BRIAR ROSE - DARK LORD (Roaar Records)


                              (Review by Officer Nice)

Did you know Briar Rose is a figure out of a fairytale? I didn’t… I knew was that there is a Metal band with this name, from out of the US of A. Thanks to our Metal To Infinity page at I received two CD’s from the band and allow me to start with latest one, dated 2012. A nice front cover, professional booklet and the first notes are enough to make me understand this is stuff for any fan of traditional Heavy Metal.


In vein of bands like Metal Church, Megadeth and Vicious Rumors these guys are taking off. Just the way we like it… This well produced album is full of typical US Metal on which good riffing stays the public secret. This is an experienced band, releasing more albums in the past. The beginning of this formation lies in the mighty eighties and that’s obvious during the entire listening session. At the back band’s picture I noticed the keyboard player Joe McDonald wears a shirt from the Misfits. Well, it seemed to be a source of inspiration too and it proves how varied this band really sounds. But these guys aren’t afraid to cross multiple boundaries to return time after time again to the roots of some good old Heavy Metal!


So, Briar Rose overgrows subgenres and doesn’t like to be labeled in one particular style. Yet I hear some good musicians and the leads from a man that listens to the name of Jeff Tundis are really good. The guitars are without any doubt the most eye catching, awesome stuff!


Randy Blake is the front man and he contains a bit of a ‘like or dislike’ voice. His vocal sound is a bit raw yet he contains a strong pair of lungs, giving this kind of Metal a special touch. This band sounds strong, offers a lot of Power and the hard-hitting rhythms are built on melodic lines, with even an epic touch. It gives this band a typical underground charisma, talking about US Metal but thanks to the strong production this band stands tall. Chris Tsangarides (Anvil, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest) was responsible for this production what explains the fact I’m thrilled by it.


With tracks like “You Cannot Kill What Will Not Die”, “My girlfriend is a witch” and “The Portrait Of Carlotta” these guys from Swansea/USA prove that US Metal is far from dead. The lyrics are another point of interest but I suppose mentioning the name of some tracks made that fact already clear.


Thanks to the fact Briar Rose wrote a wide bench of arrangements this album is so attractive to listen to. They add the right senses to the compositions and that makes them sound very professional. I constantly have the feeling I am listening to a band that is well known all over the world, what isn’t true. But if you should hear a song like “Eyes Of Wonder” you would understand my point. It’s another fantastic track on this release, and again I need to mention the overwhelming guitars! The keyboards are playing an important role too and on this one you’ll understand why the drummer and bass player deserve to be mentioned as well. Another superb song is “The Gobblin Heart”, one that includes lots of ingredients to be a fan of True Metal! Randy Blake does an outstanding job on this one and the dark atmosphere Briar Rose created here gave me cold shivers! This song is the most epic one of them all!


From Manowar all over Metal Church, Icarus Witch, Maiden and Sabbath, even a bit Mercyful Fate, Megadeth or Meliah Rage… Add a bit punk and some good old Hard Rock…. Briar Rose delivers it! Briar Rose released this one a year ago and I suppose new works will come later. But, this is an American band and because of the lack of support for True Metal it might take a lot of time. Nevertheless I hope Thomas from Headbangers Open Air or Oliver from Keep It True will notice this release, to invite them to the most ultimate Metal festivals from the entire world! Fans of good old traditional Metal are actually obliged purchasing this one! Check them out at


My Points: 89 / 100    



95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !

Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan

Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it

Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing

Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate

Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard

50- : Rubbish