Band –  Cauldron

Album – New Gods

Country of Origin – Canada

Genre – Heavy Metal

Release Date – September 7th, 2018

Label – The End Records

Author – Johnny The Fox

Oh, the memories. It’s as if it just happened yesterday: it was April, 2013, and this metal writer and fan was at the old Uli’s in Lansing, anxiously waiting for British legends Diamond Head to take the stage. After a couple local openers, a denim/t-shirt-clad trio of longhairs launched a veritable firestorm of old-school metal upon us. These guys were loud, energetic, brash, and a hell of a lot of fun. Oh, yeah — and they were Canadian.

Fast forward five-plus years, and Canada’s premier NWOTHM (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal) trio is still turning heads and bursting eardrums. The indomitable Cauldron now has five full-length albums and two EPs to their credit. Not only that, but the band — bassist/singer Jason Decay, guitarist Ian Chains, and drummer Myles Deck — has consistently made the kind of catchy, no-frills, and high-energy metal that would make all their British forebears proud. But on New Gods, Cauldron have shifted their style towards a somewhat mellower hard-rock direction, an evolution that may leave some diehard fans shaking their heads.

Those expecting a record full of frenetic metal in the vein of past barnburners such as “All Or Nothing” or “Nitebreaker” will be disappointed with the laid-back atmosphere presented here. Conspicuously scarce are the speedy tempos, crunchy palm-muted riffs, and reckless enthusiasm of past Cauldron; these elements largely have been replaced by lethargic tempos, chiming arpeggios, resonant power chords, and a more vocal-dominated songwriting approach. In fact, it’s not a stretch to proclaim that New Gods may share more commonalities with Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Dokken, or even Trixter (“Together As None”) than the Ravens, Motörheads, and Angel Witches of the world.

Granted, Cauldron’s continuing evolution is not all bad news. These nine tunes are all well-written and uber-catchy, and Decay’s trademark nasally, Geddy Lee-esque vocals are still on prime display. More importantly, us crusty metalheads still have a few great driving, up-tempo numbers to sink our teeth into here (“Drown,” “Last Request”).

Those who only want their Cauldron boiling and heavy may want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, sit back and relax for this enjoyable, albeit simmering, Canadian metal record.

Highlights: “Prisoner of the Past,” “Drown,” “Last Request.”

Rating – 3.5/5