CD Reviews

Elixir - 'The Son Of Odin' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 07, 2011    
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A celebration of a monumental album.

Although Elixir came a little late to the NWOBHM party, their debut album, 1986's 'The Son Of Odin' has taken on legendary status over the years, with 'Terrorizer' including it in their 'Top 20 Power Metal Albums Of All Time' and staff at 'Sweden Rock' putting it under the microscope as their 'Classic Album Of The Month' a year or so ago. The band themselves have taken to playing it in its entirety of late, and now, to celebrate its twenty-fifth birthday, Messrs Taylor, Denton, Gordon, Dobbs and Dobbs have loving put together the ultimate version of the album, lovingly repackaged, with a feast of bonus cuts and a sound to die for.

'The Son Of Odin' will always be prime-time NWOBHM, wearing its classic metal influences overtly on its sleeve and sounding all the better for it. 25 years after it was released it still stands as loud and proud as it did back in the day, gloriously defiant as traditional metal was being ambushed by thrash on one side and radio-friendly AOR on the other. Guitarist Phil Denton once noted that "listening back to the CD now, I think we played the songs a little fast, but we were young then and full of energy and enthusiasm" and indeed it's the enthusiasm that gives this album the edge over so many others of the time. It was, is and always will be a truly great album.

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The big draw here though is the bonus material. 'Chariot Of The Gods' is an outtake from the album sessions, a two-and-a-half minute instrumental workout which perfectly captures the neck-breaking, finger-twisting zeitgeist. As the band had a bit of spare time on the final day in the studio they quickly recorded the song in one take, added the solo, mixed it and held it for a possible future B-side. Next up comes 'Winds Of Time', the wonderfully melodic flipside of the band's debut single 'Treachery (Ride Like The Wind)', recorded in good old Walthamstow in 1985. Finally, things are rounded off with the band's February 1986 'Friday Rock Show' session; as was often the case, the state of the art facilities at the BBC together with the no-nonsense approach to getting four tracks down in a day and the skills of producer Tony Wilson brought the best out of both the band and their material and the re-recordings of album cuts 'The Star Of Beshaan', 'Pandora's Box', Hold High The Flame' and 'Son Of Odin' positively roar. 

Niggles? Well, being a completist to the nth degree it would have been nice to have had the original version of 'Treachery (Ride Like The Wind') sitting alongside its B-side to bring everything together. But to be honest it's hard to be a moaning Minnie when confronted with such a fantastic package as this: from its original rip-off cover (as in ripped off the Chancellor Of The Exchequer's calendar when vocalist Paul Taylor worked in Nigel Lawson's office), to the beautiful new artwork, the contemporary cuttings, lyrics and bonus tracks, this is a celebration of a monumental album, and you can't help but admire the band for what they've achieved.

John Tucker

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