aural page a bit, the vocals tend to flatten things out. Again, the guitar soloing is perfectly top-notch and enjoyable. The marriage between instruments is downright crackling, and Stanley’s vocals are adequate most of the time, but it seems he doesn’t have a lot of versatility in the pipes for the higher registers. This could even be my own bias with power metal vocals—I’ve never been a lover of higher pitched voices, classic Michael Kiske aside. If this is something you prefer, Turret more than likely has a good bit of treats inside their bag of tricks for you. “Stack The Walls,” on the other hand, a mid-paced affair with some “whoa-oh-oh’s” and a delicious arrangement, is a bit more suited to Stanley’s vocal delivery. The guitar solos that close it out once again demonstrate what is most likely Turret’s biggest strength.
“Call of the Sea” is a fine album highlight, its bridge and chorus nicely put together, its guitar trade offs beautiful. My complaint with the last note Stanley holds being drawn out at the end of each verse of the chorus holds up, but if you love traditional heavy metal, it’s very difficult not to be moved by this song.
Turret is certainly making a serious case for inclusion amongst the highlights of this traditional/power revolution currently sweeping metaldom. The band does require some vocal line fine tuning, but overall In the Shadows is an enjoyable affair that, instead of seeking to reinvent the wheel, takes the tropes laid down in the preceding decades and does them a fair bit of justice. Now, will this album be in your rotation when compared with the coming and current works of bands like RAM, Visigoth, Satan, and Sanhedrin? It’s up against some stiff competition, but if they continue in this vein, Turret looks like they have the potential to make a discerning album. In The Shadows is a step in that direction, but I’m not sure it stands the test of time.