Are you a sucker for melodic metal? Or what about supergroups? Whenever a bunch of powerhouse musicians – who haven’t previously released music together – collaborate for a new band effort it sets off all kinds of bells and whistles in the head of a fan – anticipatory excitement and hesitant caution. When one or some of the artists have seemingly been out of the scene for a long time the cautionary factor tends to weigh heavier in the balance. In resolute manner, Reign of Glory definitively tips the scale in favor or excitement!

In fairness, I wouldn’t label Reign of Glory a “supergroup” (we’ve kind of outgrown that term anyway, in my opinion), but rather a bunch of guys who wanted to band together for the purpose of good old- fashioned “love of the music (and the message).” What you can expect here, however, is a quality recording of melodic rockers geared up with plenty of power, passion and listenability.

Robyn Kyle Basauri (probably best known for his impactful performances on the Die Happy II and Red Sea albums) makes his return on vocals after as many years since those were released in the early ‘90’s. Man, was this something a lot of us were looking forward to hearing … and Basauri doesn’t disappoint with his performance!

Reign of Glory, though, has 3 other stellar performers contributing to this 10-song collection of metal bliss. Roger Dale Martin (bass/Vengeance Rising/Die Happy) is familiar with laying down rhythms for Basauri, as is veteran drummer Jim Chaffin (The Crucified/The Blamed/recent-Deliverance). But who is this 4th guy – Nick Layton? Turns out he’s the backbone of this project as Seattle-based guitarist (and instructor/guitarist for Firewolfe/Q5).

In essence, All Will Bow is a collection of songs that will appeal to fans of late ‘80’s/early to mid ‘90’s melodic metal styles. In other words, if you are looking for Red Sea II or Die Happy III, look elsewhere. This is a heavy metal/melodic metal extravaganza, not a blues rock/Led Zep remake (other than perhaps “Samson’s Kryptonite”). This is significant because it changes the dynamic and style of Basauri’s vocals from what we’ve heard in the past – and I mean that not in a negative but in a complementary manner – to what we hear with Reign of Glory.

Collating the blend of style, vocals and musical output upon initial spins took me to a few familiar places. The immediate reaction was Rob Rock based releases like his solo releases and the music of his other Driver projects. But further listens landed me soundly in the Jorn Lande camp.

For those familiar with Lande’s solo releases, Reign of Glory shares much in common with the dynamic singer’s output (both musically and vocally). But when you dig deeper into Basauri’s vocal tonality and inflections on this album you can go back much further in time to the ‘70’s – yes, hints of Paul Stanley and the enigmatic David Coverdale (especially on “Love Came to Die” and “The Edge of Night”) seep into the mixture here!

And, while the guitars, riffs and solos resonate deeply with great melodic rockers like Rob Rock, Jorn Lande, Whitesnake, mid-period Van Halen and Dokken, I hear also Stryper on some of these guitar leads and melodies (“Last Daze” and “Forever and Ever”).

Lyrically, these songs are solid – just a bit cliché at times but in a nostalgic sort of way and this is not a negative. This music was crafted with fans from the ‘70’s, ‘80’s and early ‘90’s in mind, so the balance is great. Overall, the vibe just “listening” to All Will Bow is one of joy and not despair, inspiration and not discouragement.

What are the negatives? I would have liked to hear Chaffin “tear it up” a bit more (in a Tommy Aldridge sort of way!) on the drums, “Call Down the Thunder” probably one his best songs. And Basauri could have let loose a few more higher range wails for the sake of nostalgia – his performance just a bit on the “safe” side. I would expect his style to expand somewhat if Reign of Glory continues to write new music.

From a guitar standpoint, the balance between bass, rhythm, solo and lead work is perfect. This is best exemplified in my opinion on the final two tracks – two of the best songs here – “1000 Years” and “Writing on the Wall.”

Additionally, the songwriting is solid, especially for a first-time union of musicians. Again, I would expect this chemistry to only improve going forward. While the variety track to track might be less diverse than some might expect, this isn’t an issue for me that detracts in any way from the enjoyability factor of the music.

In summary, I would rate this album extremely good to excellent. I can’t imagine any fans of heavy melodic metal and rock not finding some kind of connection with these songs and anticipate this to be one of the strongest releases this year in our scene. (Soon also available on vinyl)

Roxx Records

1. Forever and Ever (3:51)

2. Welcome to Reality (3:52)

3. Rise of Aslan (5:13)

4. Samson’s Kryptonite (4:03)

5. Love Came to Die (4:38)

6. Call Down the Thunder (4:45)

7. Last Daze (5:35)

8. The Edge of Night (4:26)

9. 1000 Years (4:32)

10. Writing on the Wall (5:16)

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