Silent Knight – Full Force
Released: September 23rd, 2022
Dan Brittain | vocals
Cameron Daw | bass
Dan Grainger | drums
Cam Nichols | lead guitar
Stu McGill | rhythm guitar
Power Metal is a divisive subgenre in the metal world. There are some like myself who love the soaring vocals, rousing choruses, over-the-top lyrics and blistering solos. Yet there are other poorly misguided who cannot see the genius, but each to their own. There isn’t just one style, depending on where in the world you live there are some rather unsubtle differences. America for example has the likes of Manowar, seriously silly in loincloths and broad swords laying waste to all those who reject true metal. Europe has the mighty Helloween a band that defined the genre. Epic stories of mysticism laced with humour, now featuring two of the world’s finest metal vocalists. Australia has Silent Knight with a style all their own.
As Perth is the world’s most isolated capital city, so Silent Knight is the world’s most isolated power metal band. But that hasn’t stopped them from making a splash in the scene, locally and overseas. A decade in existence sees the band about to release only their third full-length album. It’s apparent from the outset the band, while staying true to their roots, have grown since their debut Masterplan and follow-up Conquer and Command. Enduring both lineup changes and a pandemic, the five West Aussies have emerged in 2022 a tighter more mature outfit.
The most noticeable change has been the addition of Dan Brittain on vocals. The lanky frontman was thrown in the deep end with his first outing opening for Ross The Boss. Brittain was given a couple of CDs and some lyric sheets to learn the Silent Knight set. No stress, you’re only opening for one of the God Fathers of power metal. He pulled it off and I have no doubt it went some of the ways to securing a permanent spot fronting the band.
But what does the future hold?
Silent Knight have come out full force on this album leaving nothing in the tank. From the opening track ‘Blood In The Water’ – described by founding member and guitarist Stu McGill as “…a classic album opener, a real kick in the teeth and doesn’t let up from the get go”. In my opinion, he’s dead right. The song is a commentary on the keyboard warriors who join the social media pile on at the drop of a hat. It also contains my favourite lyrics on the album: “there’s blood in the water and you’re all going down with the crew”. As much as the first single and title track ‘Full Force’ is a great traditional power metal track, ‘Blood In The Water’ gives us a glimpse under the hood of what is really driving the album.
This isn’t so much a change in direction but a progression. There’s no getting away from Silent Knight’s foundations and influences, this album is peppered with them. On this album, the band has found their sound and it’s not all down to the frontman. The rhythm section of Cameron Daw on bass and drummer Dan Grainger lay a solid backbone, they bring a driving groove keeping the good ship Silent Knight on track, albeit sometimes at breakneck speed. Grainger who first appeared on the underground Cosmic Rays compilation with the cover of Gamma Ray’s classic ‘Dethrone Tyranny’ now has a permanent spot behind the kit. His extreme metal background serves the band well on some of the faster songs bringing an old-school thrash edge, while keeping the band in the groove and on time.
Indeed, when Cam Nichols tears into one of his trademark solos you need something to keep things grounded. The guy is a shredding machine There’s always the threat of taking things too far – too many drum fills, solos becoming fretboard gymnastics and vocals too high too often. But on this album, the line is pushed but never crossed with the band showing a certain amount of restraint when it’s needed. But not too much. The fun really starts when all hell breaks loose, ‘Screaming Eagle’ and ‘Into Oblivion’ are two such tracks with vocalist Brittain’s impressive range used to full advantage.
For me it’s hard to find fault in this album, I’ve had it on solid rotation since it dropped in my inbox. It’s unashamedly power metal oozing with the influences of Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iron Maiden and Megadeth. One thing I can say is this is by far the best music Silent Knight have released. Full Force is a foot-to-the-floor tour de force of speed and power.
Silent Knight – Full Force tracklisting:
- Blood In The Water
- Full Force
- The Last Candle Burns
- Dark And Mysterious Times
- Screaming Eagle
- Into Oblivion
- Create A New World
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