In Chains And Shadows

It may be lost in translation, but one can’t help feeling that changing their name from Kramp to BRONZE is a wise move. Although it took 13 years to do, BRONZE seems much more in keeping with their classic brand of heavy metal that this Spanish/Swedish outfit play.

Yes, amidst the surge of bands playing modern metal, there is also a healthy number who have headed back to the old school. New bands such as Tailgunner stand alongside veterans like Cirith Ungol, Night Demon, and Sentry, flying the flag for the NWOBHM style of heavy metal. And for me, it’s a good sign, for traditional metal done well is often to my tastes.

In Chains And Shadows is the second full-length release but the first under the BRONZE banner. It follows 2020 album Gods Of Death and brings you nine solid songs over around 35-minutes. From the up-tempo opener Fool and the speed metal style of Time Covers No Lies through to the finale of Tyrant’s Spell.

It’s an interesting album and as is often the case, whilst some of the songs grab you, there are a couple which are less exciting. The title track has a Celtic flavour to it, drawing on elements of Thin Lizzy as well as more European influences and a neat melodic blend, in contrast to the rather grating Jackals Of The Sea, with its high energy sea shanty style and chorus which doesn’t excite. However, most of the album is enjoyable and whilst it doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table, it is well played throughout.

Vocally, Mina Walkure does a decent job, and although there are better singers amongst the female fronted genre, she holds her own on In Chains And Shadows. Her range is strong, and her vocals are powerful. She’s backed by a tight unit comprising Cederick Forsberg on guitars, brother Lap on bass and drummer Billy Qvarnström.

It’s when BRONZE hit the accelerator that they hit top form. Time Covers No Lies and Maze Of Haze see the band increase the tempo and this allows Forsberg to release a couple of searing solos.

Throughout the album, it’s the eighties influences that sit highest. There’s a bit of power metal lurking underneath, but mostly it’s a format based on the epic metal with a weaving storyline that plots medieval folklore stories throughout the album. Sometimes you must remind yourself that this is a slower pace than many of today’s modern bands and allow the solidity of the musicianship wash over you. Dual layered guitars touch on everything from Lizzy to Maiden to Helloween to Priest during Samurai, whilst Realm Of The Damned wins the fastest track award, with a fast-pace and enjoyable semi-power metal approach. It’s an album that works well, doesn’t try to reinvent the genre, and sticks to the band’s strengths. If you like your epic/classic heavy metal, this may well be of interest.

Paul Hutchings