DURBIN – The Beast Awakens

DURBIN - The Beast Awakens
  • 8.1/10
    DURBIN - The Beast Awakens - 8.1/10


Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Release date: February 12, 2021

User Review
9.75/10 (2 votes)

Long Live Metal

American vocalist/guitarist James Durbin has released his 4th album titled The Beast Awakens on Frontiers Music. Many associate his name with his appearance on season 10 of American Idol, where he was unabashedly flying the flag for Heavy Metal. On the finale, he appeared with undisputed metal gods Judas Priest for rousing renditions of “Livin’ After Midnight” and “Breaking the Law”. Durbin has put together a solid album of what can be described as a mix of several styles of ’80s Metal, harkening back to the days of Dio, Ratt, and Quiet Riot.

Love Letter to ’80s Metal

The Beast Awakens is an album that feels like a love letter to ’80s Metal, loaded with sounds and styles that proclaim his love for the genre and era that spawned so much great music. Considering himself a Heavy Metal revivalist, James Durbin explains his approach to the new record: “The opportunity to begin to write the next chapter of my musical life with Frontiers has given me the creative recharge I’ve needed. We are establishing the musical direction I’ve been envisioning in my head for all these years and I’m so happy to have finally found a home for it.”

Favorite Tracks

For this reviewer, this is one of those albums that didn’t hit home until about the 3rd listening, but when it did, it hit hard. “The Prince of Metal” is a strong album opener, reminding us of bands like Grim Reaper. The slower paced “Sacred Mountain” has a feel that takes us back to Dio and “Holy Diver” with it’s mood and tempo, as Durbin sings his heart out. Speaking of Dio influences, “Riders of the Wind” has that same tempo and feel as the classic Black Sabbath track “Heaven and Hell”.

Final Notes

It’s heart warming to see a young talent take up the Heavy Metal banner, proudly proclaiming their love for a musical genre that remains a solid staple in our society. James Durbin has a great voice, and delivers the goods here with The Beast Awakens.  Durbin emulates the greats, and pays a loving tribute to the early years of the Heavy Metal movement, and in doing so is making a name for himself. If you like the wide variety of metal styles that came out of the ’80s, then you are sure to find more than a few gems on this release. Support the music you love: buy the albums directly from the artist/label!

James Durbin photo
James Durbin


James Durbin – vocals, acoustic & electric rhythm guitars
Barry Sparks – bass
Mike Vanderhule – drums
Chris Jericho – guest vocals
Phil Demmel, Jon Yadon Jr, Marc Putnam, Dylan Rose & Nick Gallant – lead guitars
Ryan Heggum, Ellison & Jeremy Locke – additional guitars:
Earl Salindo – keyboards/synths
Paul Grimm – textures/pads

The Beast Awakens – Tracklist

01. The Prince of Metal
02. Kings Before You (Ft. Chris Jericho & Phil Demmel)
03. Into the Flames
04. The Sacred Mountain
05. The Beast Awakens
06. Evil Eye
07. Necromancer
08. Riders on The Wind
09. Calling Out for Midnight
10. Battle Cry
11. By the Horns
12. Rise to Valhalla


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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