LICK THE BLADE – Graveyard Of Empires

LICK THE BLADE - Graveyard Of Empires
  • 7.5/10
    LICK THE BLADE - Graveyard Of Empires - 7.5/10


Auburn Records
Release date: July 18, 2009

User Review
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Lick The Blade is yet another reminder of the great days of the early 80s when NWOBHM and its wonderful melodies reigned the rising Metal scenes. As a band from the USA that plays the true form of Heavy Metal, one cannot ignore Lick The Blade’s main, and utmost, influence; that being Iron Maiden ladies and gentlemen.

Lick The Blade found in the early Iron Maiden albums their true nature and reason for existence. It is probable that you might add more bands such as Judas Priest, Helstar, Cage, Mercyful Fate and tons of other NWOBHM bands or influenced groups, to that well known mix. Yet with each and every passing song on their debut album, Graveyard Of Empires, whether it’s the melodic guitars fortified by dreamy harmonies or the complex, diverse and gallopy bass line or the power of the nostalgic drumming of the last century in Metal and of course by the high pitched craze of the vocals – the old soul lives and breathes through bands such as Lick The Blade. Their debut album shows that if this is what the Metal world gets in 2009 then everything might be cool as time goes by.

Auburn Records did well by signing this young band from the US as every label needs to hold on and cherish a band that is really a torchbearer for true Metal. They do know how to pay their respects for the giants that created the same genre that every single Metal band worldwide plays each in its own view.

As a band that follows the old ways, Lick The Blade made sure that their production was appropriate for an 80s inspired band. The production was maintained by Bill Peters of Auburn Records who did quite a good job on the album, aside from some inadequacies regarding the vocal line of the mayhemic banshee Ted Anderson (volume inconsistencies – mastering wise).

With the production in check, Lick The Blade shaped their music, by their own views, yet very much different than other US Metal bands. Graveyard Of Empires is presented as a fairly historical object of the past age of Metal in Britain rather than the US. As many most likely know, when Heavy Metal, to be precise NWOBHM, landed in the USA it turned a bit heavier than it was played in Britain. The British Isle had some heavy cannons of its own like Satan for example, the first American Metal was heavier and in time changed and split into varieties of Heavy Metal such as US Metal or US Power Metal. On their album, Lick The Blade remained true and loyal to the British style of Metal made between 1980-1984 in comparison to other US Metal bands and in a general view of things, they performed quite nicely and were able to recreate many of the lost riffs and punches of that miraculous epoch.

Nevertheless, with all the glory of those times, Lick The Blade didn’t leave any impression that they created something special while using their influences. The fact is that even in Britain, and later on in the US, every band had something that the other had and that caused some major similarities between groups. For many it didn’t bother much and many kept on going without turning their heads. However, in the case of Lick The Blade, we are talking 25+ years after that era and of course some would say that it is good and refreshing to have a band that is able to make music, that sadly, is almost lost and gone. That assumption is true, this Metal world needs more acts such as these. But with the need there has to be something that put Lick The Blade, as a very talented group, in the limelight with certain elements or ingredients that will make them the next thing around in classic Heavy Metal – unfortunately, throughout Graveyard Of Empires those indifferent features are hard to come by. Lick The Blade has the image, as well as the talent of using their roots, yet they also can be one of the best tribute bands to Iron Maiden and even better from those official Maiden tribute bands.

As for the material presented on the album, Lick The Blade, with their prowess can be even better, however this release is quite nice on its own even if there are tunes that are sort of rip offs of some classic Maiden riffage. From this end, it is believed that Lick The Blade will have more to show in the future than what is being presented here and they should read those lines because they are a good band.

In Graveyard Of Empires there are several nice and potential tracks for the diehard NWOBHM and Maiden fans as “Royal Blood”, “Stalker”, “ Lick The Blade”, “Thanatos” (“The Trooper” rides with this one very often yet it’s still a blasting song), “Red Warning” and “Sea Of Apathy” from the “Seven Seas Of Fate” trilogy, “Resistance, Rebellion, And Death” and the memorable instrumental “Rex Mundi”.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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