You can probably hazard a guess at what lurks on Messiah’s Kiss‘ third album Dragonheart from the title alone. For those of you a bit slow on the uptake, Messiah’s Kiss are the kind of band you can scarcely believe exist in this day and age. This is a full on classic metal assault from the opening chords to the last.
By classic, we of course mean traditional, and by traditional, we’re really talking about the kind of band that has based its entire career on the corner stones of Heavy Metal: Iron Maiden‘s Number of The Beast, and Metallica‘s Master of Puppets.
If you bound those albums in leather (it would have to be leather – and studded leather at that) along with Judas Priest‘s British Steel, then you’d have something approaching a Metal Bible. Messiah’s Kiss would no doubt insist that this fearsome tome replace the Gideon’s Bible in their hotel room, if only it would fit in the bedside cabinet.
Everything on this album should be instantly recognisable to anyone with even a passing knowledge in metal. The vocals and guitar riffs are pure Iron Maiden, whilst the double bass pedal drumming brings to mind bands of a slightly later vintage. It all sounds a little bit like very the early Bay Area Thrash bands just before they evolved into something really exciting.
This is perhaps where the problem lies with Messiah’s Kiss. There has been no attempt to develop their take on metal beyond 1983 in any aspect at all. Which is fine, after all there is a market for this kind of full on power metal, although it’s never really going to trouble the average man on the street.
However, with a little bit of ingenuity it is possible to take aspects of traditional metal and come up with something truly inspired. Just one listen to Mastodon‘s Leviathan and Blood Mountain albums can prove that.
There’s no denying that Messiah’s Kiss are more than competent at what they do. As Dragonheart pours from your speakers it is easy to imagine guitarists straddling monitors, a bass player using his guitar like a machine gun to shoot down the audience, and a vocalist, arm punching the air and bursting his lungs with every note. There’s no cliché left unturned; at times it becomes so generic it’s almost unlistenable. If you’re a fan of classic metal then by all means rush out and grab Dragonheart and hold it close, otherwise this is one album that you really needn’t bother with.