"Hell To Pay"

By Colonel Angus

I remember hearing a tape of these guys back in the mid-80s and thinking they were quite good but somehow, they fell off my radar and into the list of countless bands I did not follow.  It’s a shame because Spartan Warrior deserved my attention and “Hell To Pay” is a rockin’ NWOBHM release.  While they were basically non-existent for most of the late 80s through the early 2000s, they did reform and pick up where they left off.  This disk has a new line-up with Dave Wilkinson and Neil Wilkinson being the only two original members on board.  Joining them this time around are Dan Rochester on guitars, Tim Morton on bass, and James Charlto on drums. This record is good enough that I went and researched the material that I missed out on first time around.  Although some of the players have changed, the sound is still traditional metal with the record reminding me of the pacing you would get with a Saxon album.  There are tracks that have a really heavy, chunky riff like “Covered In Lust”, and some really fast tunes like “Walls Fall Down” and “Fallen” but most of the disk has a great catchy groove that is missing from a lot of today’s metal.  They even slip in a ballad type of tune “Something To Believe In” that comes in midway through the record to give the listener a little breather.

The thing that makes “Hell To Pay” a worthy disk in anyone’s CD collection is that the songs all have reason for being on the album.  None of these are filler tracks that were included to fill up time and with the whole affair clocking in at a little over 45 minutes, it would have been easy for the band to throw in another few tunes.  But that is what makes this record so good.  So many bands today feel that they are giving value for money when they release a record that nears the 60 minute mark but I would rather have a record that is great from start to finish than one that requires the “skip” button.  Spartan Warrior have produced the type of album that once you put it in your player, the only decision that you will have to make is whether to play the disk again or not.  My vote is on the former.