March 23, 2021

Slaves to Fashion is a Norwegian band out of Haugesund which formed in 2002 initially with the name P:O:B and the boys in the band seem to have a rather wicked sense of humour as they certainly like to play around with their style of rock and roll. They released their debut progressive metal concept album, Crossing Over, in 2007 with the second album (but first under the Slaves To Fashion name) being Artistic Differences which was released in 2011. Changes in the line-up or perhaps a rotating door policy on recruitment would be a more accurate description which led to changes in direction and eventually the band was put on hold although they did occasionally reappear as a pop version of themselves under the name of Moteslavene (Norwegian for Slave To Fashion), for sure, a different move!

The band reconvened in 2020 and came up with a rather ambitious concept to release an album covering the 50-year history of heavy metal from 1970 up to 2020 with each song written and performed to cover a particularly sub-genre within metal and the accompanying musical changes over the years. So, the album starts with the track MCMLXX (1970) which is the band’s starting point for the birth of metal and what you get is a song that is very much Black Sabbath/Deep Purple and so it goes on with, for example, Thrash Of The Titans covering the period when Metallica and Thrash led the way so you can see how the album plays out. It is fun actually listening and picking out the bands and styles so expect to hear songs inspired by thrash, glam, prog metal, nu-metal etc. This really could have descended into parody as in Weird Al Jankovic territory but the band pulls off this rather brave and novel idea with a great deal of style and panache and it is actually surprising to see that the same musicians can be at as equally at home with death metal or nu-metal as they are with classic metal. It is rather an enjoyable romp through rock history and works really well although I could maybe have done without the penultimate track, The Nu Wine, as it is far too nu-metal for my tastes but that just shows what a good job they have done with the track! It seems that the latest version of the band is more of a collective than a traditional band but they have, at the core, Johannes Støle (vocals), Torfinn Sirnes (guitar), John Lind (bass), Vidar Ingvaldsen (drums) and Stein Arild Grønås (guitar) but they now also have the flexibility to call in from a team of musicians to give additional flexibility.

If you take it on face value, then this is a great metal album with a collection of excellent songs, superb guitar and a wonderful singer and the variety with the delivery makes for great fun. I expect the next album with probably ne more conventional progressive metal but it’s going to be fun waiting to see what they actually do next. All of their material is available on Bandcamp and is most certainly worth checking out.

The History Of Heavy Metal track list

  1. MCMLXX (1970) (6:10)
  2. The Priest Of Maidenhead (5:33)
  3. Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll (3:23)
  4. Thrash Of The Titans (7:23)
  5. Expressions Of Extremity (7:55)
  6. Garden Of Chains (3:23)
  7. The Evergrowing Tree (13:25)
  8. The Power Of Metal (5:35)
  9. The Nu Wine (3:07)
  10. Too Close (To See Clearly) (3:48)