November 19, 2020

Hailing from Northern Ireland and formed in 2011 Bakken is a classic heavy metal band with a sound that has developed out of NWOBHM, thrash and power metal so really they offer the best of all worlds with a style that will appeal to just about every hard and heavy rock fan. The output of the band has hardly been prolific with the debut, Death Of A Hero being released in 2012 and relatively quickly followed up with the EP Worldwide Genocide in 2014 and both received very good reviews.

The band now returns with the belated second album, This Means War and has a much altered line-up with the addition of three new members. The founder of the band remains, which is really important, as Simon Pickett is the main songwriter for the band as well as a major riffmeister on guitar. However, he has relinquished the role of main singer but still provides hard edged vocals to compliment the incoming Frank Levi, a singer who has learned his trade in Iron Maiden tribute bands and has a powerful and direct delivery that is, perhaps, a little more Paul Di’Anno than Bruce Dickinson. The drummer remains from the early days too and is the delightfully named Niall McGrotty and I truly hope it is a real name and not one that is made up. The band’s other new members are bassist Thomas Alford and the Glaswegian guitarist Shaun Nelson which obviously means that the band has now upgraded to a five piece and have additional power by the use of twin guitars. Not surprisingly, the addition of a second guitarist has upped the power outage from the band considerably and now they attack you with a wall of riffs and huge, searing solos that are so gloriously metal. The drums and bass are fast and frenetic and a real barrage of sound over which the guitarists trade monstrous riffs and licks and Frank Levi is certainly a huge asset to the band. His delivery is soaring and power filled and his combination with the voice of the previous lead singer adds to the overall energy of the band and gives the sound an added dimension.

The publicity states that fans of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica and Helloween will enjoy This Means War and I cannot say any more than that really as these bands have obviously been instrumental in making Bakken the band that it is today. What is surprising is that this is an independent release and Bakken is a band with enough in its armoury to warrant the backing of a label, they are certainly well worth checking out.

This Means War track list

  1. This Means War (5:10)
  2. Cold Blooded Murder (5:10)
  3.  Star Machine (3:34)
  4. Evil Walks This Way (4:11)
  5. In Requiem (6:10)
  6. Two-Edged Blade (5:55)
  7. War Fight (5:31)
  8. Storm Angels (5:57)