When it comes to Spartan Warrior, New Wave of British Heavy Metal fans need no introduction. These guys made quite the impact with debut album Steel n’ Chains before signing to Roadrunner Records and releasing their seminal self-titled follow up a year later! Then, as was the case with the majority of 80’s UK metal acts, there was nothing for nigh on two and a half decades. That is until 2009’s single “Never Take Me Alive” announced their return and Spartan Warrior have been riding the comeback trail ever since.
While 2010’s Behind Closed Eyes was very well received, Hell To Pay takes these spartan warriors to the next level. Predominantly consisting of thrashy, crunchy, speed metal workouts – tempered by a sense of melody, of course, and killer vocal hooks, Spartan Warrior are still as metal as fuck and time has not tempered either their resolve or ability to deliver the heavy metal goods.
“Covered In Lust” (great title!) may sound like it’ll be a bestial blackened thrash onslaught but it’s actually a thumping, chug-fest while “Walls Fall Down” roars out of the blocks like Priest circa Painkiller. Obligatory ‘ballad’ “Something To Believe In” aside, Hell To Pay plays it hard and fast throughout and closes with the best track on the album, the outstanding “In Memorium”.
Hard as nails and full of vigour, Spartan Warrior are back with a classic sounding metal album that’s both nostalgically inviting and an updated version of the power of prime NWoBHM. With Salem, Trespass and Saxon already releasing great modern NWoBHM albums in 2018, the year of the veteran is shaping up rather nicely! 7/10