Elegant Weapons is an interesting new constellation of musicians, with the line-up including Richie Faulkner, a long-time Judas Priest guitarist. In addition, Ronnie Romero lends his voice to the band, while the rhythm section consists of Dave Rimmer (Uriah Heep) and Christopher Williams (Accept). Thus, there are experts at work in the band.
The fact that ‘Horns For a Halo can be released at all is a lucky twist of fate. As many of you know, Faulkner suffered an aneurysm during the Judas Priest show on September 26, 2021 and it was touch and go whether he would survive this situation. Fortunately, circumstances and quick help made the situation turn out well and Faulkner has recovered 100%. So there was nothing in the way for ‘Horns for a Halo’.
While Dave Rimmer will play bass on the live shows, it is none other than Pantera bassist Rex Brown who recorded the album together with Faulkner. The idea for the record, however, came some time ago. When Faulkner joined Judas Priest, it was a farewell tour. Well, the story took a different turn. Priest records were released and more tours followed. Yet Faulkner still had ‘Horns For a Halo’ on his mind. And since with Ronnie Romero also a singer stood in line, the roots of metal were also integrated vocally and the realisation of the project could begin.
The album contains ten songs – nine own compositions and with ‘Lights Out’ a cover version of the well-known UFO hit. The latter is worth listening to. Elegant Weapons do not move too far away from the original, yet at the same time add their own twist, which is good for the song.
However, it starts with a typical metal song called ‘Dead Man Walking’. Faulkner’s riffs and Romero’s voice give the song its sparkle, although it should be noted that Romero has refined many releases with his voice and so a saturation process is slowly spreading. However, nothing to worry about the vocal performance, because this is flawless.
It becomes more melancholic and darker with ‘Ghost of You’ in which the classic rock roots come to light. Rainbow is a band that comes to mind when I listen to this track.
The title track is thunderous. Heavy riff power and a more grunge-based chorus make the song a doom metal – grunge hybrid. The band follows a similar approach on the more Black Sabbath-inspired ‘White Horse’. Also to be mentioned is ‘Bitter Pill’ where the slow and heavy riffs are in the spotlight.
So what to think of ‘Horns For a Halo’? Well, the record is certainly not bad and the musicians involved are all experts of their craft. However, despite of all the positive points of view, the impression remains that the songs don’t really want to ignite even after repeated listening. Somehow too little remains. One listens to the record, likes everything and when the last note has faded away, not much stays with you. There could have been more here and it’s a bit of a missed opportunity.
- Dead Man Walking
- Do Or Die
- Blind Leading the Blind
- Ghost Of You
- Bitter Pill
- Lights Out
- Horns For a Halo
- Dirty Pig
- White Horse
- Downfall Rising
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date EU: May 26th, 2023
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