As per usual with John Yelland releases I am late to the party. Dire Peril‘s first full record The Extraterrestrial Compendium was released a few weeks ago, so you could go check it out right now. Look, I don’t mean to demean Jason Ashcraft, Yelland’s partner for the two man project Dire Peril, but somehow John Yelland is the link between now two of this year’s great (US) power metal records. Earlier this year, Judicator, singer Yelland’s main band, if you want to call it that, impressed me greatly with their Blind Guardian inspired take on American power metal. Dire Peril‘s “debut” on the other hand was written by Helion Prime‘s Ashcraft, but stylistically T.E.C. is real close to Judicator.
Dire Peril‘s music can be described as a crossover of rather modern progressive power metal similar to Iced Earth, aggressive European influences such as early Blind Guardian, and a decent hint of old school ’80s epic metal such as Manilla Road. Of course, Yelland’s voice plays a big part in the comparison to more European styles of power metal, and Dire Peril makes good use of it, just as Judicator did with the typical vocal layering (don’t quote me on technical terms). Opening track “Yautja (Hunter Culture)” showcases the basic ingredients for a Dire Peril song: a mix of aggressive and high-pitched vocals, fantastic guitar lead melodies and riffs, somewhat intricate drum patterns (unless going all out with mad double bass) and a catchy, yet 0% cheesy chorus.
If I lost you at the track title up there and you keep thinking about Predator, let me say one thing real quick: nerd! You’re right though, each of T.E.C.‘s songs takes its lyrical influence from sci-fi flicks, maybe easier to guess with titles like “Total Recall” or “Heart Of The Furyan”. Seems like Helion Prime wasn’t enough for Ashcraft to live out his love for science fiction, and I don’t mind. Dire Peril‘s modern sound and aggressive, mostly cold atmosphere as well as Yelland’s usually high-pitched vocals make a perfect couple with stories of death in space.
To top off already great songwriting and sound, Dire Peril managed to get two amazing, if not totally different guest vocalists/guitarists/both for their first full record. “Queen Of The Galaxy” features Brittney Hayes/Slayes of Unleash The Archers, who prooobably released the best power metal album last year and “Journey Beyond The Stars” magically puts forward the master of space metal himself, Arjen A. Lucassen. With its 9+ minutes, “Journey Beyond The Stars” is one of the highlights of the album anyway, add A.A. Lucassen and it’s pure magic. Or science.
This paragraph is where I’d list some of the negative stuff about the record, but to be fair, there’s nothing to say. The songs are varied, each has its own identity, the sound is great and the album is longer than an hour but no second is boring. It’s just a great record for anyone who enjoys power metal, be it US style or European.