Sometimes it takes a while for a debut album to appear. It’s not easy to write and record and mix then produce a CD with little or no money when real life gets in the way and it’s these factors, plus a little more, which has meant Erebus, formed in 1984, have had to wait so long to reach this milestone. This Welsh metal loving ‘Band of Brothers’ originally got together to play covers of their metal Idols and like most talented crews morphed into playing about 90% of their own stuff and having a substantial following in the Valleys. Still they couldn’t crack the glass ceiling and get out a record and finally had to call it a day in 1990. That was until lead guitarist Andrew Chick and singer Robert Thomas bumped into each other in the Welsh wilds whilst mountain biking and decided Erebus had some unfinished business. In the meantime, Chick has made a name for himself playing lead for Edge Of The Blade and as the man behind the mixing desk on a number of projects such a 7HY as well.
Well you have had the background now let’s get to the meat of the matter, the music. Erebus consists of Robert Thomas -vocals, Andrew Chick – guitar, Steven Price – guitar, Kevin Chambers – guitar, Milo Miles – drums and Lee Woodmass – bass. Their sound is very much influenced by the songs of the bands they cut their musical chops playing the likes of Iron Maiden, UFO, Ozzy and Dio, so expect some metal.
The album opens with an old-time homage to metal the radio friendly rocker called ‘Can’t Stop The Rock’. It reminds me of Kiss meets UFO at times and although it doesn’t do anything particular new it rocks along nicely. There is just a freshness and enthusiasm that leaps out of the speakers and grips you tightly by the short and curly’s. Definitely a fist pumper and played with aplomb. Next up ’15 Minutes Of Fame’ opens circa early Iron Maiden and continues in that manner. What continually hits you is what a superb voice Robert Thomas has and how well the 3 guitar attack trades blows with each other. The lyric of course revolves around the notorious Warhol quote but is used in this context as an allegory the fickle nature of the music industry. ‘Rock Ain’t Dead’ opens with thudding/blocked guitars and relentless drums which power the track. It stirs echoes with me of N.W.O.B.H.M titans Diamond Head especially in the vocal and guitar solos and has all their latent power. ‘Going Under’ changes pace with a keyboard opening. Its structure reminds me of another N.W.O.B.H.M favourite of mine, The Tygers Of Pan Tang, complete with a twiddly guitar solo that would have brought a smile to the face of John Sykes. Playing well, like the rest of the album just spot on, the vocal emotion packed, powerful and so tuneful. ‘Twisted World’ continues at this slightly slower place, stark early Maiden like rhythm guitar repetition opens this dark tale and continues through the track as the backdrop. Flourishes of heavier Ozzy material are skilfully woven in. ‘Damned’ is another spirited good time rocker and dare I say it has that good time Bluesy tongue in cheek feel you find in AC/DC. The lyric illustrates the well-known truth with women men are always wrong even when they right. A song guaranteed to get the house shaking if ever there was one. ‘The Long Goodbye’ uses the early Sabbath solid, pounding guitar line so often used in thrash. The chorus lightens matter momentarily until the ominous guitar solo pitches in. This one is metal dark and moody. ‘The Prowler’ which follows sounds like something off Killers the Di’Anno voiced Maiden album but given a modern spit and polished make over. ‘Mamma’ a tale of child abuse is an eclectic blend of a trace of Maiden and a larger portion of darker Deep Purple particularly in the narrative nature of the lyric. At times Thomas sounds like a young Gillan principally in the opening and during the chorus.
If you like your Metal with a N.W.O.B.H.M flavour this release will not disappoint. Knowing the back story of the band and that Andrew Chick produced and mixed this album in-between working on other projects because the band had no budget for production makes this album even more of an achievement. The voice of Robert Thomas is a revelation and these boyos can really play. Erebus have been mining for metal in the Valleys and with Time Out have struck gold.
Rating: 8/10 Record Label: Self Release. Website: www.facebook.com.erebus1984
Release date: 15th September 2017
Highlight tracks: ‘Can’t Stop The Rock’, ’Going Under’, ‘Damned’, ’Mama’
Words: Rob Birtley