SLAVES TO FASHION – The History of Heavy Metal (2021)
In 2020 the heavy metal genre celebrated its 50 years anniversary. Black Sabbath released both their ground-breaking debut album and the mighty “Paranoid” in 1970. Norwegian act SLAVES TO FASHION celebrated this occasion in their own special way; each month of 2020 the band released one new original song that was inspired by, paid tribute to and represented a time period or sub-genre of heavy metal.
Now these songs have now been released as the concept album ”The History Of Heavy Metal”. This was a pretty ambitious project to take on but they seem to have captured the true spirit of each of the genres that are represented here on this release.
A stupendous fictional journey in time from ’70s metal, ’80s NWOBHM & hair / glam, thrash, power metal, etc, carefully written & produced. As example, for the song representing hair metal Beau Hill was hired to mix the track, the song about Sabbath, Purple & Zeppelin was recorded on vintage gear and analoge tape machines to capture the right vibe of the good old days, etc.
I have never heard of this band prior to listening to this album. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. I feel that they were able to pull off and represent each genre really well.
The first song on the album is “1970” and pays homage to the birth of heavy metal. The song starts off with a rain sound effect, heavy riff and a vocal that draws on that classic Ozzy-led Black Sabbath debut. As the song goes on you hear nods to Led Zeppelin and then it shifts to Deep Purple with the Hammond organ and then back to that early Sabbath sound.
Next up is the NWOBHM track called “The Priest of Maidenhead” and as the title suggests it’s a nod to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead. They really capture the essence of these three bands, from the singing style of Bruce Dickinson, Maiden lyrical content and song style, “Fast Eddie” Clark guitar fills and a portion of the song that reminds one of classic Judas Priest riffs and guitar work.
“Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll“ sees the band head to the glam metal / hair metal genre next. They had classic hair metal producer Beau Hill mix this track. This song brings back memories of the MTV days with cliche lyrics, catchy rhythms and big drums.
The song “Thrash of The Titans” as you can guess from the title pays homage to the “Big Four” of thrash metal. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Mixed by none other than Flemming Rasmussen who has worked with Metallica. The lyrics pay tribute to the album titles of the many releases by the Big Four.
“Garden of Chains” is a tribute to the Grunge era with the sounds of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. It’s well done, with down-tuned guitars et all.
“The Evergrowing Tree” is a 13-minute progressive epic that covers 3 areas of the progressive metal genre. Part I: Progressive Power, Part II: Alternative Alternatives, and Part III: Extreme Evolution. It covers lots of different styles and you can even hear a bit of Pantera.
“The Power of Metal” covers classic European power metal, mixed by Tommy Hansen (Helloween). Sing-along melodies, fast twin pedal drumming, high-pitched vocals, technical guitar solos, rich keyboard layers and classical variations… It’s grandiose, it’s pompous… It’s power metal.
“The NU Wine” takes care of the Nu-Metal genre and album closer “Too Close (to See Clearly)” handles Metalcore, symphonic metal, deathcore, folk metal, blackgaze, kawaii metal, etc
Overall this is a very ambitious effort that these Norwegians have pulled off. It was a great idea for a concept album and I enjoyed most of the songs, although some of these genres are not my favorites.
“The History of Heavy Metal” a carefully written, produced & executed album to honor and represent 50 years of the genre. It’s like a manual with all the instructions to teach someone what the hell is Heavy Metal.
01 – 1970
02 – The Priest of Maidenhead
03 – Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘N’ Roll
04 – Thrash of the Titans
05 – Expressions of Extremity
06 – Garden of Chains
07 – The Evergrowing Tree
08 – The Power of Metal
09 – The NU Wine
10 – Too Close (to See Clearly)
Johannes Støle (vocals)
Torfinn Sirnes (guitars)
Stein Arild Grønås (guitars)
John Lind (bass)
Vidar Ingvaldsen (drums)