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Stairway - No Rest, No Mercy (Re-issue)

Wow, what a blast from the past this is.  Not that I remember it from my past, but it sounds like so many other bands I used to listen to back in the early '90's.  This British power metal band originally released this album in 1993, but it was available only in Japan before making it's way to Europe.  Only now on this digitally remastered re-release by Retroactive Records is this available in the U.S. 

The album opens up with a nice acoustic intro, before the guitars rip in full force.  One look at the band pictures in the CD and you know your getting set to hear some old school metal.  Fans of Helloween, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and even Saint will be sure to find some stuff to like here.  In fact, the second song "Spirit of Guilt" sounds like it probably could've fit nicely on one of Saint's earlier albums.  The album is completely full of straight-forward, guns-a-blazin' power metal with tons of soaring guitar solos, bombastic drumming, and gruffly sung clean vocals.  The band does a solid job musically whether playing mid-paced metal or ripping into some speed, complete with tons of double bass action.  They even do the ol' ballad that you were always sure to hear from bands in their day.  If I had to pick one weak spot on the album it's the vocals.  While they are decent for this style of music, and actually quite typical, they really don't stand out from any other bands out there.

While this is not close to being the best this genre has ever seen, it's a pretty good listen and should definitely appeal to fans of old school power metal. 

Rating: 69/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Retroactive Records

Total Songs: 13

Total Time: 49:45

Tracklisting: 1. Battle of Heaven, 2. Spirit of Guilt, 3. Bondage, 4. Meet the Maker, 5. Fly With the Spirit, 6. Sweetest Song, 7. The Great Whore of Babylon, 8. Walk Away, 9. Black Be the Night, 10. Keep the Fires Burning, 11. Souls of Zion, 12. The Great Whore of Babylon (Revisited), 13. Anybody There? (Japanese Bonus Track).

Best Songs: 3, 7, 8, & 10.

Band Lineup: Graeme Leslie - Vocals/Guitar, Peter Jennens - Guitar/Backing Vocals, Andy Edwards - Drums/Backing Vocals, Robert Jennens - Bass/Backing Vocals.

Band Website: ?