Album review: Spellcaster - Night Hides the World
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★★★★★ Let’s face facts: the ‘80s were awesome. The decade’s films, video games and, of course, music were all far superior to what we endure now. And because of that, facets of this wondrous time continue to invade popular culture. The films get remakes, the games get sequels on new consoles and the music… well, that’s where bands like Spellcaster come into the picture. Alongside such names as Holy Grail, Savage Messiah, Toledo Steel and Dendera, Spellcaster are a band that brings ‘80s British metal into the modern era, mixing its grandiose and operatic nature with thrashing riffs and an upped dose of aggression. A great deal of you reading this may be unfamiliar with Spellcaster, so here are the cliff notes; since forming in 2009, the Oregon-based five-piece have released two studio albums – Under the Spell and its self-titled follow-up Spellcaster – and shared the stage with the likes of Exmortus, Anvil, Satan and Night Demon. The group’s Under the Spell debut was doubtlessly a stunning record (one of the best to come out of 2011’s metal underground), but their eponymous sophomore release was more problematic. Not only did it have a very low budget and production value, but it seemed to be missing the group’s je ne sais quoi: it didn’t feel as epic, inspired or powerful as its predecessor. However, two years later and under the care of their new home at Prosthetic Records, Spellcaster are ready to bounce back harder than ever with Night Hides the World. The record opens with ‘Aria’, beating its way into existence with the drums of Colin Vranizan, followed by Cory Boyd and Bryce Van Hoosen’s riffs. Singer Tyler Loney and bassist Gabe Franco soon complete the line-up, with the former truly stealing the show; Loney’s delivery throughout Night Hides the World is his best to date, feeling more empowered than ever before. And as the entirety of Spellcaster begins to work in tandem, it also showcases Night Hides the World’s marked improvement in production quality; unlike its predecessor, this album is crystal clear for its entire runtime, a testament to the effort that Prosthetic are clearly placing into the band.
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