I’ve always felt a bit sorry for Cauldron. Ever since they formed in 2006, the Canadian’s seemingly have to have the phrase “New Wave Of Heavy Metal” somewhere in close proximity.
Lets be fair, there are worse bands to be compared to than Iron Maiden and the like (they are after all, the kings of the world and will not be going on forever) but this entry on their Wikipedia page is typical: “Cauldron is considered[by whom?] a part of the new wave of traditional heavy metal, an ongoing movement that has seen the return of traditional-sounding metal bands, similar to the Swedish glam metal revival. The name is taken from the new wave of British heavy metal, with which the movement strongly identifies. Other bands considered[by whom?] part of the movement include White Wizzard, Enforcer, Skull Fist, Steelwing and Sons of Lioth.”
Such bullshit assumes that metal ever died. It didn’t. So whoever has written the words “by whom” is a genius, because the answer is “by everyone – except me”.
I’ve seen every band that paragraph mentions except Sons Of Lioth (who to be fair I am unfamiliar with) and I can’t see where Cauldron fit in. I ‘ve heard every one of their four albums in the last 12 years, and I have to say that I find the quasi dismissal of them as almost “just another” metal band in many ways derogatory.
It’s like this: Iron Maiden are one of my favourite bands (like every music nerd my favourite rotates depending on mood) and I spend a lot of time listening to them. Beyond the fact they are a metal band and so are Jason Decay and the boys, there isn’t much of “Aces High” or The Wicker Man” for example, here.
Indeed, to me anyway, Cauldron have always sounded like early Motley Crue – when they were a metal band before all the Girls, Girls, Girls and Doctor Feelgood – playing some Black Sabbath or Blue Oster Cult for kicks.
So it is with “New Gods”. “Prisoner Of The Past” is a mid-tempo chugger to kick things off and the whole feel of the thing is straight from the 1970s. Like always there’s a hook too – and ambition that is beyond the norm.
And that is my point, Cauldron might love Maiden and the like – and everyone should – but they are more innovative than the mere copy that many lazy reviews suggest. In Ian Chains they have one of the more talented guitarists around, and here he is to the fore again. “Letting Go” stirs the pot to find some occult sounding alchemy. If this belonged to the vastly overated Ghost, say, Download collectively would have wet itself.
“No Longer” – which typically for the record starts with a riff and builds from there – grooves too. This is not denim and leather (even if they did bring us all together – and no doubt that’s true of Cauldron too) it has more melody and an authenticity.
“Save The Truth” likewise, even though it does slam a little more. Perhaps because of this it segues into “Syracuse”, a downright weird couple of minutes that must mean something more to the band.
If “New Gods” does veer into NWOHM areas, then “Never Be Found” is probably the most likely to take the honour, while “Drown” is pure Sabbath grooves. I live about 5 miles from Tony Iommi cut the top of his finger off all those years ago and he’d be gratified that his legacy still resonates as Chains plays a blinder here – joined by drummer Myles Deck to offer something special.
“Together As None” is a real left turn. A bonafide mid-paced early Def Leppard style number (and yes, I am aware that they too were a NWOBHM band), it shows a different side to the trio, and though “Isolation” winds its instrumental way entirely pleasantly, the band are better on “Last Request” which sees them let their hair down and really go for it.
So, whilst these “New Gods” sound a bit like the old – and current – ones, Cauldron are more than that. Metal Gods? Yeah, but on their own terms. No one else’s.