Vorpal Nomad – Hyperborea
Holy crap, it’s 1981 again! Wait, what?, it’s still 2012? Doc Brown mentioned something about pushing the DeLorean to 90, but I forgot why, exactly… Had I not been given any info on Vorpal Nomad, I would have figured Hyperborea to be from yet another lost British band from the NWOBHM heyday (only this one happened to find a studio with a keyboard lying around). The shoestring budget production, vocals, riffs, and song construction SCREAM “We’re playing at the Rainbow with Angel Witch and Blitzkrieg tomorrow!” (That’s a good thing.)
So, Vorpal Nomad are labeled as “power metal,” and this is really only the case if you take an old-school American band like Jag Panzer or Manowar and throw Jens Carlsson (Persuader, Dark Empire, Savage Circus) on vocals. Everything here just bleeds “we love Saxon and Diamond Head!”
All 8 tracks (“Hyperborea” is an intro) are pure speed metal, picking the best from all those old vinyls recorded in “studios” and released by “record companies” in Maggie Thatcher’s London at a time when Atari was an intelligent and profitable video game company. Sure, there’s a serious Keepers influence here, but the riffs are far more proto-thrash than proto-power. The only close comparison that comes to mind is Persuader’s The Hunter…from 2000. This is pure go-for-the-throat metal, without trying to work in some kind of story arc or orchestral interludes. The album clocks in at a mere 42 minutes (other than the epic “As The Otherworld Falls Down,” nothing is over 6 minutes), and it’s a very brisk 42 minutes (not a drawn-out 42 minutes like Stratovarius’s “Papillon”…wait, that was only 7?).
It’s hard to nail down a favorite track, but the sheer belted awesomeness of being “AS MAD AS A HATTER!” pushes “The Mad Hatter” to the top of the heap, along with “Skull Island” and the aforementioned “As The Otherworld Falls Down.” But, that doesn’t mean anything here is bad. In fact, the entire album is potential “But ‘_________’ is the best song!” material.
So yeah, if you love lo-fi NWOBHM production, killer raspy vocals, uptempo drumming, non-stop riffage, and some serious shredding, this album is for you!
Kylie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5