TELOMYRAS – Telomyras EP

On this debut EP, five piece metal band Telomyras convey a very traditional sound, but despite sounding very familiar from the off, there’s plenty about their mix of New Wave of British Heavy Metal and thrash influences that captures a real energy. It’s unlikely that trad/thrash metal fans will need a reminder of a style they’ve loved for decades, but there’s plenty about the way this band goes about their business that makes old school metal feel truly exhilarating.

Opening number ‘Cambion’ is, in so many ways, the perfect introduction, since it leads off with a strong instrumental intro where a classic 80s metal riff is peppered with brief bursts of twin lead, not too far removed from Iron Maiden circa 1984. It’s a sound with which guitarists Ephraim Grimm and Jack Schohner show a clear affinity, but it’s also something Telomyras use very effectively as an easy springboard into slightly tougher sounds. Launching into the body of the track, those NWOBHM traits subside in favour of some classic thrash grooves. This is a great move, as the band settles into a riff that’s as much about presence as melody, and over the speedy backdrop, vocalist Sammie Gorham hits upon a performance that often brings out the best in her huge voice. A couple of the lengthier wails are at odds with some of the more jagged riffs, but this in itself captures a real spirit of a band caught in a moment; her clear delivery is often very well suited to the older aspects of the music itself, and when approaching a sizeable chorus, it’s clear that she’s a superb performer. This number shows a lot of promise from the outset, but it’s the lengthy instrumental break that makes it a real winner, when a slightly dirtier sounding Telomyras hit upon some great melodic thrash with a very Megadeth inspired melody lurks beneath the main riff. Throw in an obvious steal from Slayer, and in record time, this track sounds like an old classic.

More of the same powers the brilliant ‘Colorless’, but if anything, there’s a bigger love for the harder end of the NWOBHM, with several guitar squeals, a massive vocal wail, and a ragged riff filling a really exciting intro. Sammie quickly finds her vocal stride with a bombastic performance that brings out the best in a very retro melody, and as before, this definitely shows off a rising talent. The guitars eventually adopt more of a shrill edge, but this suits a massive bass rattle (courtesy of Eric Thomas), which stokes up the all round energy. There’s so much old school fire within the music and the melodies, it almost makes the lyrical content feel redundant. That said, some of the huge vocals here really accentuate the band’s energetic style. There are plenty of moments where the listener can be entirely swept along by a great riff, and although it feels rather familiar, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Slowing down at first, ‘First Blood’ shows signs of someone having listened to Iron Maiden’s ‘Strange World’ a lot, since the music captures a similarly floaty feel, but soon enough, the band revert to their classic trad metal/thrash hybrid sound, and as expected, most of the riffs are handled with a brilliant precision. Of particular note here is the way Ephraim and Jack make some clean leads really soar over a busy riff, but adding a tougher edge, Gorham offers a few black metal growls, unexpectedly, which definitely suggests Telomyras – as retro as they are – aren’t completely indebted to a trad metal past. The anti-war lyric, too, is certainly more thoughtful, and with a couple of Eastern flourishes thrown into a second huge solo, the music aims for the suitably huge. Some listeners might hear traces of Chastain; others might cling onto the thrash of bands like Sanctuary, but whichever way you approach it, this eventually becomes a metal epic for the era in which it was written.

From there, the rest of the EP doesn’t quite reach the same heights, but the remaining tracks retain a power and presence that really works for the band. ‘Hydra’ kicks off with a classic, NWOBHM sounding riff – in this case, the influence from Diamond Head is huge – and, predictably the guitarists wheel out another great twin lead, before descending into a slightly dirtier groove that has the effect of making Sammie’s voice appear even more bombastic. It’s clearly a deliberate move, since the fantasy themed lyrics can seem a little silly if over-thought but, once again, she delivers every line with a genuine conviction, while the rest of the band hammer out riffs from the early 80s with an equal amount of oomph. ‘Throne of Ruin’, meanwhile, suggests something of a more prog metal persuasion when opening with a wordless vocal and clean guitar set against tribal drums, but any atmosphere building is clearly a ruse. It isn’t long before everyone explores another ‘Powerslave’ era Maiden riff and a blanket of thrash, but for those who’ve been entertained so far, this semi-predictable approach will surely hit the mark. With Sammie warning of “the sword of Damocles” and a “bride of malice”, Talomyros go for broke in the Dio-esque narrative stakes, and with a chorus is reminiscent of the Judas Priest classic ‘Dissident Aggressor’, the debt to classic metal continues to be paid in great style. With a couple of really shredworthy solos to back up the great riff, the vocal eventually rising to peak wail, and an unexpected round of “whoahs” to top things off, it’s pretty bombastic, but fans of the style will certainly recognise a band who truly believe in their art and sound like they’re having fun.

Telomyras have no real care for fashion – the bulk of this release could have been recorded at any point during the previous thirty five years or so – but this debut release is great. Their love for classic metal and thrash shines through pretty much every bar, and with the EP length leaving no time for filler or for boredom to set in, this release is something that most fans of classic sounding metal should check out. ‘Cambion’ immediately sets them up as a band to watch, but ‘First Blood’, in particular, confirms their well-hewn talents and an ability to rework classic sounds with passion and conviction. In short, old school or otherwise, this is highly recommended metal.

January 2023