Receiver – Whispers of Lore (Gates of Hell Records)Friday, 10th November 2023
Forming in 2011, Cyprus heavy metal act Receiver finally arrive at unleashing their debut full-length album for Gates of Hell Records with Whispers of Lore. These musicians combine influences across the epic, NWOBHM, and folk lines to keep listeners engaged at an infectious level, sure to engage on multiple angles due to the combinations at play. Addressing aspects of humanity’s ills such as social injustice, imperialism, and the degradation of the human condition because of war on the lyrical front, the sheer musicianship on hand as well as soaring vocal presence makes for ideal, memorable tracks throughout this eight-song effort (nine if you choose to get the CD edition).
Spirited bursts of galloping riffs next to twin-guitar harmonies allow for cultural, instantaneous passages to latch onto, especially familiar to those into the classic work of Omen, Riot, and Iron Maiden – the transitions lightning quick in a progressive manner to make “Trespasser” and “Raiders of the Night” mandatory headbanging numbers. The buildup of battle-tested gang voices often mirrors the folk/epic strains musically to capture a vibrant atmosphere during “Arrow”, the lead break cascading effortlessly between single to twin circular movements, accenting the main hooks while the lower bass parts convey a bit of Steve Harris/Joey DeMaio thrust. Striding valiantly in with her commanding powerhouse range and conviction, singer Nikoletta Kyprianou immediately allows opener “Unite” to give listeners that fire and brimstone, mountaintop voice that sits well with those into JD Kimball, Ronnie James Dio, or Jon Oliva-style vocalists. It’s not easy to be progressive in this context while adhering to a compact, easily digestible four to six-minute and change type of arrangements – but Receiver succeeds by never straying too far away from their strengths, pounding home those key axe riffs plus supplementary tempo shifts that aren’t heard too often in modern acts.
While it may have taken the band over a decade to finally issue Whispers of Lore, let’s hope that Receiver has plenty left in their creative gas tanks for a follow-up quicker than 2033. Classic metal never fades away – the popularity may come and go, but there’s always a place for epic, traditional acts like this who aren’t afraid to add a bit of cultural/folk nuances while going for a progressive, electric foundation.