"Road To Victory"

By Colonel Angus

I am really glad that good ol’ traditional metal is making a comeback.  Sure, it was around throughout the 90,s and 00’s but it seems like more bands are either coming back or new bands are embracing the metal sounds of the early 80’s.  BLACK KNIGHT has been around since 1981 but it took them until 1998 to release their first full album titled “Tales from the Darkside”.  Like most bands today, there is only one original member in drummer Rudo Plooy but that makes no difference since they didn’t start putting out albums until very late into their career.  “Road To Victory” is their third record and it’s quite good; not great, but quite good.  There are some fantastic moments, namely the title track, “Pendragon”, and “My Beautiful Daughters”.  The latter tune has a really cool mid-section that comes out of left field and keeps the track really interesting.  The beginning of “Pendragon” reminds me of “Solar Angels” from JUDAS PRIEST’s “Point Of Entry” but quickly goes in another direction.  Elsewhere, the JUDAS PRIEST comparisons pop up again with “Crossing The Rubicon” sounding like “Heading Out To The Highway”.  The other songs, while all good, remind me too much of JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, and early HELLOWEEN which makes me  wish they would work on a more unique sound within the traditional metal genre instead of copying the masters.  As a whole, the album does have a nice cohesive sound and is enjoyable with only “Crossing The Rubicon” being the only track I would skip.  At over 7 minutes, that song just plods along and seems to go nowhere.

The band members have the talent to make a really great record.   Ruben Raadschelders and GertJan Vis have the fretboard chops as “Road To Victory” proves that they can come up with good riffs and lead work.  Ron Heikens and the previously mentioned (and only original member) Rudo Plooy are solid throughout.  Let’s face it, we’re not looking for Geddy Lee and Neil Peart for this type of metal.  All that is needed is a solid rhythm section for the rest to stack on top and both Plooy and Heikens provide that all day long.  All of this just leaves us with David Marcelis on vocals.  I hear some early Geoff Tate in his vocal delivery but he still maintains his own unique style in other places.  He definitely has a terrific voice and performance on this disk is great.  Like I mentioned earlier, this is a good album but it could have been a great one.  While I appreciate the JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, and other influences, there are parts that come a little too close for me.  I do recommend this disk and I’ll be on the look-out for their next release.  Aside from “Crossing The Rubicon”, “Road To Victory” is a solid early 80’s metal album but I think BLACK KNIGHT have a better record in them.