SLAVES TO FASHION – The History of Heavy Metal (Album Review)

SLAVES TO FASHION – The History of Heavy Metal (Album Review)

In 2020 the heavy metal genre celebrated its 50 years anniversary. Black Sabbath released both their ground-breaking debut album and the mighty “Paranoid” in 1970. Norwegian band Slaves To Fashion celebrated this occasion in their own special way. Each month of 2020 the band released one new original song that was inspired by, paid tribute to and represented a time period or subgenre of heavy metal. On February 13, 2021, these songs have now been released as the concept album The History of Heavy Metal.

This was a pretty ambitious project to take on but they seem to have captured the true spirit of each of the genres that are represented here on this release. I have never heard of this band prior to listening to this album. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. I feel that they were able to pull off and represent each genre really well. Along with each song they released custom artwork for that song. The art is a real added extra to this project, right from the detail in the album cover to how each song is depicted.

First Half:

Cover art by Alf Dale Wold

“1970”:

The first song on the album is “1970” and pays homage to the birth of heavy metal. The song starts off with a rain sound effect, heavy riff and a vocal that draws on that classic Ozzy-led Black Sabbath debut. As the song goes on you hear nods to Led Zeppelin and then it shifts to Deep Purple with the Hammond organ and then back to that early Sabbath sound. To get that authentic feel to the song it was recorded using vintage gear and analogue tape machines.

Cover art by Dimitar Nikolov

“The Priest Of Maidenhead”:

Next up is the NWOBHM track called “The Priest of Maidenhead” and as the title suggests it’s a nod to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead. They really capture the essence of these three bands, from the singing style of Bruce Dickinson, Maiden lyrical content and song style, “Fast Eddie” Clark guitar fills and a portion of the song that reminds one of classic Judas Priest riffs and guitar work.

Cover art by Torfinn Sirnes

“Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll”:

“Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll “sees the band head to the glam metal/hair metal genre next. For this song, they had classic hair metal producer Beau Hill mix this track. This song brings back memories of the MTV days (Much Music here in Canada) with bands that had catchy choruses and distorted guitar riffs. There is not much to this song lyric-wise but it does a good job of mimicking the type of songs that were quite popular during this era.

Cover art by Dimitar Nikolov

“Thrash of The Titans”:

The song “Thrash of The Titans” as you can guess from the title pays homage to the “Big Four” of thrash metal. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Mixed by none other than Flemming Rasmussen who has worked with Metallica.  The lyrics pay tribute to the album titles of the many releases by the Big Four.

Second half:

“Expressions of Extremity”:

“Expressions of Extremity” covers the genres speed metal, doom metal, death metal, grindcore and black metal.

“Garden of Chains”:

“Garden of Chains” is a tribute to the Grunge era with the sounds of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.

“The Evergrowing Tree”:

“The Evergrowing Tree” is a 13-minute progressive epic that covers 3 areas of the progressive metal genre. Part I: Progressive Power, Part II: Alternative Alternatives, and Part III: Extreme Evolution. It covers lots of different styles and you can even hear a bit of Pantera.

Cover art by Dimitar Nikolov

“The Power of Metal”:

“The Power of Metal” covers one of my favourite genres, power metal. Mixing by Tommy Hansen (Helloween). I was looking for a good way to describe it but found this on their website and thought it was the perfect description. “Sing-along melodies, fast twin pedal drumming, high-pitched vocals, technical guitar solos, rich keyboard layers and classical variations… Dragons, warriors, mysteries, swords, fantasy landscapes, magical rings and keys… It’s grandiose, it’s pompous… It’s power metal!

“The NU Wine” / “Too Close (to See Clearly)”:

“The NU Wine” takes care of the New Metal genre and album closer “Too Close (to See Clearly)” handles Metalcore, symphonic metal, deathcore, folk metal, blackgaze, kawaii metal.

Final Thoughts:

Overall this is a very ambitious effort that these Norwegians have pulled off. It was a great idea for a concept album and I enjoyed most of the songs. There is a lot to take in and requires multiple listens to catch all of the little things they dropped in each song to showcase that genre. I find I pick up something each time I listen to it.

Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Ivan Galesic

Ivan Galesic

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Track List:

  1. MCMLXX (1970)
  2. THE PRIEST OF MAIDENHEAD
  3. SEX, DRUGS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
  4. THRASH OF THE TITANS
  5. EXPRESSIONS OF EXTREMITY
  6. GARDEN OF CHAINS
  7. THE EVERGROWING TREE
  8. THE POWER OF METAL
  9. THE NU WINE
  10. TOO CLOSE (TO SEE CLEARLY)

Band: (The album features many guest appearances on the various songs)

Johannes Støle (vocals)

Torfinn Sirnes (guitars)

John Lind (bass)

Vidar Ingvaldsen (drums)

Stein Arild Grønås (guitars)