Band: Resistance (USA)
Album: Volume 1, Battle Scars EP
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Label: Metal Machine Records
Whatever you do don’t confuse California’s Resistance with the handful of other metal outfits to adopt that moniker, the most notable of which is, perhaps, Belgium’s death metal act. The distinction is important because the band’s are at opposite ends of the metal sub-genre spectrum. Our Resistance is a traditional metal quintet who has just released a deep and finely polished six track EP that deserves to be heard.
Lovers of traditional heavy metal and the NWOTHM movement have seen a dramatic increase in entrants vying for thier aural attention. The risk of any movement that is based on a fairly narrow band of metal historically is that purveyors of it are at enormous risk of sounding derivative at best and simply terrible at worst. The ability to create something original and special from a limited list of ingredients musically is rare yet we’ve been fortunate lately to have received several submissions from bands worthy of our attention, bands who have more on offer than mere tributes to the glory of the 80’s legends who influence them. Resistance is one such band.
To quote the band’s press release, “The new EP is the first to be released on the bands own record label (Metal Machine Records) and is also the first to feature new guitarist Burke Morris. The concept behind releasing a volume of shorter length EP’s is to facilitate the quick release of material to the band’s fans and build a collection of music which can be combined later into a single body of work.”
“Volume 1: Battle Scars” then is the first of what is intended to be several shorter releases or EP’s. The first question that comes to mind however is this: after multiple hearings of Vol. 1 will I care about “Volume 2”? Let me state this as emphatically as I can while maintaining a level of comportment: YES!!!
I have to admit that on first listen, while focused on other things, I was tempted to shelve Resistance as being yet another traditional band that is very good at imitation yet short on originality. Few releases in the sub-genre have staying power and that attitude has more to do with preconceptions than anything else. When you lived through the era that is being revisited it is very easy to approach this sort of thing with a somewhat jaded perspective. Then on occasion one comes across something that works at every possible level. This is one such occasion.
“Volume 1: Battle Scars” begins with the EP’s title track and is a highlight that brings out the band’s best Maiden influences of a Powerslave nature. “Vlad” begins with an eerily plucked guitar that morphs into a mid-tempo track that brings to mind King Diamond and Mercyful Fate’s best 80’s releases. “Hold the Line” is a another highlight that features a frenetic, simple opening riff that propels the song into mid-80’s metal glory. While one influence is not coming to mind on this one the fact is that the track features everything that a classic traditional metal tune needs to be instantly memorable: great riffs, soloing and a fist-pumping chorus.
“Voyage of the Damned” slows the pace somewhat with a grand opening movement then kicks into high gear with furious double-kick drums and the soaring melodies of vocalist Robbie Hett. Some of the EP’s finest axe work from guitarists Dan Luna and Burke Morris is present here among solid mood and tempo changes that bring to mind the classic 80’s work of the late, great Dio.
The intro to “Onward to Valhalla” wouldn’t have been out-of-place on a Damn Yankees release of the early 90’s then transforms into a power metal epic worthy of any of Deutschland’s 80’s stalwarts such as Blind Guardian and Grave Digger.
The EP wraps up with the instantly memorable “Why So Frightened” a track with a huge sonic pallet and melodic scope. Featuring several movements, the song creates a unique space somewhere between being a huge power ballad and a devastatingly heavy and doomy Tony Iommi creation.
Resistance was created in 2000 and released two albums, 2003’s “Lies in Black” and 2007’s “Patents of Control”. After going on hiatus in 2009 the band reformed in 2013 with plans to conquer the world with their brand of traditional metal. Given the formidable talent present and quality of songwriting on this release it wouldn’t be difficult to imaginee Resistance breaking through to another level in 2015. I, for one, plan to go down the rabbit hole and dig into Resistance’s previous two releases which are available at the usual outlets, digitally and otherwise. As for Volume 2, I await it eagerly.
Reverend Rock’s Rating: 8/10
Resistance at Bandcamp: https://resistanceusa.bandcamp.com/
Resistance on Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/resistanceusa
Resistance on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/resistanceusaofficial
Resistance on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9uuxdE-JTwau-OyEzVg1rA
Official “Battle Scars” Video:
Resistance is: Matt Ohnemus-KEEPER OF TIME Paul Shigo-BASS Dan Luna-GUITAR Robbie Hett-VOCALS Burke Morris-GUITAR
Reverend Rock is the host of Too Metal For Church on Monday’s from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST on Metal Nation Radio.