Burning Fortune

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Cauldron's debut CD, Chained to the Nite, was a fun, punchy blast of retro metal, totally indebted to '80s bands from Iron Maiden to Dokken. On their second disc, they've stuck to what they're good at, and gotten even better. This time out, the riffs and melodies (their songs are extremely melodic, with vocals sung rather than barked or growled) are very much in the mode of early-'80s Scorpions: "Tears Have Come" is a slow-burning rocker of exactly the type the Germans sent up the charts back then, while "Frozen in Fire" sounds akin to their more anthemic tracks like "Rock You Like a Hurricane." They pay tribute to Dokken pretty explicitly, writing a total George Lynch riff on "Queen of Fire" and even throwing in the phrase "under lock and key" into the lyrics. They also throw in a cover of "I Confess" by ultra-obscure Detroit metal band I Confess. The only time Cauldron breaks with their arena-minded hard rock/metal sound is on "Rapid City/Unchained Assault," a speed-metal-ish track that still retains the upper-register vocals and fist-pumping choruses that are their stock in trade. Cauldron may not appeal to younger metalheads who've grown up on death metal, metalcore, screamo, and other anti-melodic styles, but headbangers who remember the '80s will find much to love on this terrific album.

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