I recall an interview with late Quorthon (Bathory) back in the mid-2000’s, where he spoke about metal music and how it needs to evolve in order to survive. I must admit that I am 90% behind this, since I believe that in order for music to thrive it must evolve beyond the stereotypes often associated with this or that genre. Furthermore, trying to sound like this band or having a production like that band is simply beating a dead horse. However, others believe the opposite, that music should stay true and unchanged, unaffected by the modern influences and production. The guys from Cauldron stand behind this idea with all their heart.
This Canadian heavy metal act, established back in 2006, has released two LPs up to now. Tomorrow’s Lost is the third release and features 40 minutes of old-school hard and heavy metal mixed with some 90’s influences (really early Blind Guardian comes to mind). The band’s influences range from early 80’s heavy metal to the early 90’s and the birth of the power metal movement. The record is filled with catchy guitar tunes and lighthearted solos, such as in “Relentless Temptress.” The album offers some heavy punches too, such as the opening track, “End of Time,” and the catchy sing-along tune “Fight for Day.” “Burning Fortune” speeds the pace up, with a lot of thrash energy to it. Although the album is really light-hearted and easy to listen to, the songs fail to leave any lasting impressions. I have spun this record round and round, and still have difficulties remembering what I’ve heard just minutes before.
The weakest point of this album is the production: Although the band’s intention was to sound old-school, in the veins of the 80’s, the production back in those days sounded a lot better than on Tomorrow’s Lost (just remember Somewhere in Time by Iron Maiden). This record sounds like an unfinished demo that was rushed into print. The sound is too quiet for a heavy metal band, the vocals are under-produced to say the least, and the overall sound is just too bare. Now, there are many ways to “keep it true,” but I am sure that downgrading your production to this level just to avoid sounding modern is not the best one; the band could have easily accomplished the old-school feeling without sounding like amateurs who’d just recorded their tape and are trying to get it aired on a hit radio show. Ghost’s Opus Eponymous or Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s Don’t hear it…Fear it, although belonging to different musical styles, are great examples of how you can achieve the retro sound without damaging the overall enjoyability; in Cauldron’s case, however, they only managed to sound like Blind Guardian’s first demo, released nearly 30 years ago… on a tape.