by Derric Miller
Any time a band devotes a song to the creation and imbibing of alcohol, you know they are on the right path. Cauldron did exactly that on their first full-length album, Chained to the Nite. Once you get beyond the fact they used the non-word “nite” instead of “night” in the title, you’ll hear an album that is a mixture of Classic and Traditional Metal, NWOBHM, and even some Thrash thrown in for effect. The music is driving, full-throttle and gritty, while the vocals are measured, succinct not over the top, fitting the music perfectly. Cauldron is on to something rare …
Chained to the Nite’s opener is “Young and Hungry,” and it’s an apropos way to describe the band, and their music. Immeasurably heavy riffs slam into with lead singer Jason Decay’s effortless mid-range delivery. “We are calling out, we’re shouting out … we’re young and hungry!” goes the chorus, anthemic as Skid Row’s “Youth Gone Wild” but of course in an entirely different Metal arena.
“Conjure the Mass” is an even meaner song, with a more heated rhythm section, especially from drummer Chris Rites. Because of Decay’s vocals, it’s tough to compare the band to anyone else, which helps set them apart from the others. “Conjure the Mass” is almost technical Thrash at times, with guitarist Ian Chain’s intense riffing and solos, along with the extended rhythm passages.
It gets a little Spinal Tap-ish on “Chained Up in Chains.” They couldn’t have gone with, oh, “locked/bound/shackled/enslaved” or any of the other synonyms? Regardless, this is the crowd favorite when they hit the stage, so said Decay in his recent interview with Hardrock Haven while on their Waste the World Tour.
The first time they show another facet to their songwriting and musicianship is “The Leaven/Fermenting Enchantress.” Were Cauldron a Power Metal or Doom band, this would be a tale of a seductive sorceress who wants to steal your soul, or worse. But in reality, it’s about booze. The track begins with a foreboding passage, sort of like any Metal Church “ballad,” and leads into a heavier, yet still slower, somewhat Doomy construction. If you listen to the lyrics, full of lines like “enchanting stare that leaves me wanting more,” you could make the assumption it’s about a female, but it’s just the lustful stare of alcohol … and that’s more beautiful than any seductress.
“Bound to the Stake” is another galloping track, and while “Chained Up in Chains” seems to be what the label is pushing, “Bound to the Stake” is the best song on the release. There’s a sinister whisper to Decay’s vocals, more emotional than anywhere else on the CD. Everything feels so dire. The chorus is the highlight on the CD, “Bound to the stake, there’s no escape … death is on the way!” The churning rhythms, the witch accusations in the lyrics, the spirited guitar solo, these all make for one wicked cool Metal song.
They end Chained to the Nite with one of the best covers you’ll ever hear, Black N’ Blue’s “Chains Around Heaven.” It’s a surprise that Cauldron would cover a band known as an ‘80s Hair Metal group, but Black N’ Blue is as underrated as they get. Cauldron stays true to the original, but injects some venom into their version, while Decay’s vocals are more soaring than anywhere else on the release. In that aforementioned interview, Decay said the band did this in one take, making it all the more impressive.
Cauldron is a dark surprise. They are probably even better than they are aware of. If their next release is as high quality as Chained to the Nite, their days of being an up and coming Canadian band will soon be behind them.
Label: Earache Records
1.Young And Hungry
2.Conjure The Mass Cauldron
3.Chained Up In Chains
4.The Leaven_ Fermenting Enchantre
5.Dreams Die Young
6.Bound To The Stake
9.Chains Around Heaven
HRH Rating: 8.1/10