Dressed To Kill - Midnight Impulsion

Dressed To Kill Midnight Impulsion cover
Dressed To Kill
Midnight Impulsion
AreaDeath Production
A couple of weeks ago I was whining as usual, discussing with our dear editor in chief about newest releases while getting links to them and also exchanging gossip about the scene when he sent me a link to this – of all things Chinese Speed Metal combo… I sort of dismissed the notion, going like – a Chinese speed metal band – wtf… but intrigued; I sort of went to their bandcamp page and pressed play… I was expecting some really mediocre result and while Dressed To Kill didn’t set my world on fire, all the way, I was left thinking wtf… these guys are actually much better than 90% of the “shit” the new wave of true metal (NWOTHM) intelligentsia is trying to shove down the public’s throats…
Sure enough there are weaknesses to be found if one looks hard enough, but the entirety of the album is permeated from the same ethos and fearlessness that characterized a boatload of NWOBHM bands.
So past a synth-y “intro” that sounds like titles music for some 80s sci-fi b-movie, we’re greeted with a speedinous onslaught that owes a boatload to NWOBHM bands (think a tamer Raven or a faster – more restless Tokyo Blade) but also has traces of proto-teutonic melo-speed (Avenger or Helloween, but with somewhat weaker vocals, a less technical Satan at their fastest might be quite the apt description, or Burner). Or if you don’t wanna compare them to a British bands, a little whimpier Anvil.
“Midnight Comes Around” has a killer riff and the guitars keep coming up with pieces that might not compete for sounding extremely original, but at least they sound entirely appropriate. The chorus is sweet and the vocals are pretty good for a Chinese fella… I mean most Asian vocalists tend to have extremely “accented” vocals, but Yang Ce (the vocalist) seems to not be that much affected; you can tell he’s not English, but I’d hardly guess the exotic origin, just by listening to the music… which is what matters.
“Rose of Kowloon” drops the speed and becomes more melodic, quite in line with the more melodic side of Tokyo Blade and their various other incarnations. It’s fairly catchy without becoming wimpy… think 70s Scorpions at their loudest or the way in which Enforcer is “melodic”.
“Welcome to the Carnival” begins with “Entry of the Gladiators” like a thousand other “circus” related songs, but then it proceeds to unleash a very careful mid-tempo attack, with edgy guitars and rumbling guitars, that left me pretty gobsmacked. You could have cut this onto a 7" claimed it was a long lost NWOBHM gem and people might have been convinced, for all I know. That’s how good it is.
“Breaking Thru the Skies” is spunkier and while the wheels don’t come off, due to excess speeding it’s dwelling right on the threshold, only slowing down for a nice breakdown and solo before it picks up some speed again.
“Rock on the Way of Dreams” is a bit shinier and more hard and heavy. Taking cues from both sides of the Atlantic, it’s quite a nice piece… think Lion, Dokken, Vain, a little bit of proto-Leppard and Heavy Petting… that sort of vibe.
“Blade in the Night” begins with some furious guitars, straight back to the speed metal side of things…
“Murder City” is a track taken from the band’s debut EP from back in 2013 (which had a different singer) re-recorded. It’s a lot straighter forward and maybe the dryer production is also a little cleaner on this one, than on the rest of the tracks, that sound a little looser and lacking bottom end. Here the mix is a little clearer, I feel.
“Queen of the Light” has an intro that feels like someone took an Iron Maiden instrumental and re-made it in China… it has something exotic about it… past this it settles for a pretty typical, NWOBHM mid-tempo that feels rather appropriate.
Last but not least comes, “Speed Metal Mania”, which is not as breakneck fast as the title might have you believe, but is a rather melodic affair that’s fleet on its feet; it has more than a fleeting Maidenesque similarity and a couple of nice solos, the first of which is noodlier than the latter one.
Overall, a surprisingly solid, piece of retro sounding metal that is even produced in a way that makes it sound era-appropriate. While it’s not perfect, it easily kicks the ass of half the “underground” true metal albums that came out in the past couple of years.