Skelator - Cyber Metal
Gates of Hell Records
Power Speed Metal
8 songs (40'08")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Alex

US West Coast veterans Skelator may have been in existence around 2 decades, but Cyber Metal may be their first real break in terms of label and distribution. No one other than Mike Scalzi of Slough Feg himself recommended Skelator to Gates of Hell, and due to the fact the latter is an imprint of Italian Cruz Del Sur Music, Skelator is now not only in the right, but also noticeable, position where their workmanlike US power/speed/true metal will be presented to the right audiences.

Not afraid to be labelled “gay metal”, and I have heard this definition of the style Skelator plays before, the band combines Germanic power metal of Gamma Ray, Grave Digger and Primal Fear with classic Judas Priest and Riot moments. As Spanish power metal scene seems to be burgeoning, some old Dark Moor comes to mind as well. Happy in disposition, speedy in delivery and heavy overall, with production not being superpolished, and dirt on guitars still present, Skelator is that caffeinated ride to work if you otherwise missed your cup of java. Guitar harmonies are paid special attention to, solos, dual and otherwise, are extended for reasons justified and showoff (Cyber Samurai), and there is even a slight electronic touch present on Psychic Silver Wheels. The rhythm guitars driven riffs of Cast Iron is something impossible not to headbang to and Erlkonig went for so painfully familiar gallop, it almost feel iconic.

The detractors will surely point out to cartoonish Manowarish Seven Scars, Blood Red Skies tuneage for Psychic Silver Wheels, blatantly Japanese anime inspired hooks in chorus of Akira after balls out verse, but Skelator could care less. And I am on board with their enthusiasm. You can call mid-tempo heroics of The Hammer cheesy, but the band’s passion and gusto is infectious. If you take Skelator too seriously you are likely to be disappointed, but as I was simply enjoying my ride on a sunny summer morning, the soundtrack of contagious simplicity without superficial glitter could not have been more fitting.

Jason Conde-Houston vocals are stratospherically high, Kai Hanson or Eric Adams approximation, but they are muffled sometimes (Highlander), and even if he misses a note here and there, it doesn’t detract. As vocals are an important aspect in power metal, his pipes are the proper rider atop Skelator otherwise jovial speedy thoroughbred.

I have a feeling Cyber Metal will be a love it or hate it deal for many. If you only prefer your metal serious, whatever the style, the recommendation is to avoid. For those open to more rocking lighthearted variety in their heavy music, with a nod to the genre forefathers, this is going to hit home without a doubt.

Killing Songs :
Cast Iron, Erlkonig, The Hammer
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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