Hailing from Scotland, Vantage Point are a fine metal act who have put together a fourteen track monstrosity that suggests a strong love for NWOBHM, power metal and a sense of the epic. It’s a traditional record in the grandest sense paying glorious homage to metal’s heyday and it’s hard not to feel love for Vantage Point’s horn-throwing metal within the first few minutes of putting the CD in the tray.
A brief introduction unleashes an unwieldy rhythm and high-pitched scream before the band take flight on the galloping ‘high plains drifter’, a track that perfectly captures the essence of Steve Harris’ historical lyrics and ability to weld a tale to a gleaming metal flank and combines it with hints of Judas Priest and Saxon for good measure. Closer in spirit musically to Iron Maiden’s earliest, Paul Di’Anno fronted, works there’s a punkish spirit captured amidst the raging riffs, but the music is far tighter with the rhythm section locked tight while Murray Graham displays astonishing versatility as a vocalist, ably switching from lower tones to a Bruce Dickinson scream without turning a hair. ‘Perfect world’ edges closer to thrash with a tightly wound riff echoing ‘master of puppets’ albeit with vocals that are pure power metal pastiche. It’s well done and will certainly appeal to old-school metal heads, although those who fail to appreciate the leather-clad wails of power metal vocalists will find the style equally grating, but then that’s their loss! ‘Stunned’ offers up a powerful groove, the sort of music you can imagine perfectly sound-tracking a road trip across America with its driving bass so reminiscent of the throbbing sound at the heart of ‘Enter Sandman’ and memorable vocal hook.
Having got off to a great start, Vantage point refuse to let up with the nimble fingered ‘refuse to play’ setting a belligerent tone with its off-kilter rhythm and chugging riffs. It’s the sort of track that would have made a fine single in the days when metal bands released much in the way of singles and it would perfectly suit being pressed onto a glorious red 7” from whence it would find its way into the home of every teenage head-banger across the country. Alas, it would seem that those days are numbered, but if there was any justice then metal fans across the country would be exposed to this song on a daily basis as it so perfectly encapsulates the spirit of metal – roaring riffs, passionate vocals and a screaming lead run from fine guitarist Liam Kane who shreds away to his heart’s content whilst the rest of the band head-bang in unison behind him. Moving on, ‘wishing well’ opens as a rather Led Zeppelin-esque ballad, the acoustic guitar intro only slightly at odds with the up-beat tempo before mutating into a more Metallica-style mid-tempo rocker. That Led Zeppelin feel returns with the rather ‘Kashmir’-esque ‘Global Delay’ which has the sort of grinding riff that always sounds awesome whilst dropping the guitars from the verses allows Murray’s vocals plenty of room to breathe. Having reached fever pitch, Vantage point maintain their grip with the tension-building ‘into the vault’ which runs straight into the quite excellent ‘tomb of eagles’, surely a highlight of the record to this point.
Moving into the final third of the record the band clearly lose it with ‘stressed out’, a punky blast with a cool verse and unconventional chorus. ‘Obedience school’ is very much a traditional rocker that recalls nothing so much as Ozzy’s evergreen ‘bark at the moon’. It’s a testament to the skill of Vantage Point that they’ve developed a writing style that is gloriously timeless – they recognise the mighty power of the riff and rather than reinvent the wheel, they’ve settled on making their own near-perfect version of it. Moreover their enthusiasm for metal in all its glory comes screaming out of every track infecting the listener and more often than not leaving you with a huge smile on your face, for example on ‘Shetlamb driller killer’ – a fast-paced and great fun track. ‘Save me’ has a great riff and hugely memorable chorus that belongs at the heart of the mosh-pit before ‘Cashin’ in’ rounds out the record and leaves your appetite for metal firmly sated.
Vantage Point are a band that pay close tribute to the music they love. Like Nuclear and Panzer X, they keep the very spirit and flame of traditional metal alive with their own spin on the music and their enthusiasm shining through every moment. ‘Tomb of the eagles’ is a record that oozes passion and it helps that it sounds and feels like the band had a glorious time recording it – it’s fun to listen to and great to crank up before a night out, quite simply it’s a great metal record that wears its influences on its sleeve and pays tribute to the great UK history of heavy metal. A thoroughly enjoyable blast from start to finish you can find out more about Vantage Point at their myspace site here. Now go check out the album!