Album Review: A Thousand Lives by Reviver (Remedy Records)

Reviver have been revived, after 17 years of relative dormancy, they return with their second album, titled, ‘A Thousand Lives’! The album will be released on the 22nd of February via German label Remedy Records.

Reviver were formed in 1997 by guitar players Fred Mantel and Tom Heemskerk and released several demo’s and MCD’s during those early years. The MCD’s ‘Gates of Time’ (2001) and ‘Osiris Eyes’ (2003) resulted into very good reviews in magazines like Rockhard, Aardschok and Heavy Oder Was. Reviver also contributed to the Heavy Oder Was compilation CD ‘Metal Crusade III’ with the song “Cycles”. In short, they were very active and eventually were signed up to the metal label Remedy Records to release the first full length album in 2005, the self titled Reviver. They backed the release up with plenty of shows to help promote the release.

And then there was relative silence, until now.

A Thousand Lives comes with 10 new songs and, quite remarkably, the exact same line up as in 2005. Reviver are a 5 piece with Patrick van Maurik on vocals, Tom Heemskerk and Fred Mantel on guitars, Stefan Brederode on bass and Tom van Veenhuijzen on drums.

Reviver A Thousand Lives Band
I know nothing of the original album – I guess 17 years out of the spotlight has meant very little news on the band has reached these shores. I must admit to being immensely intrigued though. Why 17 years? Why Now? Have they just come out of cryo sleep? Will they still play the music of 17 years ago? Let’s find out.

We get underway with the opener Kill the King and it takes all of about 10 seconds for you to realise they have a clear traditional style. Old school metal, in style, but not exactly in the production. A chunky riff is joined by blazing leads in a nice pacey start. A groovier verse hits with vocals that are high pitched but with menace. Then Patrick hits us with a few screams and my coffee cup shatters. Well, not exactly but they are that high pitch. While vocally impressive, I don’t always love those high notes but here it works well thanks to the surrounding elements. Moments with deeper backing, the bassy riff behind it and the nice thump of drums all blend with the vocals to create a neat sound. Chuck in some insane dual soloing and a headbanging rhythm and you get a solid opener.

The title track brings the fire with a cracking high pitched guitar melody that descends into a crunchy riff. But, the vocals that join are a lot – think King Diamond/Mercyful Fate pitch and that isn’t for me. They do settle down and I love the slightly lower tone, especially with the added backing vocals. The chorus is catchy as hell but the verses aren’t in my personal taste due to the vocals. Vocals with plenty of power and passion and they sit on top of a banging riff but you can’t help but focus on them and you are either going to love them or hate them with very little room in-between.

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This is really the story of most of A Thousand Lives. Jam packed with traditional riffing, banging intros and fiery solos and catchy choruses with vocals switch between styles and pitch with me very much enjoying the lower (and they aren’t low) tones and struggling with the highest ones. As such, I found myself much happier in songs where the highest pitch is used more sparingly. The Fearless, a rock ballad style kind of, with a gorgeous solo and a huge chorus is great. Hands of the USA is a brilliant song and even though the verses get a bit higher vocally than I like, it is just for short sections so works in the song. The riffing is massive here and the solo is probably the best on the album for me along with the wicked sing along chorus.

You Belong to Me is the slower, ballad song with plenty of powerful melody, a slow tempo and soaring vocals. Backing vocals by guest singer Charlene Wez add a layer of depth the chorus needed as. This one doesn’t quite work for me over all though. It’s slow, as it’s meant to be but lacks a little magic. Our Voice started off with the same problem. The speed and energy on the drums and riff is welcome but it doesn’t sit right with the vocals. Both ends are great, just not knitting together perfectly. This song gets saved though  by probably my favourite chorus on the whole album. It is brilliant. The lead guitar and vocals ascend in tandem and it feels powerful and imaginative. The solo is strong, and long, too but it’s all about the chorus here.

Shelter From Sorrow keeps the energy up with a foot tapping tempo and head banging crunch to the riff. I love it when it speeds up and we get into thrash enthusiasm spots but, the vocals don’t always hit the same aggression levels and flirt often with sudden jumps to the screaming high pitch. It isn’t bad, but I am struggling to adjust to it. Into the Tomb has one of my favourite intro solos all backed with a strong rhythm section. I found myself headbanging along with a big smile on my face. This is a banger. The verse hits hard and the chorus is excellent, being both catchy but heavy. It’s probably not a surprise that the heaviest number on the album is the one to really win me over but this song is going to get plenty of playtime this year.

Prisoner of Faith is the penultimate track and is decent enough, keeping the energy up and bringing all the Reviver tropes found on A Thousand Lives so far into one song. The energetic start gets you headbanging along, the drums and bass have a nice pace to them, the vocals are deeper and the hard verses lead into a catchy chorus. The solo brings a more melodic vibe and sees the pace drop away. It returns though afterwards and gets the adrenaline flowing again. Decent stuff. So we reach the final track of A Thousand Lives with Tell Me. It builds up slowly with echoed vocals and a morose melody. The sort of start that has you feel you may be about to hear something special.

As the drums and bass start crunching away, building up behind the melody, I’m ready for it but it never really comes. Musically it kicks ass and the vocals are good but it doesn’t meld together brilliantly, The stop start riffing, pegged by a melodic line works really well and the transition to the chorus is seamlessly brilliant but the chorus isn’t up to the level of the rest of the album. Basically, I got spoiled by brilliant choruses across the album and now struggle when one is just “good”. It’s a good song overall though, just not great.

That is really the story for me across the whole of A Thousand Lives. Good at times, great at times. Never bad though and that is important. The unique voice of Patrick is a real marmite part of Reviver. He has range, a lot of range, and I thoroughly enjoy most of that range but struggled a lot with the highest pitches. The album is chock full of strong solos and catchy intros. The riffs are solid and as the album progresses and it seems to pick up speed, we get into some truly punchy headbanging sections. Aside from a couple missteps, Reviver excel at catchy choruses and, for my personal taste, Into the Tomb alone makes this album worth a go.

It’s not always perfect, it’s not always my jam but it’s a very enjoyable listen from a band who clearly have a lot to offer modern music with their traditional edge.

A Thousand Lives is out on the 22nd of February so keep an eye on your chosen streaming service, and the bands website/socials at the links below.

Reviver Links

WebsiteFacebook – YouTubeRemedy Records


  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

A Thousand Lives by Reviver (Remedy Records)

By Artist: Reviver

Album name: A Thousand Lives

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