War Master (2013) is the debut full-length album by multi-national power metal act Death Dealer. The band is made up of members and former members of artists such as Cage, Manowar, Ross the Boss and Lizzy Borden, with the members mostly hailing from the United States but also from Germany and Australia. Specifically the members are Sean Peck (Cage) on vocals, Ross the Boss (of band of the same name/ex-Manowar) and Stu Marshall (ex-Dungeon, Empires of Eden et al) on guitars, Mike Davis (Halford, ex-Lizzy Borden) on bass and Rhino (ex-Manowar, Holy Force et al) on drums. I guess the term supergroup can be fairly applied here.
With the members having backgrounds within many different power metal bands for the most part, it shouldn’t any surprise that this is the style that Death Dealer also plays. But don’t expect an extra cheesy brand of power metal based on that cover art and its heavily armoured futuristic warrior dude taking on a horde of goblins. Death Dealer unashamedly represents traditional values in their power metal, placing them firmly within the USPM side of the genre, although their sound has much less cross-over with traditional heavy metal than a lot of USPM acts. It’s mostly fast paced stuff all the way here! And with songs like their namesake Death Dealer and Warmaster they produce an absolutely intense and epic sound, not least because of the impressive vocal range of singer Sean Peck.
War Master is no one trick pony though. With Children of Flames Death Dealer proves they’re not above including balladry within a power metal album. Unlike the majority of power metal bands though doing a ballad doesn’t mean turning that cheese dial up to the max, it’s still just as much off as with their speedy tracks, and Peck really shines during the song. Additionally on Curse of the Heretic the band introduce a theatrical approach featuring some spoken word, and dramatic symphonic elements. For the most part though they stick to doing what they do the very best, and it’s tracks like Death Dealer, Warmaster, The Devils Mile and Heads Spikes Walls stand out as the best of the bunch, the latter of which even has a little bit of crossover into thrash metal territory. All of the songs are great or better, but it’s these four that I’ve got stuck in my head.
Death Dealer has produced an impressive first album together in War Master. I’d expect nothing less from such a group of metal veterans and they’ve in no way disappointed me. This is a killer album in every sense of the word. If you like classic metal in either a traditional or power metal vein (speed metal fans will probably want a look in too) then this is one album you don’t want to be passing up on. And, to reword a lyric that appears to be their slogan: Death Dealer they be named. An exceptional grade rating is deserved.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/death-dealer-war-master-t2920.html)