Blackmayne, like an uncanny number of bands, formed in the 1980s then split up due to disillusionment with the industry. Also like an uncanny number of bands, they got back together 25 years later to see what would happen.
The result was the re-issue of their self-titled debut album in 2016 (read my review here) and now the band has released Spat From Hell for our delectation.
The five-piece from Kent, England have once again produced an album of sheer metal class.
On the re-issue of Blackmayne there were three newly recorded bonus tracks, each of which had a more punky feel to them, as opposed to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound of the rest of the album.
So, when I slapped on Spat From Hell I was expecting new Blackmayne but what I got was a face full of old school metal Blackmayne, and I loved it.
The opening track “Don’t Envy the Dead” is very Iron Maiden inspired and vocalist Jay Duke even has a touch of Bruce Dickinson about him. As with several tracks on the album, it is about war and as such opens with the sounds of seagulls and gunfire, evoking thoughts of “fighting on the beaches”. It’s a storming way to get out of the blocks. Check out the excellent video below.
I first heard the next track, “Legions” on the compilation album Rawkaholics Vol I (read my review here) and I was surprised how much it differed from what I was used to with the band. The way Duke opens up with his voice lowered an octave or two caught me unaware but as the track grows it develops into an absolute monster. Duke strains every sinew above insistent riffs with additional power provided by Phil McDermott on bass. The twin leads of Julian Sackett and Scott Edwards bring superb depth to the track too.
Lusty pace and power brought by McDermott and drummer Mark Aldam are the order of the day on “Wolf Pack” with Maiden-esque twin riffage bringing a tingle of delight.
“Dead or Alive” has a touch of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” to it. It’s sharp, threatening and full of attitude.
A more traditional metal riff greets us on “Tale of Two Cities”. Whilst musically it’s got the NWoBHM stamp all over it, Duke’s vocals have a punkier edge which gives the song an extra dimension. The solo, too, is a classic delight.
“Sad” is played in a more deliberate fashion, with choppy riffs and vocals to match. Guitars and vocals take center stage on this tale of loss.
Romping riffs open up “The Mighty Rose”, a historical rundown of England’s battles with, well, everyone else in the world! The song moves from rousing chants to a more reflective middle section before getting back to metal business to finish. Top stuff!
The title track is up next and Duke once again shows his versatility. He really appears to inhabit every track, eking out every ounce of feeling and maximizing the effect of the song. I even detected a hint of Eric Adams (Manowar) in there. The dreamy middle section followed by an extended passage of riffing once again evokes Maiden but the rest of the track is all Blackmayne.
The one track to make a reappearance from the first album is “Hot Blooded Woman”. After the original sounded like it was recorded in a phone box, the newer version has more clarity to it and is much the better for it.
“Twilight of Lear” brings the close of Spat From Hell proper, and it contains the best solo of the album. A lovely prolonged effort which is suitably fitting for a killer album such as this.
There’s one bonus track in the form of opening track “Don’t Envy the Dead (Radio Edit)” which is basically the same but without the opening sound effects.
It has to be said that Spat From Hell is an example to all of how to create a quality metal album. Buy into every song as though your life depends on it (Duke), pump it up with pounding rhythm (McDermott and Aldam) then underpin it all with superb guitaring (Sackett and Edwards). Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It isn’t. That’s why you should support Blackmayne in all that they do.
Out now on Flicknife Records.