SARISSA, one of the oldest heavy metal bands in Greece, straight from the North (Thessaloniki), are back with a brand new album and a big line up change: bringing back the singer of the first killer demo of 1987, replacing Nick Iglezos who sang on the bands’ previous albums “Sarissa” (1994) and “Masters Of Sins” (2004). The band was twice disbanded (1995, 2007) and reformed twice (1999, 2012), not having a steady presence on the scene, releasing albums roughly, once a decade. It won’t affect they way I’ll review their new album “Nemesis“, but it’s definitely an important note.

The album kicks in with “Daughter Of The Night (Nemesis)”, a great bass intro and a middle-eastern main guitar melody. What one can immediately notice, is the ideal guitar tone and overall production of the album. The song evolves in a full-on heavy metal riff-fest. Then the vocals kick in, and ruin the whole fuckin’ thing, with that annoying, snarly vocal tone, sounding as if he’s out of key, destroying every chance for anthem heavy metal songs, that’ ll give you goosebumps, as they’re supposed to. I tried everything, turning the volume up, trying different headphones, and the only thing I achieved was a minor headache, and it’s not supposed to be this way. I have no fuckin’ clue, why they did this to themselves.

“No Man’s Land”, is a heavy metal anthemic track, with really good riffs, metal riffs as they should be written. “Sacrifice”, is a mid-tempo dark headbanger, meant to make heads roll, and the solos delivering the goods, as they’re supposed to. That one and “Into The Night” are being the ones, that the vocals are not that bad and annoying. “Now Or Never”, is another dark headbanger, reminding me of Judas Priest and Accept. Coming up next, “Fallen” is one of the heaviest numbers on the album, giving us quality soloing and listening pleasure. Time for a more rocking track, called “Fight The Devil”, with a chorus made for drinking lots and lots of beers. And now, the ballad “I’m Coming Home”, with its acoustic feel, before turning into an old school rocking powerhouse. The chanting intro of “Warriors”, brings another darkened headbanger, with the chanting in the back making it sound truly epic. If only the vocals were as good.

And that’s the most aggravating part of it all. Those nine songs, could be killers with a different vocalist, be it Nick Iglezos for example. Now, they’re just good, and lots of work has been put into the rest of the songs, to be called “just good”. Either get a vocalist, who can support those great hooks you’ve written, or remain in the same status you’ve always had.

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