Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper – Walking in the Shadows (Dissonance Productions)

Friday, 16th September 2016
Rating: 8/10

Ardent old school 80’s metal mavens as well as Beavis and Butthead followers know UK act Grim Reaper – if only for the infamous drum rolls and piercing last scream of the anthem “See You in Hell” off the first album of the same name. Three full-lengths hit the streets from 1983-1987, gaining a major label deal on RCA and also touring the states for the Hell on Wheels package with Helloween and Armored Saint as support (triple threat action at its peak) before interest waned and guitarist Nick Bowcott moved into more of an amplifier business guy to make a living.

Vocalist Steve Grimmett has continued pushing Grim Reaper with reunion shows, escalating into a fresh studio record. Recruiting his solo bandmates to fill out the current lineup, Walking in the Shadows doesn’t deviate far from the strong NWOBHM-oriented riffs, powerhouse steady tempos and heroic melodies that we’ve come to know and love. Those who desire rebel-rousing riffs and licks that unleash the guitar hero in all of us, look no further than “Wings of Angels” and the Saxon-esque “Call me in the Morning” and hoist your favored spirits high. If you have concerns about the pipes of Mr. Grimmett losing any tenacity or staying power – look into “Reach Out” or the street-level thunder within “Temptation” and know that much like the sadly missed Ronnie James Dio, the gift keeps on giving into his golden years. Sure there are a couple of dare we say ‘cheesy’ moments in terms of some of the chorus choices for “I’m Coming For You” or “Now You See Me” that listeners could almost see the word/rhyme schemes miles before they hit the airwaves, but isn’t that part of the charm of basic, traditional heavy metal?

Many times you worry if an artist who is known for past nostalgia will pump out anything just to get new product out there, without any concern on quality and execution. Walking in the Shadows from Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper parallels the surprising quality of the latest Diamond Head album (also released on Dissonance… not a coincidence me thinks) and is a relevant follow up to the 80’s discography – even if it’s 29 years later. Fear the blade, grab your axe – with albums like this, we know old school metal will never die.

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