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The term heavy metal, when applied to a band’s output, could imply a variety of things; and even so, when narrowed down to the 80’s — suggested by other terms such as classic, old-school, etc — it still remains unclear as to what one could expect from the band in question. For instance, does it cover the era’s late crossover tendencies? Any hardcore flavors? How about the mid-80’s proto death metal sound? Any chance for some rockabilly and blues as heard in early ‘törhead? There must be some doom going on then; I clearly remember Witchfinder General having that, nope?
A lot of this has to do with the fact that in the beginning bands, while certainly sharing some influences in common, weren’t necessarily playing the same music, and therefore tended to draw on various inspirations from all kinds of music. Couple decades after, those new generation bands that fall into the old-school territory — a territory mostly filled with elder outfits — are in danger of finding themselves trapped within limits not even themselves can recognize, since there is no actual manifesto to follow, and where they’re trying to get screams for one.
One way of dealing with the problem is that they sit down and meticulously come up with one. Not so practicable I’m afraid. This is rock ‘n roll and those involved despise anything plainly schematic like that. So, the only way to go would be to rely on the collective unconscious of the band, and that indeed is a hit-and-miss process, for obvious reasons, too; the most important of all being the same that makes the attempts of a group not comparable to that of an individual. Now, from my experience with Messerschmitt, their case is one-hundred percent a hit.
The band’s debut, “No Dread To Kill,” happens to be not only a testament to that, but one of the strongest contemporary renditions of what we know as classic heavy metal, and that would be, in this case; the early 80’s NWOBHM sound, as played in US by thrash bands of the time, e.g. Nasty Savage, Dark Angel, early Slayer, Zoetrope, again early Armored Saint, “Kill ‘Em All”-era ‘tallica, and Germany’s own Exumer.
Messerschmitt are fully aware of their musical environment and capable of introducing the proper element at the proper time. The subtleties of the songs, what referred to as melodies, are handpicked, if not carefully composed, and there isn’t even one that sounds aped, out-of-place, or overly pop-infested. As to how the limits are recognized and/or created, as it’s already been discussed, it takes the collective unconscious and collective unconscious only. Messerschmitt? Apparently they’ve got each other under mind control.
Written by Ari Wilson