Now, there are a lot of Tyrants in the metal world – this outfit isn’t even the only Tyrant from California. But, other than the Tyrant that changed its name to Saint Vitus or the other Tyrant that changed its name to Jag Panzer, these guys are probably the most well known Tyrant, as their two mid-80’s releases on Metal Blade have become cult classics. After one more album, and a slew of compilation appearances, in the 90’s, Hereafter marks the band’s first full-length effort in almost 24 years.
While I might have seen their patches on a couple of battle vests, I can’t say I’m all that familiar with the band’s 80’s output. But what caught my attention on this comeback effort was their new singer Robert Lowe, of Solitude Aeturnus (and more recently Candlemass) fame. While the music on Hereafter leans more toward traditional metal than epic doom, it still suits his vocals quite nicely.
After the spoken-word intro “Tyrant’s Revelation,” the album kicks off with “Dancing on Graves,” a solid piece of mid-tempo trad metal in the vein of Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance era, with a singalongable chorus that simply repeats the song title, with a couple “Whoa-ohs” thrown in for good measure. “The Darkness Comes” offers a similar taste of true metal, with a sneering vocal and chugging verse, albeit lacking the epic chorus of its predecessor.
At a shade under seven minutes, “Fire Burns” comes closer to Lowe’s work with Candlemass, complete with soaring doom-metal chorus, while its pre-chorus riff is very reminiscent of Sabbath’s “Into the Void.” Likewise, the eight-and-a-half-minute title track slows things down considerably, with more melodic passages and a bit of of a Dio-era Sabbath vibe (I’m thinking “Sign of the Southern Cross”).
The galloping “Pieces of Mind” wouldn’t sound outta place on Maiden’s Powerslave, while “Until the Day” sounds like another mid-tempo Sabbathian stomper – with the opening line of “Wash your hands” echoing common advice around the Coronavirus. Eerie, really eerie…
(Shadow Kingdom Records)