Spartan is a young, up-and-coming heavy metal quartet hailing from Portsmouth, England. Their debut EP “A New Age” is a testament to the enduring nature of metal, and much like rock, the enthusiasm it’s enjoyed from its devotees. The band started their metal training early, as the average age amongst them is 15. I, for one, would much rather live in a world where young people were playing and listening to music with some edge and mystery as opposed to the shallow, attention-seeking Idol contestant approach we’re all familiar with. So, most of us should agree that Spartan deserves extra points for making this EP happen so early in their lives. They have plenty of time now to plan a world takeover.
The band has apparently been compared to both Iron Maiden and the Foo Fighters, but to my ears it’s a very heavy Iron Maiden influence, and while this could be seen as a strike against the band’s originality, this is still a young band developing their sound. This is not a young Dillinger Escape Plan or Meshuggah carving their own niche in the metal world yet, but they certainly do rock.
“Beelzebub” is a hard hitting metal anthem inspired by the topic much of heavy music has been fixated on since its origins – the Devil. Ol’ Lucifer would probably be pleased with how cutting and technically adept the riffage is here, complimenting a tightly wound rhythm section. The vocals sound very much like Bruce Dickinson-era Maiden, but they are very strong. Skip to 3:28 when “You’re gonna burn!” gets belted out, followed by a wail that almost anyone would be impressed by, and you’ll see that every band member is on point.
“In The Future” keeps the metal n’ roll going with another fast-paced, destructive groove that Motorhead would approve of. The vocals have loosened up a bit here, and there’s even some Axl Rose influence/swagger. This really feels like a classic metal song, and the production helps this perception. The production is good, but it sounds the way it should – like a strong debut album from a gritty, underground band.
“Mountain of Rock n’ Roll” brings the good times and rock n’ roll to the party, and you can tell the guys are paying tribute to music they’ve loved their whole lives. Now this is refreshing to see. Many metal bands get so absorbed in the METAL of it all that they forget about the power of rock n’ roll. Not Spartan, and that both elevates their band and gives them more versatility. They know that the reason Led Zeppelin was so great wasn’t just the heaviness, but also the swagger. If you can wield both, that’s power.
“When We Were Young” is surprisingly the most charismatic track on the release.
“Tell you want we want. We want ROCK…until our dying day…we want ROCK!”
I really can’t argue with that at all, folks. In fact, I have to say; Spartan really display a strong passion for both heavy metal and rock music and it’s infectious. I could picture a crowd singing the lyrics to this track in a gang vocal along with the band.
As a debut EP, “A New Age” is very strong, and it’s clear from a first listen that Spartan’s live performances will be propelling them through Europe very soon as they become more in demand. Recommended for fans of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath.