“Alone again, alone again, and that’s how it will be ‘till the end…” Bill Tsamis once said, showing to everyone how much his lyrics characterized him. His presence is not going to be easily forgotten, especially in Greece, where his melodies and lyricism stigmatized the entire power metal scene, and a vast majority of fans when referring to power metal, equally mean WARLORD.
“A Crack in the Sky” is a tribute to Bill Tsamis and mostly the 80s era of WARLORD, but there are references to LORDIAN GUARD, as well as the reunion albums of WARLORD. Due to the nature of this release, let’s check each band and its effort separately;
MIRROR – “Aliens”: The band from Cyprus presents a very good cover to the classic “Aliens”, and since the original song is close to perfection, so does this version. The fans of WARLORD will like this.
SUMERLANDS – “Lost and Lonely Days”: This heart-breaking anthem of WARLORD goes to the US heavy/epic metallers SUMERLANDS. Great crystal-clear guitar work, very good vocals, and very close to the initial feeling of the song.
STRAY GODS – “War in Heaven”: Bob Katsionis with his project STRAY GODS selected a LORDIAN GUARD song from their first album that was re-recorded for the re-union album “Rising Out of the Ashes” of WARLORD in 2002. The vocals of Artur Almeida are so Dickinson–like that inevitably the song is less epic, melancholic and atmospheric than the original, resembling a classic metal version of WARLORD. Nice effort that offers a different view of the song that could easily be in one of IRON MAIDEN’s 00s albums.
TWISTED TOWER DIRE – “Mrs. Victoria”: This very good US mid-late 90s power/epic metal band has chosen one of the most mystifying moments of WARLORD. Solid effort, very close to the original song.
CLAYMOREAN – “70,000 Sorrows”: Power metallers CLAYMOREAN from Serbia present their version of “70,000 Sorrows” off WARLORD’s second re-union album, “The Holy Empire” in 2013. The celtic rhythm of the original song remains unchanged with a modern NWOTHM-like production, while the female vocals add to the epic feeling of the track.
ETERNAL CHAMPION – “Stygian Passage”: This a-m-a-z-i-n-g song from the great “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” second album of LORDIAN GUARD was chosen by the US epic metallers ETERNAL CHAMPION. Very good work, close to the original, where the male vocals bring an extra “metal” feeling this time.
ARRAYAN PATH (feat. Paolo Viani) – “The Rainbow”: Nice choice from WARLORD’s second demo in 1981. ARRAYAN PATH from Cyprus give a heavy metal touch to this beautiful ballad something that makes it even more contemporary and fresh.
FORSAKEN – “Lucifer’s Hammer”: Great cover by this underrated epic doom metal band from Malta which is in the scene since the 90s. FORSAKEN preserve the original characteristics of the song but they sound really up to date and modern.
FIREWOLF – “Battle of the Living Dead”: Another choice from LORDIAN GUARD’s second album whose metal version was in WARLORD’s “Rising Out of the Ashes” LP. FIREWOLF’s cover is very good, like WARLORD playing NWOTHM.
STEEL SHOCK – “Child of the Damned”: STEEL SHOCK, present their point of view on WARLORD’s speediest song. The band has kept the initial feeling unchanged, as the only difference between their cover and the original hymn of WARLORD are the vocals.
SOLITARY SABRED – “Black Mass”: The heavy/epic metal band form Cyprus selects the “darkest” and “doomiest” moment of WARLORD. Unbelievable track and the band’s version is one of the best moments of this tribute album. Fantastic vocals, the band has caught the original feeling, and the fans of old WARLORD will be thrilled.
WOTAN – “Winds of Thor”: Another top moment. The 90s Italian epic metal veterans choose another song from the second demo of WARLORD which became known in the “Rising Out of the Ashes” LP. Great feeling, and the band seems to understand the special and melancholic nature that WARLORD had.
REFLECTION – “Winter Tears”: “Tears for all the joy we had, tears for all the pain… These winter tears I’ll cry for YOU until we meet again…”
GALAXY – “Penny for a Poor Man”: One of the best songs in the history of music through the eyes of this very good new band from Australia. Nice try.
COMET RIDER – “Soliloquy”: This song was WARLORD’s ode to melancholy and solitude, always via a poetic, noble and epic perspective. The Greek metal band “catches” this feeling in one of the most passionate moments of the album.
SOCRATES LEPTOS – “A Crack in the Sky”: The album closes with this sad, one-minute outro by Socrates Leptos, bringing us in mind the wonderful and warm music of Bill Tsamis.
Overall, “A Crack in the Sky” is a very sentimental album which reminds us that we haven’t yet accepted that Bill Tsamis is gone. A very sensitive WARLORD fan will perhaps find himself in a difficult position while listening to the album, as childhood memories of favorite music sounds will strike him as lightning. In any case, this is an album for WARLORD fans by WARLORD fans who both will always remember this great melancholic and lonely composer.
“I did not know what happiness could bring… Until we meet again…”