DISARM GOLIATH – ‘Born To Rule’ (Independent)
A five-piece metal band from the West Midlands with a decidedly and deliciously classic metal sound Disarm Goliath have already built up an intense and loyal following thanks to their 2001 self-released debut album ‘Only The Devil Can Stop Us’. The album was subsequently (and very successfully) re-issued on vinyl in 2007 and, proving indeed that only Old Nick can stand in their way, two EPs later the band are now back with album number two ‘Born To Rule’.
From the Anthrax-tinged opener ‘Embrace The Abyss’ to the multi-time changing closer ‘Raining Steel’ via the Maidenesque ‘Man Of Sins’ ‘Born To Rule’ is a trad metal fan’s dream and a must for those who of us who like to live their life in the past lane. Eight heads-down but highly memorable songs are despatched in just 36 minutes, driven by steamroller riffs and topped ‘n’ tailed by new singer Steve Bell’s banshee wail which gives the band the feel of prime-time Raven or maybe NWOBHM heroes Mythra. Also new to the band is guitarist Anthony Ellis, whose collaboration with fellow six-stringer Steve Beville produces some extremely exciting and invigorating riffage and lead runs. In fact one of the album’s many strengths is the maturity of both the performances and the songwriting: the songs have been honed in the live environment for eighteen months so stand quite naturally on their own two feet, and apparently came together quite easily too. “We are fortunate that everyone in the band has a knack of coming up with strong riffs and strong melodies, and that’s important to us,” comments bassist Steve Surch.
Disarm Goliath happily sport their influences on their bike jacket sleeves, but this is in tribute, not in imitation; the band are obviously influenced by classic metal and the NWOBHM in particular, when men were men and trousers were stripy, a fact which Surch does not deny. “Yes, we are influenced by the NWOBHM and I would have liked us to have been around in the early Eighties as it must have been great time for metal. I watch footage of that period and it excites me; I don't really know why, maybe it’s because it was so new and very real at that time. So we want to carry on the trad metal vibe. To be honest, our main influence is probably Judas Priest but from the NWOBHM scene I think Maiden are THE BAND – they seem to be the one that we all like – but I am a fan of Saxon, Diamond Head and Angel Witch, to name but a few. Other influences come from the likes of Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, Firewind, and Helloween but I guess these were influenced in their own way by the NWOBHM so we are all coming from the same melting pot.”
The whole shebang is bravely self-produced too. “We knew the pressure would be on us to make a quality sounding album,” recalls Surch, “but it was really Steve Beville's idea to go it alone. He had been doing a course on recording at Birmingham Uni and so was really into the idea; he said he could do a good job so we went with it. Anthony also has experience of recording groups so we were confident that for an unsigned band with no money we could do a good job. The recording process did take a while – months, in fact – but that’s because we wanted to make the best sounding album that we could and one that would stand up next to the recordings of signed bands.” And you know what? They’ve succeeded: ‘Born To Rule’ is a beautifully unpolished rough diamond, an album shot through with power and passion, and everything a fan of a traditional metal could wish for. ‘Born To Rule’? Most definitely.
© John Tucker May 2012