By Dr. Abner Mality

TYRANT is one of those legendary Metal Blade bands of the 80's who came to define the pure American metal scene of those days, along with OMEN, ATTACKER, LIZZY BORDEN, etc. Of all those bands, they were the darkest and closest to what came to be known as "doom metal". What an incredible dose of synchronicity it is that they now return to action with no less than Robert Lowe, vocalist of SOLITUDE AETURNUS and CANDLEMASS, in the lead vocal position. Probably no American band was more influenced by TYRANT than SOLITUDE AETURNUS. This is truly heavy metal karma at its best.

Many classic 80's metal bands make a comeback in the 21st century that is less than impressive, but "Hereafter" holds up remarkably well with the classic TYRANT releases, "Legions of the Dead" and "Too Late to Pray". Lowe's vocal work here fits incredibly well, with his pure, ringing tones a pleasure to listen to. He seems like he has always been a member of this band. As for the music, TYRANT is not exactly doom metal, as many of their songs are driving and aggressive, but they are not too far away, either. The nebulous term "Dark Metal" fits them well and there's a brooding, medieval quality to their music.

Lowe's contributions are immediately apparent on "Dancing On Graves", which is such a cool track. "The Darkness Comes" is more massive and the heaviest song on the disk. "The Fire Burns" and the title track are so close in sound to Lowe's old band SOLITUDE AETURNUS that they could have easily fit on any S.A. album. "Pieces of Mine" features a riff obviously borrowed from SABBATH's "Children of the Grave", but it sounds more like homage than theft. Rocky Rockwell's lead soloing is all over this record and I have to say, sometimes it's too shrill and reedy for my taste. By the time the last two tracks "Beacon The Light" and "From The Tower" arrive, TYRANT is starting to sound rather formulaic, although never truly tedious.

Overall, it's a great bridge to the best era of American metal from one of the few bands that hasn't lost its way over the years. Metal Blade was foolish not to pick this up, but it's Shadow Kingdom's gain.