Back in the day when the NWOBHM movement kicked off there was no internet easily available so I had to rely on music magazines like Sounds, Kerrang, Melody Maker, NME, Record Mirror etc. for information. So all i really knew about Soldier was their 45rpm single release Sheralee which caused a bit of a stir at the time but they never got to release an album before they split up in the early 80′s. Founder member and lead guitarist Ian Dick who formed Soldier in 1979 reformed the band with the original line up in 2002 and to use a pun, soldiered on to release an EP called Infantrycide in 2002, finally releasing their long awaited debut full length album Sins Of The Warrior in 2005.
Following more personnel changes only Ian remains in the band from the original line up and in July 2013 Soldier’s 2nd studio album Dogs Of War was released on Starhaven Records, recorded in Rockingham Studios. There are 14 songs on Dogs Of War and with a running time of 60mins my initial thoughts were it maybe a bit too long but after one play i was proven wrong as every song has the feel of the glory days of NWOBHM but with a modern sheen. Dogs Of War literally kicks off with the title track and is a very strong opener to say the least with a killer chorus. It runs along with a tempo similar to Princess Of The Night by Saxon. It’s an anthem in the making and showcases the soaring, melodic voice of new singer Richard Frost.
I Can’t Breathe is next with a brash twin guitar intro that gives way to heavy riffage backed up by neat, melodic guitar lines with yet another big chorus. Dogs Of War is prime UK heavy metal but with a big slice of melody which is evident in Fireflies, a nice slice of heavy AOR. Other highlights are Lock N Load, another rifftastic number with a Thin Lizzy twin guitar break midway. My personal highlight of Dogs Of War follows, the epic, brooding heavy balladry of Bedlam. At just over 6mins long it rumbles towards a Children Of The Grave like midsection as the song ends in a lengthy twin guitar battle. Forever and No Mans Land are 2 numbers bolstered by Iron Maiden guitar lines, especially Forever with its Heaven Can Wait rhythms.
Dogs Of War finishes with 3 very different numbers. Track 12 is a re-working of Sheralee, a prime example of modern day recording as it sounds huge compared to the original with some intense guitar solos. Crash Course is a heavy chugging instrumental and album closer The Hanging Tree is very laid back, with a vibe like That’s The Way by Led Zeppelin,full of chiming acoustic guitar work. A fine way to close a very impressive album and I’m looking forward to hearing some of these songs live when Soldier play at Brofest #2 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne between Feb.28th-March 2nd 2014!
PlanetMosh Dec 2013
Soldier are pleased to welcome Tim Churchman into the band
Tim’s impressive cv includes playing drums with Shadowkeep, Ark, IQ, Tony Mills (Shy/TNT), Dec Burke (Frost), Darwins radio & Spirit Of Rush
Listen to Soldier Nwobhm tonight on The Metal Showcase! Live broadcast begins right at 6 pm CST and the recorded show can be heard any time after the live broadcast concludes at…….
Soldier are pleased to announce that Dogs Of War will be released on a double vinyl album with High Roller records
The LP will be available @ Soldier gigs next year or you can order direct from HR records (You will need to do this if you want the limited edition transparent purple in any case)
Soldier: Dogs of War
Melodic Hard Rock/Metal
Despite their stormy early history riding the New Wave of British Heavy Metal wave, England’s Soldier are often considered legends in their field. Founded by guitarist Ian Alan Dick in 1979, the band did a boatload of gigs and released a popular single, Sheralee, but never got a record contract in their three year existence. Fast forward to 2005 as Dick reforms the band with a new lineup and cut Sins of the War.
Soldier: NWOBHM veterans.
Now with a few more changes in the band, Soldier returns with Dogs of War, another collection of tunes steeped in NWOBHM tradition. It’s probably not fair to call this album strictly a metal album as it straddles the fence between melodic metal and hard rock. Songs like the title track, I Am, Demon In The Room, and the longer Bedlam sound much like the former; Fireflies, Lock ‘n’ Load, and Forever, more to the latter.
Alternatively, Soldier probably blurs the line between the two genres rather than straddling the fence as nearly every song has a toe-tapping groove. The aforementioned Forever and I Am as well as I Can’t Breathe, Sheralee, or Crash Course are rock invigorated melodic metal songs. This characteristic is one of features that was prominent in early NWOBHM and made it such a great sound: it was melodic, heavy, and rocked.
Some mention should be of vocalist Richard Frost. He has solid traditional melodic vocal style with a decent range, and it appears from the video below he likes to sing with eyes closed. A rare talent indeed, except if he starts wandering around the stage and begins bumping into his mates. Also, Dick is still in fine form. He’s no Vai or MacAlpine, but he can deliver true metal licks anytime. Great lines within Sheralee, Bedlam, Forever, and No Man’s Land, to name a few highlights.
Bottom line: Dogs of War is a fine platter of melodic metal rock and a return to form for this legendary band. Recommended.
Free track download available until 31/10/2013
Enjoy and please pass on