Switchblade- Heavy Weapons (2013)
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Switchblade is a traditional heavy metal band from Haifa, Israel that released its debut record, Heavy Weapons, in late 2013. Along with a few new tracks, the release includes many older songs that the band has constantly released since its beginnings under the banner of Stein in early 2005. Prior to the debut album, the band has released no less than fourteen singles, EPs, and demos, and has always been very active. The sound of the band is close to several famous heavy metal bands of the eighties like Accept and, above all else, Iron Maiden. The powerful and high pitched vocals of guitarist and singer Lior Stein particularly remind me of Bruce Dickinson. This band (and in particular their front man) has tons of talent. In terms of both energy and quality, Switchblade is amongst the best heavy metal revival bands, along with well-known names like Pharaoh, Striker, and White Wizzard.
Obviously, the material doesn’t offer many surprises. The band delivers eight powerful mid-tempo anthems and one atmospheric instrumental track in the middle of the album entitled “The Lost Kingdom”. The songs go to no unnecessary lengths, go straight to the heart, and offer no experimentation whatsoever. This has become a rare quality among many similar bands these days, who think they must write ten minute epics with pseudo-progressive buildups.
It’s hard to point out any tracks here that deviate from this description. The most obvious choice would be “Lost Lovers Unite”, which has some passionate heavy metal ballad elements, but also offers slow and heavy parts around the chorus. The mixture of soft and heavy is very balanced. This is what one could maybe call a power ballad, and it sounds very powerful indeed. The faster opener and title track “Heavy Weapons” should also be cited, as it opens the record with a bang and takes no prisoners. “Metalista” is easily the catchiest song on the album, and tells a cool story about a tough femme fatale. This is the album’s party anthem, and I absolutely mean this in a positive sense. “Infernal Paradise” sounds like a lost Iron Maiden track, and as I still am a big fan of that band, this song is what initially led me to discover and adore Switchblade. When I first heard this, I was almost sure that a young Bruce Dickinson was singing on this song, and this is actually quite hard to achieve. A few spins later, I realized that Lior Stein may sound similar to the air raid siren, but he doesn’t sound like a copy. He has a close, but slightly different style, and so does the whole band.
The record is over after thirty-nine consistent and entertaining minutes. This is just the right length for this kind of music, and it’s a truly fun ride. Heavy Weapons is easily one of the best traditional heavy metal records of the last couple of years. Any Iron Maiden fan should give this album a try. Check out the band’s Bandcamp page right away!
3.75 // 5