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Death Dealer: Hallowed Ground

What’s the opposite of false metal? This is

All you really need to know about Death Dealer is that ex-Manowar guitarist Ross The Boss is involved.

The architect of some of the greatest epic riffs of all time, he’s on blazing form here, those unquestionable metal credentials ensuring that Hallowed Ground never strays from a template of brutish traditionalism. In contrast to a lot of old-school bands currently doing the rounds, Death Dealer do exhibit an awareness of metal post-1990, albeit primarily in terms of production and the sheer weight of those imperious power chords.

The rest is simply an exercise in punishing, fists-in-the-air anthems, including one actually called The Anthem that, admirably, boasts the stirring refrain: ‘Heavy metal till we die!

Everything is delivered with utmost aggression and belief and a heartening lack of power metal’s grating cheeriness. Fans of Accept, Grave Digger and, in particular, Jugulator-era Priest will feel at home amid the dark rumble of Total Devastation, while diehard thrashers will welcome the bruises incurred by Plan Of Attack. Heavy metal or no metal at all. You know the rest.