Review: Spellcaster – Under the Spell (2011)

Fiery paced speed metal, and larger than life fantasy topics about molten steel and chainsaw champions, Oregon’s Spellcaster are the latest in the traditional metal craze hitting Europe and America, and I fucking love it! I won’t preach about the need for these types of bands to help ground the metal community, educating us all on the basics of what makes metal great, instead, I will focus on why Spellcaster’s debut album, Under the Spell is pure, unadulterated entertainment that clearly does not take itself too seriously, and fuck does the metal community ever need a dose of humility these days!

From beginning to end, Under the Spell is a ferocious torrent of riff after speed metal riff (note: if anyone wanted to know the difference between speed metal and thrash metal, this is a great album to define that), with tight coordination between dueling riffs, and well paced drums that aren’t under-utilized, or an over-abundant buzzsaw, and of course, entertaining solo’s that don’t melt any brains with their complexity, but fit the nature of the music perfectly.

The only real noteworthy drawback of Under the Spell, and the preceding EP Spells of Speed, is the pitchy and flat vocals of singer Thomas Adams. The man has the pipes to be recognized as legit, but he desperately needs a good vocal coach to bring something more to the table in order to supplement the already outstanding instrumental work of the band. This problem is very reminiscent to Boston’s Ravage, who have all the chops in the world, but severely drop the ball in the vocal department.

All in all though, Spellbound have all the makings of a very promising career, promoted by the fantastic indie label Heavy Artillery who shamelessly stick to old school metal such as this, brandishing album after album of noteworthy material. Hail to the old school, I’ll be humming a few riffs from this album for at least another week longer in the shower (too much? sorry…).

Similar Artists: Jag Panzer, Armored Saint, Metal Church, Ravage


1.     Spellbound
2.     Chainsaw Champion
3.     Molten Steel
4.     Locked On
5.     Power Rising
6.     Nite of the Hellbeast
7.     Sands of Fear
8.     Spellcaster

Gabe Franco     Bass
Shad Covert     Drums
Cory Boyd     Guitars
Tyler Loney     Guitars
Thomas Adams     Vocals

Heavy Artillery

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