TWISTED TOWER DIRE is an American heavy metal band from my neck of the woods – the great Washington DC area, and I ask myself, how have I not heard of them yet?  This is a group of metal heads who I would classify as good old fashioned straight up heavy metal.  No –core labeling or any of that garbage.  Just good old distorted guitars, killer solos, and a singer who can hang with the best of them.  These Virginia natives have just released Make It Dark and it certainly feels like a breath of fresh air.

Having never heard of these guys before, my initial impression is that of a classic metal sound (JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, etc…) with a nice touch of power metal vibes throughout.  The one band that keeps coming to mind is LOST HORIZON who is maybe not the biggest band, but one of my favorites to listen to.  There are great distorted riffs all over the album accompanied by excellent lead guitar playing and a singer who can hit the high notes and rock with anyone.

One song that particularly sticks out to me is “Snow Leopard” because of the excellent guitar work.  I really love the soloing around the 3:30 mark as it has throw backs to Eddie Van Halen style finger tapping mixed with just a real solid groove.  The vocals are also on point as they portray a ton of emotional conviction.  For me, this song is a great representation of TWISTED TOWER DIRE’S sound and what they are really about.

“The Stone” picks things up with a very upbeat drum pattern matched by aggressive guitars.  The vocals chime in perfectly in the higher range as they do throughout the whole album and for some reason make me want to cruise the streets in my Trans Am that I don’t own with the top down and the wind flowing through my gorgeous locks that I also no longer have.  Either way, it’s a killer song filled with a ton of power and pedal to the metal feel!

The title track, “Make it Dark”, comes off as an 80’s style song, but in a good way.  It leads in with a prominent grooving bass line that is later accompanied by brief leads that segue into the meat of the song.  Some nice pinch harmonics are thrown in for style that add a nice element as well.  I am a big fan of screaming metal as well, but it’s nice to come across bands like this that have a singer who can actually sing and take you on a vocal journey.  The song is broken up into some pretty cool brief musical break downs that offer something different and keep the song interesting.

“The Only Way” is another song that sticks out to me because of the unique guitar hook they have going on.  At times it almost reminds me of a sort of BLACK SABBATH or even LED ZEPPELIN style riff without being a rip off.  It offers a change of pace and shows the versatility of TWISTED TOWER DIRE.  The song continues to develop into the bands patented heavy drums, soaring leads, and aggressive riffing that really defines their sound.  This song also has some great bass guitar work as it really carries the tune at parts with the guitars doing once again some impressive lead work over top.

After having looked into the band and their biography, I came across the unfortunate news that their lead singer, Tony Taylor, was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2010.  The loss of any band member is always a difficult task to overcome and not all bands come out on the right side after such a disaster.  I must say, although I never knew Tony, I think he would be very proud that these guys carried on and would certainly give his stamp of approval with the addition of the new singer, Jonny Aune.  Make It Dark is an excellent straight forward heavy metal album that will appeal to young and old metal heads.  You can’t deny great guitar work, great vocals, and great song writing.  This band seems to have it all and I’m happy I have been able to be exposed to them as I will certainly be looking out for them.

VERY GOOD

Similar bands: JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN

1. Mystera

2. Snow Leopard

3. The Stone

4. Make It Dark

5. White Shadow

6. The Only Way

7. Torture Torture

8. Beyond The Gate

Jonny Aune – vocals

Scott Waldrop – guitars

Dave “Jelly Bean” Boyd – guitars

Jim Hunter – bass

Marc Stauffer – drums

Cruz del Sur Music

http://www.myspace.com/twistedtowerdire

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