"World In Chains"

By Lord Randall

One look at the cover of BLIZZEN’s sophomore "World In Chains", and I’m reminded of those mid-late 80s albums/cassettes populating the “Metal” section (remember those?) of my local shop (remember those??); TYTON’s "Mind Over Metal", the more-pink-than-should-ever-be-allowed artwork of "Is Nothing Sacred"? by SACRED RITE, SWORD’s criminally underappreciated "Metalized". 

As easily-irritated as I seem to be by useless “intro” tracks, the abbreviated one here not only didn’t annoy, but brought me back to those Spring-eared early teen years when not all had been done before, so much as I listened to it a second time in silent prayer that my hopes would not be dashed by what followed. Turns out I didn’t have been concerned, ‘Gates Of Hell’ mix-n-matching the hard rock-infused metal of SEDUCE with the metal-seasoned hard rock of JUDAS PRIEST circa "Turbo", sans keyboard wankery. I’m still not sold on the delivery of vocalist/bassist Daniel Steckenmesser by the end of ‘Forged With Evil’ and, though the interplay of the Kiefer/Heindl duo shows promise, not on BLIZZEN itself, either. The title track tips the scales to the positive, drummer Gereon Nikolay snapping out a solid rhythm that the string section builds on, and damned if the leads didn’t just catch fire, and the vocals just hit all the right marks for this to be my pick of the album. I’ll admit to the confusion of a Charles Manson quote leading off ‘Serial Killer’, but the tune is reminiscent of Sunset Strip metal circa ‘87 ala LONDON, SOLDIER and Paul Cawley-era GUARDIAN, winning on that note. ‘Forsaken Soul’ falters, and that’s a dangerous thing to do, closing out an album that – while not bad – seems just to be simply “there”.

Maybe I keep trying to imagine adolescent me hearing "World In Chains" for the first time back then. Maybe I’m projecting, and maybe that’s not fair to BLIZZEN. But it’s the feeling I get from these guys for now, and I’d have probably felt the same back then as well.