From it’s grandiose and accomplished symphonic introduction in opener ‘This Means War’, the scene is set for galloping, high-octane Metal.
On ‘Two-Edged Blade’ the pace doesn’t let go with some expert and nicely layered vocals which have lovely and triumphant sounding vocals, underpinned by driving drums, tight riffs and melodic guitar runs. Throughout ‘This Means War’ in eight tracks you will be treated to fast, tight-riffage, thundering, powerful drumming, Bruce Dickinson-esque vocals, Megadeth ‘Rust In Peace’ and Metallica ‘Master of Puppets’ era Thrash Metal goodness, with strong elements of Power Metal in the mix, all encapsulated in decent production… there’s even a couple of Hardcore Metal Backing yells a la Biohazard (This Means War, Cold Blooded Murder), which is welcome to these ears.
If I had to describe ‘We Fight’, it would be akin to being stuck on a battlefield with machine gun fire all around, such is the intensity and frenetic double-kick and interwoven guitar along with tasteful layered vocal harmonies – war has never sounded so good! ‘Cold Blooded Murder’ begins in the vein of Slayer before kicking into Metallica mode, and ‘Evil Walks This Way’ is a quasi-breed of Megadeth and Judas Priest.
The initial and subsequent verses of ‘In Reqiuim’ aren’t the strongest on the album, but it gains momentum once it starts into the Chorus and is somewhat akin to Iron Maiden.
‘Star Machine’ also starts a little bit weaker than some other tracks and unfortunately doesn’t really recover. In addition to this ‘Storm Angel’ is competently played and is a nice sound but doesn’t really have the strength of some of the other tracks on the album. Whilst stylistically not truly imitative of Sabaton, lyrically the theme of War and Justice throughout ‘This Means War’ does conjure up a parallel. War and Metal a perfect combination…well if it worked for Metallica with ‘One’, who are we to argue?
To summarise, Bakken are testament with ‘This Means War’ to the high calibre of musicianship, song writing and production available locally in Northern Ireland (and Glasgow). I thoroughly recommend that you turn ‘This Means War’ up to 11 (!) and dance around your living room like a lunatic, or wherever you are remotely working or living in these uncertain times. It’s also perfect driving music. This reviewer is itching for live gigs to return because there is now one local band whose name is top of his list to check out, their name is Bakken.