Sunday, December 9, 2012


American Heavy Metal is alive and well and thriving in a five piece outfit from Illinois called Inner Siege. These guys deliver bone crushing heavy metal with slight old school power metal overtones. No overbearing keyboards, just flat out soaring vocals with a powerful twin guitar attack and punishing rhythm section.

Kingdom of Shadows is the title of their debut platter, which is a solid offering of metal prowess. In their bio they list Kamelot, Dream Evil, Firewind, Symphony X and Pagan’s Mind as influences, so that gives a strong indication of where their stylistic heredity comes from. Upon first listen those influences stand out strong, but where a band like Dream Evil and Firewind live on anthemic chorus’s (especially Dream Evil) that isn’t really where Inner Siege is at. Perhaps this is where the Kamelot influence comes in.

This album of guitar driven heavy metal is well crafted and well executed. The performances are world class mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordstrom of Dream Evil. The vocals of Jeremy Ray will remind some of early Queensryche, but Ray is no Tate clone. The guitar work of Kevin Grose and J Prater simply shreds while the bass work of Ravn and drum precision of Wade Helm lock it all down tight. It goes without saying that the sound quality on Kingdom of Shadows is brilliant.

The promotional material provided by Roxx Records indicates that this is a concept album. Unfortunately because there isn’t a lyric sheet I’m somewhat at a loss as to what the concept is, I have my suspicions but without knowing for sure I’ll keep my speculation to myself. I do know this, it appears to be well thought out and developed.

Musically there is a lot of muscle here and it’s not relying on a bunch of blast beats to get the point across.   From album opener Warrior through the powerful closing track Sacrifice, Kingdom of Shadows is the real metal deal. The most easily accessible tracks include the galloping drive of Rider and the slug fest which is Children of Winter.

The leather jacket brigade should be lining up in droves to grab this one. One of the five best albums I’ve heard this year. One can hope that they will somehow tour their way out to the glorious state of euphoria which is California. Inner Siege, Kingdom of Shadows demands that you obtain a copy and enjoy the winter with the cold steel that is the musical precision within. 

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