rating icon 6.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Freedom
02. Maximus
03. Warriors
04. Fight in the Shade
05. Odin's Sons feat. The Queen Of The Damned
06. Banners High
07. Mirror, Mirror
08. Azrael
09. Battle of Marathon
10. Warking

If you prefer albums that arrive bloated with shocks, surprises and subversive sonic values, there seems little chance that you'll be bothering with the second WARKINGS album. And that's perfectly fair enough, because this is the kind of record that exists solely to delight and inspire fans of ruthlessly straightforward, melodic and bombastic power metal. Everyone else can, with all due respect, piss off elsewhere.

As with its disarmingly over-the-top predecessor ("Reborn", 2018),"Revenge" nails its colors to the mast from its opening seconds, noisily proclaiming that this will be a loud, proud and immaculately produced blend of familiar European power metal tropes. This supposedly international band remain anonymous, at least officially, but there's nothing anonymous that their songwriting chops: for fans of SABATON, POWERWOLF, BROTHERS OF METAL and, in particular, HAMMERFALL, all bases are covered here, but in such a way that everything slots together seamlessly.

Therein lies the up and the downside to "Revenge": on one level, perhaps the only one that matters, this is a hugely enjoyable record; on another, it's undeniably spot-on, in both composition and execution, but almost entirely lacking in original ideas. The problem arising from that situation is that WARKINGS' chief selling point then becomes the funny costumes and knights-with-no-name shtick.

Fortunately, there are a handful of straight-up anthems here; all of which are delivered with such upbeat brute force that resistance is futile. "Freedom", "Maximus", "Warriors", "Fight in the Shade" and the climactic and brilliantly knuckleheaded "Warking" are the obvious standouts, each boasting a chorus of sufficient size to flatten an army or two. It's all undeniably uplifting, offsetting a palpable lack of depth with the sheer gung-ho spirit that these masked men seem able to tap into. Whether or not WARKINGS will become a band that metalheads care about, in the same way that they do about the bands that inspired this album, is another matter entirely. For now, this hits the spot, it just doesn't go any deeper than that.

Author: Dom Lawson
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