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Canedy - Warrior (Sleaszy Rider Records) Album Review

    Ian Jane

  • Canedy - Warrior (Sleaszy Rider Records) Album Review

    Released by: Sleaszy Rider Records
    Released on: May 8th, 2020 (digital)/August 7th, 2020 (CD & Vinyl).
    Purchase From Amazon or Bandcamp

    Carl Canedy (who were interviewed a year ago here) is best known as the drummer for The Rods (and a onetime drummer for Manowar) as well as a producer of metal acts like Overkill, Anthrax, Exciter and Blue Cheer but he's got a solo project going these days in the form of Canedy. Made up of Mike Santarsiero on lead vocals, Charlie Russello on guitars and synth, Tony Garuba on bass (as well as vocals and cello!) and Carl himself behind the drum kit, their newest release, Warrior, is a seriously solid slice of traditional power metal. The album was produced and recorded by Russello and Canedy and mixed by Chris Collier at CMC 21 Productions (who also recently mixed the latest album by The Rods, 2019's Brotherhood Of Metal).

    Do It Now opens the album, a ripper of a track with a killer riff from Russello anchoring things. Canedy's drum work is front and center here, and Santarsiero's vocals pierce through the instrumentation really nicely. It's an effectively heavy opener, bringing a classic metal sound into things right from the start that carries a positive message about putting family first over work and the perils of not doing that.

    Not Even Love is a darker song that tells the story of who will do anything to regain his past glories. Musically, it's just as heavy as the opener but it isn't quite as fast or as intense. It is, however, like everything else on the record a very polished affair and the chorus is very catchy, with a high singalong-ability to it!

    The third track, Lies, is about what happens when people put their own beliefs over science and how things can go south when that happens. Rather timely, given what's going on in the world at the time of this writing. It's heavier than the two openers, a bit angrier in sound and tone, approaching thrash-like speed levels in kind of the same way that Judas Priest's Painkiller album did. There's a bit where they add some effects to the vocals that maybe didn't need to be there, it sounds a bit too manufactured when that happens, but otherwise this song kicks hard and let's Santarsiero really show off his vocal range.

    Hellride is the track where we get to hear Tony Garuba's work not just on the bass, but on the cello mentioned in the opening paragraph. It's an interesting choice to open the track that way, it helps to set it apart from the rest of the music on the album and gives it almost a gothic feel at first, before the power of true metal kicks in. Tony also handles vocals on this one, and he's got a much gruffer, rougher voice than Santarsiero and as such, the track has a much different sound than the others, but it fits in here nicely. It is, thematically, about the spiritual battle between good and evil, and if it isn't as musically complex as some of the other tracks on the record, it's really catchy and heavy in both the riffs and the drumming department. Russello wails on this one.

    At the half way mark, we get Warrior, the title track and a song that deals with the emotional turmoil of abandonment and it is an absolutely epic track that harkens back to the type of sound that Canedy had a hand in creating decades ago. It's straight up power metal, massive in scope and in sound, letting the musicianship shine and, of course, letting that huge drum sound of Canedy's, a bit part of the whole album, really shine.

    3rd Times A Charm follows suit, a pretty straight ahead classic metal track, guitars up front, lyrically dealing with love lost and found. The backing vocals here help to broaden the sound of the track, a basic riff from Russello serving as the backbone of the song off of which the rest of the band manages to build off of.

    A heavy, slower, almost Sabbath-inspired opening introduces In This Sign, but the pace picks up a bit fairly quickly, and like Hellride has an interesting spiritual vibe to it in its lyrical content in that it deals with Emperor Constantine acceptance of Christianity. A slick guitar solo highlights the track, but again, Canedy's drums really pound, particularly as the track builds towards its big finish.

    Out For Blood is a faster, heavier track that rips from the start. The lyrics cover the state of society, the anger that seems to emanate and fester up when certain segments of society don't like the way that things are going at times. Garuba's bass work stands out a good bit on this one, really quick and precise and, combined with Canedy's drumming, really gives this track a very powerful rhythm.

    A more lyrically aspirational slice of power metal, the penultimate track, The Prize, starts off slowly, little drumming and some nice cymbal work, before the bass and guitar kick in alongside Canedy's work, giving the track an oddly mellow, funky/proggy vibe until the chorus comes up, at which point it gets more traditional, but it zips back and forth a bit between these two styles as the track plays out. Santarsiero shows an impressive range on this track even more so than the rest of the record. This is the closest thing to a ballad on the album, though it doesn't quite go to that length.

    Last but not least, the final track, Attia, tells the story of the 'doomed love' between Attia, the mother of Augustus Caesar, and Mark Antony. Metal has often times dealt with history and it's cool to see Canedy head into this direction. It's a very positive track, at least in how it sounds and how it's played, it's quite upbeat and almost anthemic with a really big sound to it and some impressive vocal harmonies that are almost… pretty sounding? Yeah, that isn't inaccurate. It might be a little lighter than the 'metal' crowd will want it to be but the musicianship on display here is nothing short of impressive.

    All in all, Warrior is a slickly produced selection of metal performed with plenty of polish by a group of highly skilled musicians. The vocals are killer on each and every track and there's a really massive range of talent on display on this recording. Those expecting 'The Rods Redux' won't get that here, but open minded fans of hard and heavy music with an appreciation for classic power metal sounds should definitely enjoy this record.

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