If you find this review of War Gods of the Deep helpful and find that you like the album, the chances are that you’ll like to find out more about the band. If that is the case then good luck to you. Details about this heavy metal band are sketchy, to say the least. And I cannot say with confidence that they are indeed a band.
There’s a picture of a ‘band’ on their website, but the liner notes say that everything, and I mean everything, is done by one Rikki Currence. Guitars, bass, drums, vocals, keyboard programming, orchestration and string arrangements. Everything except the mastering. And the artwork.
So, in true Chris Black/High Spirits fashion, Rikki is da man.
War Gods of the Deep have previously released two EPs but now we have their debut full-length album, Action Space Battle.
The band says they are mostly influenced musically by classic rock and in particular KISS and Queen. Creatively, they have a deep love of Marvel comics and 70s and 80s pulp, sci-fi and horror magazines, which can be seen reflected in the album cover.
Mix all these influences together and we get Action Space Battle. Despite the influence of classic rock, this is more of a metal affair. War Gods of the Deep intend the album to be played as a whole and in one go, “to ensure that you have given yourself the best opportunity to both absorb and experience the complete vision for this particular musical journey”.
The album opens with “Transmission” which is an exercise in call and response. The vocalist sends out the call and the response comes in from gang vocals, it’s stirring stuff. The later riffs also bring the Queen vibe.
The pace is slightly picked up on “Sons of the Serpent” but it was at this time I started getting concerned about the vocalist’s range, or indeed lack of it. There’s a very narrow range there which inhibits variety in the songs. This led me to think that’s why there’s so much gang/choral work going on.
“Life Coach” is another song reliant on gang vocals and layered harmonies to get its point across, with the individual vocals being more spoken than sung.
“Beautiful Oblivion” gets the associated atmosphere across perfectly, I felt like I was falling into said oblivion whilst listening to it but I’m not sure that was quite the aim.
It’s epic time now with “The Machine”. Coming in at 10 minutes, variety is needed at regular intervals but due to the aforementioned vocal range issue this proves difficult.
“Done” opens with a jovial Dave Lee Roth type talked intro. From then on, it’s really more of the same medium-paced tuned down metal with the odd multi-layered rhythm guitar.
There’s more of a classic rock feel on “Light of Your Soul” than on any track so far and it’s also the best track so far. There’s plenty of rhythm and pace to get stuck into.
“Burn the Misery” starts with a fake radio intro, asking “Do you like love songs?”, which is an odd one as it’s not a love song. It is, however, a good track with melody aplenty and rocks along nicely.
“One of Us” plows the same furrow as many of the other songs, sadly quite monotone.
Finally, we have “Horizon” which has some nice riffs and runs but is restricted once again by the vocals.
Sadly, overall, I get the feeling that the music is being held back by the limitations of the vocals. I also feel the band, or whoever, have so much more to offer if only ‘they’ could change that side of things.
Action Space Battle is out September 17, 2019, on Astro Dragon Records.