I was expecting the usual gruesome death metal from the band and album names, but instead I got a shot of pure rocking heavy metal with traces of punk and stoner. It hooked me right away and if it wasn’t for one misstep at the end, I would have put this in the running for one of my top records of the year.

This trio from Vancouver, B.C. don’t overthink things, they keep their music simple and full of hooks. There’s a fair amount of hair metal sleaze mixed with influences like MOTORHEAD, METAL CHURCH and LA. GUNS. ‘The Summoning’ kicks things off with an instrumental that shows classic metal influence and a lot of twin guitar harmonies. It’s almost like something HAUNT and other traditional metal type bands do, but when ‘Electric Lady’ hits, we get some awesome riffy biker metal with plenty of sleazy feeling.

This band definitely has me hooked now and the variety continues. ‘Sleeping Like A Hangman’ and ‘Elm St.’ hit fast and hard, with the latter being more straight up metal while the former could almost pass for a jacked up GUNS ‘N’ ROSES. ‘Snake Eyes’ is where the MOTORHEAD influence becomes prominent, but that’s all it is…an influence. REBEL PRIEST put their own stamp on the tune.

The last 3 tunes is where the eclectic nature of R’lyeh Heavy stands out the most. ‘Emperor’ is kind of a gloomy metal ballad that reminds of classic METAL CHURCH like ‘Gods Of Wrath’ and ‘Watch The Children Pray’, but it speeds up in cool sub-thrash fashion at the end. The press sheet said ‘Lighten The Load’ showed a reggae touch, and I guess I can spot it in the catchy riffing, but really, the song is another gritty hair metal style rocker. The album ends with ‘Dead End World’ and this is where REBEL PRIEST finally miss a step. They are trying to do a kind of pop punk track here complete with MISFIT-style “whoa-oh-ohs”. It just seems too lightweight to me and ends things on an average note.

There is a term “heavy metal rock ‘n’ roll” that is kind of hard to describe, but you know it when you hear it. You will hear it a lot on this record. Great stuff for cracking open a cold one and blasting down the highway at an illegal rate of speed.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality

R’lyeh Heavy
Scrape Records
5.5 / 6