I was a Judas Priest fanatic in the late 70’s and the 80’s but fell away in the 90’s as I didn’t like the direction that Painkiller was heading in. Now in 2015 I see that the Priest is back to their old ways with an absolute tour de force of fiery riffs, virtuoso solos and well composed songs…or are they? Then I read the band line-up on the recordings again – Mark Williams – Guitar, Rod Weygant – Guitar, Dennis Gage – Drums and Steve Wright – Bass. No, this is none other than the St. Louis, Missouri based hard rock band, Nytro!
Rod Weygant and Mark Williams grew up as neighbors and started writing and recording songs before they were teenagers. Fast forward to the 90’s and as adults they wrote and recorded 15 albums of original material. Finally in 2013 they decided to start work on a professional CD. With the help of longtime friend Dennis Gage on drums, their lifelong dream of making a professional album came to life. The debut album “Some Things Never Change” contains 10 handpicked songs from the Williams/Weygant catalog.
Great riffs and tunes outweigh any production quibbles – always has done and always will do. And on this album there is plenty of both, and damn good old-school production too – which means raw, down and dirty mixing. Though the first track, Off With Their Heads kicks things off with an urgent and insistent guitar riff, all hell really breaks loose on the second track, Death Dealer, where Nytro let their inhibitions go on a rampant wild goose chase. Drums, bass, guitars and vocals just go at it full throttle.
Slip of the Knife slides through tempo changes and an exercise in guitar precision with Mark and Glenn riffing so deceptively simply, to great effect. However it’s the overdriven guitars on Fit to be Tied that truly set my ears on fire. Heatseeker has the kinds of riffs that Ozzy Osbourne’s first edition of Black Sabbath would have been proud of. Even the vocals are reminiscent of early Ozzy on this one.
All-round though, the quality of songwriting is genuinely great and there is no filler, this is a good old-school hard rock album plain and simple. And things even get decidedly better with Fire Against Fire which contains a rough-riding rhythm and some good chanting choruses to add some anthemic substance to potentially great stadium rock song. Of the remaining four songs, its High Voltage and Subliminal Submission, which impress me the most.
“Some Things Never Change” was the type of sound the hard rock youth back in the day were looking for, and which today, all grown-up, they still crave; the lyrics, the distinctive voice, heavy guitars, great bass playing and thumping drums. Chock a bloc bursting with smoking hot tunes from beginning to end, this is how metal and hard rock was always meant to be – a combination of tempos, not all speed not all slow, choruses you can walk away singing and great riffs that’ll have you playing air guitar endlessly!
“Some Things Never Change” is far removed from the flashy, glossy, error-free, corporate or radio-rock delivered by Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman or Breaking Benjamin, as Nytro take us back to the realms of this genre’s roots. And they do it authentically and convincingly!