Sweden’s Gravebreaker and Australia’s Road Warrior kick-off 2020 with a split release that will satisfy the cravings of their rabid fanbases!
The split 7” comes with two tracks on it. One from each band. Gravebreaker give us Death Promise while Road Warrior release Death in Heels on Wheels. It will be released on the 21st of February via Gates of Hell Records.
It has been over three years since Sweden’s Gravebreaker released their debut album, Sacrifice, an album that Angry Metal Guy proclaimed, “Leather-clad and switchblades at the ready, Sacrifice blasts heavy metal loud and proud as it cruises around its bombed-out city.” The band has been very deliberate in creating the follow-up, waiting for the right time for inspiration to strike. So, as a way to keep Gravebreaker top-of-mind in the metal underground, Gates of Hell Records sought another band to pair them with for a split release. Enter Australian metal tyrants Road Warrior. Their resultant Death in Heels On Wheels/Death Promise split release should no doubt tide fans of both bands over as 2020 gets underway.
Gravebreaker’s “Death Promise” is a leftover cut from the Sacrifice writing sessions. While the song almost made the final running order for Sacrifice, Gravebreaker has dug it out from their archives for release. “Death Promise” re-enacts the story told in the Kung-Fu thriller by the same name, detailing “murder, then training to become a Kung-Fu master, ultimately leading to revenge.” The song itself catches Gravebreaker doing what they do best: Playing traditional metal that resembles Angel Witch and Judas Priest.
Never at a loss for material, Road Warrior’s “Death In Heels On Wheels” finds the Australian metallers heading into a more progressive direction, recalling the likes of King Diamond and Fates Warning — a different angle than the brute force showcased on Power, making it the perfect choice for inclusion in the split. The cut showcases the songwriting development of bassist/vocalist Denimal Blake, whose wide assortment of influences and growth as a songwriter is demonstrated on the track. He does caution, however, that the next Road Warrior studio effort will feature some surprises and “epic” moments.
Road Warrior are Denimal on bass and vocals with Overdryve on guitars and Villon on bass. Gravebreaker are Fury on guitars and bass with Devastation on drums and Nightmare on vocals.
Death in Heels on Wheels is the A side and weighs in at around 5 and half minutes long. A little guitar wizardry starts us off before it settles into a cracking thrashy riff. The song has a nice steady rhythm to it, sure to get heads banging and feet tapping. The vocals are strong, coming across with plenty of power and edge even as they are delivered slowly. Altogether it is an infectious track held together by the main slow and steady riff that runs down it’s spine and sends shivers down yours.
Death Promise is a shorter blast of traditional sounding metal at just over 3 minutes long. It really transports you back in time with it’s 80’s thrash vibe and is made for head banging along too. The guitars are excellent, moving from punchy riff to solos full of flair that have you dusting off that air guitar. Some of the guitar moments have a little bit of a video game vibe to it, like the intro that kind of reminds me of Mario grabbing a mushroom. The vocals are great too, coming at you with loads of bite and aggression and the mixed in snippets from the film, Death Promise, actually work well.
Separated by nearly 14,000 kilometres, Gravebreaker and Road Warrior is the perfect pairing for a split. Death in Heels and Wheels is a bit more progressive, a bit more experimental really while Death Promise is way more traditional sounding. Both songs have plenty thing in common though and the main thing is that is they are held together by simple but effective riffs. Rhythms that get you quickly into the song, get your foot tapping or your head nodding along. Metal fans looking for a strong fix of old school metal need look no further than this.
Grab your preorder from here.
Death Promise/Death in Heels On Wheels by Road Warrior/Gravebreaker (Gates of Hell Records)
The Final Score - 8/10