Children of the Reptile – Heavy is the Head
Tracing their roots back to around 2008, Children Of The Reptile originally formed for a single show. 15 years later, their third full-length album has just been released, and they are still going strong. Bringing together Thrash, NWOBHM, Traditional, and Progressive Metals, they’re not only thinking outside the box but also setting the box on fire and starting a circle pit around it. Stalking the East Coast of the US from their home in North Carolina, they are pushing the limits of what the ears can handle and straining necks with killer twin guitar work and stellar rhythms.
- Ozzie Darden – Lead Vocals/Guitar
- Chris Millard – Guitar/Backing Vocals
- David “Pils” Hufham – Bass/Backing Vocals
- Chase Kelly – Drums/Backing Vocals
April 7, 2023
- Delvers In Darkness
- Warriors Of Light
- Silent Circle
- Fear The Old Blood
- Seven Days Of Fire
- Last Words (Ruin’s Ride)
- Oath To Order
The album opens with a short instrumental that draws the ear and relaxes the mind before the onslaught. “Delvers In Darkness” sets the mood, but “Warriors Of Light” introduces us to the album’s theme. The chugging guitar riff and the lead work give distinct NWOBHM vibes with how they play off each other, often trading licks and leads alike. The rhythm is more Traditional Metal on this track, with the drums staying steady and the bass galloping along like a thoroughbred in stride. With one lead and three backing vocalists, the band has a variety of combinations at its disposal.
“Burner” opens like an epic 80s NWOBHM or Thrash Metal track with a melodic intro leading to a heavy riff/rhythm combo. This track has an excellent tempo, racing with tenacity and purpose. The drumming is faster but stays under the level of blast beats for the most part, aiming for a more melodic tempo. In a similar vein, “Silent Circle” hovers under the Power Metal tempo, sticking to more Traditional pacing and maintaining tempo throughout.
For a slower song that builds, “Fear The Old Blood” has the pacing of a Power Ballad, opening with a slow tempo, but you can feel that there is more to this song. Just before the midpoint, the intensity starts with the voice. The restrained power in the vocals is the first indication that this will get heavier. When the heavy hits, it hits hard, bringing a massive hook to pull you through the rest of the song.
By now, you’ve heard a number of different styles and genres. They all work together well, so you know Children Of The Reptile can roam the Metal landscape and do what they wish. “Seven Days Of Fire” and “Last Words (Ruin’s Ride)” have different baseline sounds, yet they work together, building on the overall sound of the band. “Adventures” goes for an almost Power Metal speed, working closer to the blast beats we knew these guys were capable of.
They close the record with “Oath To Order,” a six-and-a-half-minute song that begins with an ambient intro, then slowly gains speed for a bit, only to have a massive surge at the halfway point. The clean vocals alternate with a harsher voice, giving the song a darker tone, and the guitars go full-speed Thrash, shifting to melodic for the solos. That heavy section is tastefully done, shredding the ears with a twin guitar attack that is just beautifully powerful.
Children Of The Reptile have an innate ability to craft a variety of songs using different tempos and timings, yet they all sound like they belong together. Some bands seem disjointed when they try to step away from their comfort zone, but not these guys. They cover a lot of ground, doing so with a skill borne of years of practice and working at developing an identity. Children Of The Reptile know who they are and play to their strengths, which are apparently numerous and fun to hear.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 8
- Vocals – 8
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 8
- Overall – 8.60