CHILDREN OF THE REPTILE
CHILDREN OF THE REPTILE “Heavy Is The Head”
By Dr. Abner Mality
Wow! How awesome are CHILDREN OF THE REPTILE? According to the press release, they have the riffs of METALLICA, the twin guitar licks of THIN LIZZY and IRON MAIDEN, the attitude of JUDAS PRIEST (whatever that is), the progressive vibes of MASTODON and, just to prove they’ve got underground cred, the epic leanings of MANILLA ROAD. Then these guys from North Carolina should easily be the next TOOL-level million selling band without a problem…
The reality, of course, is somewhat different. Once the overblown hyperbole is dispensed with, we have a promising young metal band with some definite strong points but also some weaknesses. Sorry, I don’t see platinum in CHILDREN OF THE REPTILE’s future anytime soon. What do they actually sound like? Well, they do have twin guitar melodies not a million miles from THIN LIZZY, there is a kind of MANILLA ROAD epic approach to some of the tunes and occasionally they even hit the gas in a near-thrash fashion. Not bad, but some of the song structures are rather blasé and the vocals of one Ozzie Darden are average and that’s being kind. All the pieces are not quite together yet. But the pieces are mostly there…
The opening “Delvers In Darkness/Warriors of Light” is OK but far from the band’s best. The real COTR arises with “Burner”, which appropriately turns up the heat with a blazing speed metal approach and a great stretch of screaming lead guitar. The lead guitar soloing is by far the strongest aspect of this band and arises frequently on the album. “Silent Circle” follows and is just a notch down from “Burner” but still pretty good. Ozzie’s bland clean vocals are a persistent drag.
The semi-ballad “Fear The Old Blood” is half sleep inducing, but picks up fire in the back half with more great soloing. The cut “Seven Days of Fire” is where the “progressive” part of the resume becomes pronounced, as the song as some really quirky, interesting riffs...shades of MANILLA ROAD and early FATES WARNING appear in this one. The album ambles to an agree able ending with “Oath To Order”, another half-ballad where things again really kick in hard at the end.
That leaves “Heavy Is The Head” on the plus side of the ledger...just barely..., but the outrageous claims made about COTR by PR do more harm than good. How can any band live up to that description?