Hell To Pay

Spartan Warrior are a heavy metal band from the UK forming in 1980, releasing two albums, 'Steel 'N' Chains' (1983) and 'Spartan Warrior' (1984), before splitting in 1985. Spartan Warrior are among many bands that helped forge the legendary NWOBHM sound, but also like many bands, split way too soon. The band reformed in 2008 with four original members, releasing their third album 'Behind Closed Doors' in 2009, playing their first live show in 25 years at the Hard Rock Hell festival in 2010. Touring the UK over the next couple of years, the band played at the inaugural Brofest Newcastle in 2013 and returned the following year. Establishing themselves as a force in the live arena, the band have appeared at a number of festivals across Europe, such as Rock You To Hell Greece and Heavy Sound Festival Belgium. The band returned to the studio in 2017 to record their fourth album, (which would become) 'Hell To Pay', which was released in 2018.    
The instantly recognisable and evolutionary NWOBHM sound greets the listener from the moment the new album begins. During the early eighties Spartan Warrior helped shape the movement that would change heavy metal music forever, and now, thirty five years after their debut release, the band are still proving they are at the forefront of the NWOBHM genre. The bands new album explodes into life with the title song 'Hell To Pay', a bombastic blast of traditional British heavy metal. The twin guitars and galloping rhythm are instantly recognisable as NWOBHM, and will have heads banging, feet stomping and fists punching the air in ecstatic delight. "hey you, what the fuck you looking at" is the menacing snarl from lead singer Dave Wilkinson as 'Bad Attitude' launches forth with attitude and menace. 'Bad Attitude' has a much heavier vibe than the opening song, stomping forward at a mid tempo pace. After only just two songs, fans of the NWOBHM genre will be smiling from ear to ear as Spartan Warrior deliver a delicious appetiser for what will follow...    
...and what follows is a NWOBHM master class. 'Letting Go' picks up energy and intensity as it trots along, twin guitars duelling, solos screaming and a rhythm so infectious you will immediately become hooked. The barrage of Britshness doesn't let up one iota, as 'Court Of Clowns' picks up the pace and gallops along at high speed. Time for some serious head banging, as Spartan Warrior deliver one of the best songs on offer, and a fabulous example of just how exciting the NWOBHM sound is. Screeching guitar solos, a catchy sing a long style chorus and that all encompassing addictive rhythm, this is turning into a very good album. Whenever a power ballad appears, I normally grimace a little and give out a small sigh, but for some reason not here. Spartan Warrior deliver 'Something To Believe In', with the same smiling inducing, raise the hairs on the arms infectious nature that every other song on the album has. Well done guys for offering up a lighters in the air moment that I actually enjoyed. Pace and power emphatically return to the album in the shape of the glorious 'Walls Fall Down'. Thundering on at high velocity, vigorous head banging ensues as 'Walls Fall Down' offers fans the opportunity to go wild and mosh at their wildest. Spartan Warrior are delivering an exhilarating blast of the best NWOBHM I have heard for some time, and I would place them alongside British stalwarts Saxon and Raven in terms of sound and feel...    
...a feeling that just gets better and better, as 'Shadowland' romps in and relentlessly chugs on. The buzzing guitar sound, synonymous with the NWOBHM is at the forefront of 'Shadowland', even through the melodic passage at the songs mid point. A very good album is starting to turn in the performance of a great album. Ten songs on offer across forty five minutes is good on the numbers, with every song worth its place on the album. 'Covered In Lust' opens with the most awesome and epic guitar riff that the NWOBHM genre has to offer. The chugging buzz style remains prominent throughout 'Covered In Lust', with Spartan Warrior introducing hints of the sleaze metal genre into a swaggering example of how bloody brilliant, British heavy metal is. And if further proof was ever needed, the head bangingly infectious 'Fallen' is a thunderous and breath taking romp of bustling heavy metal. Give every member of the band a Union Flag, as Spartan Warrior are proudly flying the flag of British heavy metal. So it is with a little sadness that the album is heading for its end, with the final song about to begin...but don't worry, just press the replay button and listen all over again. 'In Memorium' brings a great album to its end in typically British fashion. Everything the NWOBHM stands for flows out of the speakers, with 'In Memorium' the heaviest of all songs on offer, yet remaining catchy and infectious from start to finish. Spartan Warrior deliver an outstanding album and one that will remain at the front of my collection for some time to come.    
Overall, a glorious and epic NWOBHM experience, Spartan Warrior have delivered a great album that will keep them at the forefront of British heavy metal.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV