Lady Beast - Vicious Breed

Lady Beast Vicious Breed cover
Lady Beast
Vicious Breed
Cruz Del Sur Music
Three’s a charm for Pennsylvania’s Lady Beast, which recently released its latest full-length, “Vicious Breed”, under Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music, a label which has the snout of a truffle pig when it comes to ferreting out downright toothsome traditional heavy metal, especially the no-frills and highly melodic kind (fine specimens also include Bible Of The Devil, Convent Guilt and Lunar Shadow). Led by a compelling front woman whose vocals are endowed with a poignant story-book aura the Pittsburghese powerhouse continues to apply its winning formula to eight sharply woven tracks averaging 4.5 minutes. Comparable in length to 2012’s “namesake” debut and 2015 sophomore, “Lady Beast II”, “Vicious Breed” constitutes more of a mature, if not subtle listen – the album title is a bit of a paradox as the tracks themselves are tamer than usual. Initially ambivalent about the quartet’s sanguine approach, I’ve come to appreciate this new development; a couple of familiarizing spins were all it took it to fondly reflect on the band’s ingratiating appeal and revere it, along with “Night Viper” and “Satan’s Hallow” of course, as a ruler of its domain, namely battle-some and occult themed female-fronted heavy metal.
At first I considered the overtly crisp level of production a mite sterile – the sound quality and resonance of Adam Ramage’s drums, combative and competitive as they are, are neglected compared to the guitars and vocals. On the other hand, the bass heartily sustains the harmonious and meaty guitar riffs; in fact, two thirds of the way into “Always With Me”, Greg Colaizzi lays down a tight, spiralling bass solo upon whence Chris “Twiz” Tritschler and Andy Ramage swoop in for the kill with a crushing return to form rhythm wise in lieu of their usual pyrotechnic leads. Levine, for her part, is simply brilliant on this, the longest track at six minutes, with her expressive longing punctuated by stellar vocal inflections.
Cast me as a ground hog but I readily dig how opener “Seal the Hex” commences with an elegiac and medieval guitar progression before the slowly building but no less commanding drum beat and poised power chords blow the lid clean off this Pandora’s Box. I was duly and truly sold even before the magniloquent Levine jumped in the fray. Also, note how the song’s compounding structure and late hypnotic bridge give way to a wondrously soaring guitar solo.
For the most part “Vicious Breed” is laid out in full typical Lady Beast epic glory yet the snarky, punk-ish “Get Out”’s latent guitar harmonies and rollicking drum beat evoke Di’Anno era Iron Maiden as well as White Wizzard’s early, more satisfying fare whilst the “fantabulous” instrumental “Sky Graves”, with its wistful guitar progressions, mournful melody and incepting revelry i.e. vertiginous build-up capped by mint lead guitar outbursts, brings to mind Cauldron’s seductive vocal-free experiment, “Delusive Serenade”, from last year’s “In Ruin”. In any case, there are no weak tracks or lacklustre moments on this album. Also, I can’t help but look over my shoulder when gleaning the incredibly subtle chain rattling in the title track’s first minute as it reminds me of a rather comical episode from harsh, paranoid drug using times; namely my desperately clasping the door to the bar fridge shut under the delusion my scurrilous neighbours had drilled a hole through the back as well as the wall behind it in order to jam in a raging and growling Pit-bull. Fun times!
Inane non-sequitur aside, Lady Beast’s “Vicious Breed” might not be as sizzling or jaw dropping-ly great as previous releases, but is still worthy of any metal head’s time. Should you require further coaxing check out the self-titled EP – especially the track “Armor” – but rest assured you won’t find any fault with this latest offering. Hail the She-Beast!