Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins
With passion and ferocity, Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins channels classic metal sounds that will have fans of the genre filled with both nostalgia and excitement.
Opening with ‘Apocalypse Rider’, the nods towards Sabbath are immediately apparent, with some shredding from Mike Chlasciak that is simply electrifying. The track simply powers forwards, dragging the listener along with utter disregard as to whether they want to come along for the ride or not.
‘Red Death’ holds back on things a little more, all the while maintaining a sense of tension and explosive potential, which begins to reveal itself as the drums begin to spill over and the shreds of guitar step into play. There is a beauty and a simplicity to the melodic elements which perfectly sit beneath Alan Tecchio’s impassioned vocals. The album’s first few tracks offer a wide range of tones and styles, seeing ‘The Quest’ move from delicate acoustic guitar work into a fierce attack of classic metal brutality, evolving into a track that demands some serious headbanging, while ‘The Outsider’ takes things one step further with some dark vocal growls that lurch into an almost military chant.
The album carefully walks the line between the darker elements of metal and the fresh, sparkling chimes that come out of modern music production, creating a consistently interesting sound. Even in the midst of the heavy hammering of metal battering, there are moments where the thunder clouds of doom part for a while, such as on ‘Masada’, which moves from a country inspired guitar riff to a massive belting sound of epic proportions.
The album’s title track ‘Silent Assassins’ truly deserves to stand as such, as it sets itself apart as a glorious celebration of classic metal that spans across many decades, all the while keeping one eye firmly on the late eighties with no hint of irony to be found, and ‘Ragnarok’ maintains this purist sensibility – a fun ride through Valhalla with Norse god references and a chorus that is utterly impossible to get out of your head once you have heard.
‘The Progeny’ features some darkly brooding tones that create an eerie soundscape which gradually evolves into a fierce, chugging powerhouse, with a piercing vocal that cuts through the darkness with energy and sparkle.
Silent Assassins reaches its conclusion with ‘Oath Of Honor’, an eleven minute epic that features the richness of cathedral organs and glacial choral voices before lunging head first into a pummelling section of guitar shred that is the perfect ending for an album made for metalheads, by metalheads.
Make no mistake, Silent Assassins won’t be to everyone’s taste – this is truly a love letter to all the classic tropes found in metal for the last few decades. Because of this, it will be a true delight for anyone who has held even a passing interest in the genre, and will be a real treat for all the die hard fans out there.