SCEPTOR “Rise To the Light”
By Dr. Abner Mality
This is very much the kind of band and album you’d expect from the Pure Steel label these days. Meaning, it sounds like it could have been on Metal Blade circa 1986 without a problem. That makes sense when you hear the lead vocals of Bob Mitchell, well known for his nasal croonings with ATTACKER. The other members of SCEPTOR are also veterans of the power/true metal scene, coming from acts like RITUAL STEEL, HAMMER KING and HELL PATROL.
This is very much in the ATTACKER/OMEN/SAVAGE GRACE mode of US power metal, with a mix of fast rippers, crunchy anthems and the obligatory dark, slowly building power ballad. Mitchell’s vocals have always been an acquired taste for me and they remain so, but he doesn’t overdo the falsettos with SCEPTOR. One thing’s for sure, the production is almost flawless...as clear as the ringing of a bell on execution morning. “Crown of Nails” and “The Curse of Orlac” introduce us to the speedier, more headbanging side of the band, while the title track and “Beyond the Unknown” are more mid-paced and moody. “Armour Black” is the ballad this time around and at least the lead soloing on it is hot stuff.
As you might imagine, SCEPTOR’s biggest drawback is that it’s all been done before. But surely fans of this kind of vintage steel have no problem with that. This is a strong example of metal classicism!