Artist: Devil Lee Rot
Album Title: Metalizer
Label: Witches Brew
This is the fourth full-length release from Devil Lee Rot, a Swedish band that plays blackened Heavy Metal with NWOBHM influences. This is a side band of Thomas Karlsson, the frontman from Autopsy Torment and Pagan Rites.
The guitar sound here is pretty straightforward: repetitive 80's style Heavy Metal riffing with plenty of solos. The vocals are snarled in such a way that you can understand each line. The mixing job is especially commendable. Compared to Devil Lee Rot's previous albums, this one sounds much heavier, as the guitars have more bass-end.
Devil Lee Rot may be the ultimate example of what-you-see-is-what-you-get metal. This band exists only to invoke the first wave of Satanic heavy metal bands, from the denim and leather lyrics to the solos that you won't be able to get out of your head. Comparison points are many and obvious (Venom, early Bathory, Angel Witch), but Devil Lee Rot puts them together with more than enough originality to please this reviewer.
Most of this is due to the songwriting, which is truly top-notch. I'm not exaggerating when I say that these songs are unforgettable. Listen to "Pirates of Hell" or "In Hell Where Sinners Burn" just once, and you'll be muttering the chorus and humming the solos for weeks afterwards. Some of the songs on DLR's older albums are a bit self-indulgent, but the new and re-recorded songs here are lean and tight, making this an endlessly replayable album.
This leads me to the only possible weakness of "Metalizer" - the fact that more than half of the songs are re-recorded versions of tracks that were on DLR's previous albums. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed when I got a look at the tracklist for this one... but that doubt vanished once I heard the album. Thanks to the heavier mix (and no doubt more than a few months of practice), the re-recorded tracks sound brand new. The versions that appear here are definitive, so much better than the originals that there's little reason to bother with them anymore. That isn't to say that you shouldn't get the earlier albums, because they're loaded with other great tracks. If you've already got DLR's earlier stuff, don't hesitate to get this one as well, because the new songs are more than worth the price of admission. "Metalizer" is the height of Devil Lee Rot's output.
This is one of the most enjoyable albums I've heard in a long time. It's simple, straightforward, and heavy as Hell... what more do you need? Highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Pirates of Hell", "Devil's Diary", "In Hell Where Sinners Burn"