Blitzkrieg - Judge Not!

Blitzkrieg Judge Not! cover
Judge Not!
Mighty Music
NWOBHM legends Blitzkrieg, a band that famously Metallica covered and were inspired by, are by all accounts not the most prolific of bands in terms of output, especially since the recent re-emergence of Satan, another NWOBHM band that frontman Brian Ross also fronts that seemed to push Blitzkrieg to the backburner of things. With only 3 original albums and a re-recording in the new millennium and those far apart, usually by 5 years or so, I was really skeptical of what this album would sound like.
It’s more or less what you knew and sort of expected, old school plain good old heavy metal, your basic meat and potatoes version, no fancy stuff, apart from the occasional solo, long winded – literature or horror inspired lyrics and so on… and a somewhat better mix this time around than in the far past.
“Heretic” is an intro with a heartbeat that breaks into a guitar paean that welcomes the oddly titled “Wide Legged and Headless” as the first true opener. It’s mid to fast paced, with barraging drums, typical of Blitzkrieg, with Ross crooning about necrophilia of all things… aw, rawmantisicsm.
“Falling into Darkness” tries hard to create an atmosphere to go with its Dorian Grey inspired lyrics, but it should have been a lot heavier and thicker in the mix, to create that gloomy atmosphere it tries and maybe more ‘verbed overall. Close, almost there, but just missing the proverbial cigar.
“Who is Blind” tries to one up things, with a drum thrasshault, at first, but it soon reverts to usual Blitzkrieg mid-tempo fare. It has another charming idea during some of the verses and socially conscious lyrics, but overall it lacks a bit the glue that would hold it’s good verses and decent chorus together for long enough.
“Forever is a Long Time” is your average “vampire” inspired, heavy metal novel of a song. Thankfully not “Twilight”, but “Nosferatu” it’s neither. Decent, but spread out rather thin and it could have been a little more “compact” and a tiny faster, to be quite honest.
“Reign of Fire” is another decent mid -tempo Blitz-song, with a fetching riff and a nice couple of leads all about social unrest and the weird times we’re living in.
“All Hell is Breaking Loose” is pseudosatanic mid-tempo fare, with some nice ideas and a decent, probably the best, solo of the album to that point, but Ross’s attempt to nail a scream that seems to be out of his range at the end leaves a bit of a bad aftertaste.
“Angels & Demons” seems to fair a little better in terms of inspiration, and even execution at first, but quickly it becomes a little repetitive of its ideas with only the solo, standing out in the middle, a song that could have been much better with a little rearrangement and more daring ideas. It seems that Blitz’s biggest charm or flaw is that their boogie-woogie rock inspired metal, seems to have a tendency to stay quite flat when it comes to dynamics, with Ross’s crooning – being both the charm and the Achilles heel of the whole thing.
“Loud and Proud” pays tribute to the “legends” of the past – and it’s decent for one of “this sort” of metal-pride songs… since others are totally cringe-worthy and this despite its clichés – seems to be rather fair in its simplicity.
“Without You” seems to be a more sentimental song, akin to a ballad, not exactly one, since you still get the electric guitars in there, making a bit of a noise. I mean, I’d like to see B’s daring to go acoustic with only hints of electricity here, something that seems to be beyond their comfort zone. The main idea and melody of the song are nice, but feel a bit under-developed, in all honesty.
Lastly, “Judge Not, Lest You Yourself Be Judged” tries to close the album in a heavy, epic and brooding way and almost succeeds to channel, the Blitz of yesteryear, in an courtroom drama song that seems to revisit a couple of Blitzkrieg hallmarks. Interesting…
All in all, not good, or bad, “Judge Not!” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it doesn’t even try to improve the design, but offers more of the same, which in some people’s books is a good thing, while in others a sign of stagnation. I can live with that, but let’s be honest, I wasn’t taken by some wild excitement while listening to the album. I was rather mildly reminded why I liked Blitzkrieg in the first place and cracked a half smile.