It seems the NWOTHM revivalist wave that started more than fifteen years ago is still as vital as in the beginning. Just a glance at these guys’ band name and logo screams classic heavy metal and this is what you get, when hitting “play” for Guns For Hire, released last Friday. Featuring two ex-Midnight Prophecy members, Tailgunner is a band formed five years ago, managing to release a few singles and an EP last year. The quality of said EP Crashdive secured them a deal with Fireflash Records for a full-length, adding six more songs to those we already know.
The speedy riffs of White Death or the title track are played with great competence and bring classic Satan or Grim Reaper to mind, but it is the anthemic Crashdive, Shadows Of War and especially Revolution Scream, where Tailgunner are most comfortable in bringing forth hummable choruses and more sing-along melodies overall. I have the strong impression they are aiming to attract “audience-participation” when performing these songs live, even if they sometimes fall in the trap of following a formula, rather than their hearts. The new songs New Horizons or Blood For Blood live up to the quality of the EP, once again displaying punchy riffs, good vocals and a sense for the good melodic guitar line. I have to say, however, that Tailgunner just failed to leave a lasting impression on me with this album. While the songs are good on their own, they lack that “something” to make me hit the replay button. When you hear three or four songs, the album is bound by a formulaic pattern, which makes the next song very, very predictable. This is good and enjoyable, meat-and-potatoes heavy metal that seemingly ticks all the boxes but at the end of the day, I will reach for the latest Riot City, Angel Witch, The Night Eternal or Century albums on the shelf.
On the other hand, I have to stress one more time that all performances are professional and competent and the marketing strategy of these young people is admirable. The last song Rebirth is the one that raises head and shoulders above the rest, with a more out-of-the-box structure, a more inspired riff and a better rhythm-section punch. It closes the album in a great manner, showing Tailgunner are a band to keep an eye (and ear) on.
Guns For Hire is out now and you can buy it from HERE