CAULDRON
"Into the Cauldron EP"

(self-released)

01. The Striker Strikes
02. Into the Cauldron
03. Restless
04. Torture's Too Kind

RATING: 7.5/10

It was a sad day for retro-minded metallers everywhere when Canadian thrashers GOAT HORN acrimoniously split up last year. But you can't keep a good hessian down, and bassist/vocalist Jason Decay wasted no time in putting together a new trio that, if possible, swears even more allegiance to the ideals of 1980's metal and its rough, charismatic analog sound. Don't expect Bay Area thrash here — CAULDRON delve deeper into the vault, drawing proud influence everywhere from ANGEL WITCH to OMEN to ANVIL to RAVEN. All leather, all denim, no hyphens, this is just heavy metal, and it's pretty kickass.

This four-song digipak finds Jason Decay not missing a beat, picking up an impressive new axeman named Ian Killpatrick to dispatch blistering solos and tasty riffs. Together with drummer Al Chambers, they deliver songs like the midtempo — hell, almost AOR — "Restless" and the impossibly catchy title track. Decay is doing most of his vocals in a plaintive, higher-pitched clean voice, one with more gusto than perfect pitch (he's listed as "untuned vocals" in the liner notes), though he does emit the occasional emphatic growl. "Torture's Too Kind" is the most thrash-derived song, with some nice double-kick and beat changes from Chambers; it's arguably the highlight of this too-short debut.

There's not much to gain in extensively dissecting CAULDRON's music — it's '80s metal worship with bullet belts proudly hitched up high, and you're either gonna like that sort of thing or you're not. With invitations to play European festivals, and a legion of hard-won GOAT HORN fans anxiously awaiting this new chapter, CAULDRON are definitely hitting ground running (in high-top Reeboks, no doubt) and preserving the sound of classic metal for a new generation to behold. Don't buy it to make a statement about your retro-coolness or the number and depth of obscurity of the pins on your denim jacket; buy it because CAULDRON are a damn fine metal band that rocks hard.

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