There is a glorious moment halfway through Sword of Damocles, where a lone guitar starts playing a solo and you find yourself saying, “this is a twin-solo if I ever heard one,” just before that second guitar joins the fray. It’s just before the song trots off in one of those Iron Maiden type gallops. Twilight of the Gods’ debut album Fire on the Mountain is full of moments like that. It’s Manowar versus viking style Bathory with a dash of Primordial here, and it’s brilliant. But let’s dive into the facts, before we start sprinkling superlatives.
Twilight of the Gods, named after the Bathory album of the same name, was formed back in 2010 as a Bathory cover band. Fronted by Primordial’s Alan Averill and featuring a host of well-known musicians (amongst which drum-powerhouse Nick Barker), the super group took to the stage on the 2010 Heidenfest tour, playing a solid, hour long set of classic Bathory songs that was very hard to resist, not in the least because of the amazing stage presence of Averill. Come 2013, and the band releases its first full length debut album, and its a cracker, filled to the brim with real old-fashioned, epic heavy metal the likes of which you haven’t heard in quite a while.
One of the biggest assests of Twilight of the Gods is, of course, that unparalleled amount of conviction with which Averill delivers his vocal lines. Without that unique voice, Primordial would probably be half the band they are today, and without it, Fire on the Mountain would have just been a good album instead of a brilliant one. The man’s clean, traditional metal voice is just as convincing as the more growling work you’ve come to known from Primordial. Of course, a good singer also needs a good album to work with, and thankfully the seven songs on Fire on the Mountain are top notch. You’d be hard pressed not to bob your head along on Destiny Forged in Blood. “This is our heathen metal call to arms, raise your voices and write your destiny in blood,” Averill screams, and although yes, it is a cheesy line, it is delivered in such earnestness it works.
The album is full of memorable lines like that, and with hooks and riffs that will instantly stick in your brain. You’ll find yourself humming melodies from this one for a while to come. From the heavy, stomping Sword of Damocles, with its thunderous drums, to the rollocking gallop of The End of History, this is an album without any weak songs. It harks back to the old days of heavy metal, to a time when bands like Manowar and Warlord still put out absolute classics, and your traditional metal still had that extra, Black Sabbath influenced dash of doom to it. Fire on the Mountain is a modern heavy metal classic if there ever was one, and I’m not saying that lightly. It throws you way back in the past without sounding dated or old-fashioned. If anything, the album sounds remarkably fresh. It’s a must have for every fan of traditional metal, at any rate. It will be very hard to choose an album of the year with both this and the new Atlantean Kodex coming out in October. I’m just glad we don’t pick individual best-of-month albums here.
Label: Season of Mist
- Destiny Forged in Blood (05:18)
- Children of Cain (04:54)
- Fire on the Mountain (1683) (05:38)
- Preacher Man (05:03)
- Sword of Damocles (07:06)
- The End of History (08:13)
- At Dawn We Ride (06:19)
- Alan Averill – vocals
- Rune Eriksen – guitar
- Patrik Lindgren – guitar
- Frode Glesnes – bass
- Nick Barker – drums