A lot of the hard rock of the past, that made in the ’80s in particular and the rise of Thrash Metal on one side of the Atlantic and the NWOBHM on the other, often seemed lacking in its lyrical content. Cliches, which by today’s standards would seem bombastic, immature and misogynistic, abounded. And although Danny Williams, the man behind Rule By Fear looks to this era, in part, for inspiration, he is happy to let his music, rather than lyrics, do the talking.
After an earlier EP, The Hell Slayer, and a salvo of killer singles, It’s All In Your Head is his debut long-player, a collection of uncompromising instrumentals that wander between the worlds of Thrash, Hard Rock and Metal but which are composed in such a way that they seem very much part of the contemporary music canon. Very much a blend of past inspirations and present potential. And if musically he finds inspiration in classic bands of the past, thematically he also draws on action and horror films of that era, many of the songs here feeling perfect for the soundtracks for such films, past and present.
There are short fragments of music, such as the bluesy opener What We’ve Lost to understated epics…if that is even possible… such as Conflict. But for the most part, it is an album of riotous energy and incendiary riffs, raw-edged guitar-work and sky-searing crescendos.
Lone Warrior is built of spiralling riffs and relentless drive, Price of Glory leans on on the complexities and interwoven dynamics that defined the early Thrash scene and Beast Within runs on a series of heavy, doom-laden grooves, splicing solid, almost industrial, rhythms with deft and dynamic sky-scraping riff-orama.
And then there are tracks which are much more unique, much less easy to pigeon-hole like Victims of Innocence. Short and to the point, this sonic fragment, drifts in and out as if on its way to, who knows where, but whilst it is within the listener’s sensory range it acts as a creeping and tension building interlude before the more explosive music kicks back in.
Fans of old-school rock music are going to love this. As are those who consider themselves up with the modern scene. Guitar fans will enjoy the dexterity of the riffs and rhythms and anyone looking for something different from the current wave of black-clad identikit, alt-rockers with their designer labels and complicated hair, will find this a breath of fresh air. Well, not fresh, more claustrophobic air which leaves a taste of fear on the tongue, but you know what I mean.