Servant to your record collection

It can't have escaped many people's gaze that television is littered with cooking shows. Every Tom, Dick and Harry reckons they're a chef these days from ex-reality TV show muppets to models and newsreaders but just because you can follow a recipe that doesn't make you a chef, right? There's a similar dynamic at play on Nightblade's debut album. They've got all the right ingredients and followed the instructions to the letter but it's lacking something in the inspiration department.

Servant To Your Lair has distorted guitars, razor sharp leads aplenty and galloping rhythms referencing the great and the good from metal's past from Maiden to Metallica going right down to the classic cloaked skeleton with scythe on the cover courtesy of Geoff Tristram. The blurb inside the record booklet provides the context, "Uncovered for many generations, undisturbed for forthcoming decades, the priceless rewards must be enjoyed..." Nightblade may have only been formed two years ago but they're obviously life long metal fans dying for their chance to do it themselves.

Steeped in the bands that made metal's sound Nightblade open with a song called Helloween: their stall is set. The riffs are crunchy and cranked out with the requisite level of technique and singer Mark Crosby gets stuck into the narratives of the songs. There are plenty of hooks and soaring solos just as you would expect on songs like Under The Streetlights, the pumped Jekyll and Hyde recalling Ozzy Osbourne's eighties solo career, a slushy, slow number in Where You Started From and a straight Kill 'Em All lift on Your Shadow Behind

It's hard to fault the Kidderminster lads' inspiration or application but predictably Servant To Your Lair presents a situation where you've heard it all before and spend the majority of the overlong record placing riffs, lyrics and arrangements. Nightblade know their stuff and can certainly play but that doesn't make Servant To Your Lair a particularly interesting album.