Toronto’s Cauldron have been plying their heavy metal trade since the mid point of the last decade and, for those of you who are wont of a pigeon hole, crop up under the banner of trad-metal or retro metal. The rest of us know this simply as “heavy metal”. Those of you with a keen eye and ear on the heavy metal underground will probably know that Cauldron mainman Jason Decay used to ply a rather favourable trade in Goat Horn back in the day. Anyway, we aren’t back in the day, we are in the now and Cauldron’s latest bucket of fresh meat, the enigmatically titled Tomorrow’s Lost, arrives for our delectation.
This is the third record for the Canadians who, along with label mates Rival Sons have been attempting to breathe fresh life into 1980s inspired heavy metal. Given that this is the stuff that many of us cut our teeth on, you are probably going to immediately warm to Cauldron; regrettably, they don’t quite have the imagination, tunes or visceral excitement pull off the vintage performance that we were perhaps hoping for.
On the plus side, there are a number of things that I like about Tomorrow’s Lost: it has no airs or graces, sounds like a live band playing instruments properly and passionately and has a set of tunes that, by and large, have the toe tapping and the head banging. Decay has a decent ear for a tune and whilst he is not going to win any prizes in the originality camp, he clearly has a love of metal that shines across this record. Nitebreaker and End of Time are pretty decent tunes that I would be happy to hear in a grotty live venue or festival field.
However, what worries me about the record is that, whilst there is nothing wrong with something that takes its influence from Anvil or Judas Priest, I get a wider sense that rather than being an inspiration, the record feels somewhat straightjacketed by the band’s refusal to do anything other than a meat and potatoes straight metal song. Matters aren’t helped either by a lacklustre production that I suspect is supposed to give a vintage feel to matters but ends up burying the band in a fug of bland. I want to like this more than I do and I’m left with an overwhelming sense of disappointment of an opportunity missed rather than a moment seized, which is a bloody shame, if you ask me.