‘Voyage of the Eagle’
FFO: Desolation Angels, Midnight Messiah, Satan, Blitzkrieg, Battleaxe, Cloven Hoof
It felt like the death knell was tolling for Elixir in 2012 when vocalist Paul Taylor and one half of the guitars Phil Denton formed Midnight Messiah. But, just like that, with a blast of necromancy, Elixir reformed last year and attacked 2020 with their latest album ‘Voyage of the Eagle’.
What Elixir have delivered with ‘Voyage…’ is an album that revolves around a maritime concept that also sticks very close to their NWOBHM remit of mythologies and legends. However, Elixir to not make ‘Voyage…’ an easy album to like and it is an album which grows with each listen rather than an instant winner. This makes ‘Voyage…’ a bit of a war of attrition, it will get there, but it does require patience and persistence. The main reason for this is that many of the songs sound amazingly like other tracks; for example, the riff to the opening track ‘Drink to the Devil’ is reminiscent of ‘Blitzkrieg’, whilst ‘Evermore’ sounds like the splicing of Maiden’s ‘Moonchild’ with the ending to ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’. Furthermore, ‘Mutiny’ has the vibe of Ozzy’s ‘Believer’ with ‘Onward Through the Storm’ almost being an amalgamation of Rainbow’s intro to ‘Stargazer’ blending in with ‘A Light in the Black’. All this familiarity can breed a little contempt and takes away from the overall nature of the album which does actually have some decent songs. ‘The Siren’s Song’ with its doom power coupled with guest vocals Katie Alys Barton as the Siren may be the best track Elixir have written this side of ‘Son of Odin’. Moreover, tracks such as ‘Sail On’, ‘Press Ganged’ and ‘Almost There’ stand strong even if Taylor’s vocals aren’t the best and even appear a little weak, they are easily overlooked for some fantastic guitar playing by Denton and Norman Gordon.
It is good to have Elixir back and whilst ‘Voyage..’, may not be nowhere near the best album of 2020, it certainly shows that the band are still more than capable of writing quality heavy metal that although tarnished with age, given the time still gleams as something beautiful.