It’s been years since the whole “retro-metal” resurgence became hip. So long in fact, that we’ve moved on to some more creative (albeit mostly useless) labels for the stuff: proto-metal, trad metal, occult metal, vest metal, beard metal. Whatever you want to call it, the classic sound never goes out of style. Something always manages to come around and pull me back to the roots, despite what modern masterpieces have grip of my ears (sorry, Vektor & Gorguts). This time, it’s Vancouver power trio Spell with their sophomore release, For None and All.
For None and All has been available digitally for a couple weeks already (currently they’re streaming the whole thing!), and after a few listens, this is something that will be best experienced on wax (or CD, both due out this Friday, May 27). A throwback in virtually every way, Spell combine a wide range of early metal sounds into a complete package. Channeling early Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Blue Öyster Cult, and Rush, this vintage prog metal – sans cheese – is best consumed as a whole album.
That being said, instrumental wizardry is elemental to the band’s sound, mystifying in that they understand that they can show it without beating listeners over the head with hundreds of solos or ridiculous song structures – it shows a level of maturity beyond their years. This has an old-school mentality in every sense (even recorded entirely to analogue tape), but lacks the corny shtick that others pick up, intentionally or not. Additionally, the Adam Burke cover art perfectly captures Spell’s sinister and otherworldly atmosphere, demanding to be experienced on an LP sleeve and not as a tiny digital square.