Hold High the Flame
Release Date: December 11, 2015
When You think of North Carolina, USA, you admittedly could think of many things: the NASCAR hall of fame, the Wright brothers and their historical flight, the mystery of Roanoke, even sweet potatoes (evidently NC is the United State’s biggest producer of sweet potatoes… who knew?) but one thing that generally does NOT come to mind is power metal. Final Sign just might change that with their debut album entitled Hold High the Flame which is an energetic blend of US style power metal, thrash, and classic metal. Equal parts melody and muscle, guitarist Brian “Hellstorm” Williams shreds some serious riffage here while vocalist Shawn Pelata delivers a powerful yet grounded performance, eschewing the vibrato and soaring vocal style that this genre of music is most known for. In fact, calling Hold High the Flame ‘power metal’ is somewhat misleading. Sure there are some definite elements involved but there are equal parts thrash and old school metal in there as well. If you judged this album by its wonderfully cliched album cover then you would be sorely mistaken.
Take the title track “Hold High The Flame” which has more in common with early Queensryche than anything strictly considered ‘power metal’ these days. A classic driving riff, galloping percussion and very Geoff Tate-esque vocals make this track a nostalgic pleasure, while the very next track “Possessor” brings to mind the speed metal acts of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Aggressive and razor tight, equal parts Brainstorm and Anthrax, Final Sign walk the line between heavy-handed retro metal and power metal’s finesse, equal parts grit and glamor. Truly a solid debut album, with considerably more depth than one would initially assume, which promises even more great things to come in the future.
Reviewed by Farron1340