PICK OF THE WEEK: Fins Chevalier inject warrior spirit into speed metal on bloody ‘Destiny Calls’

People fall in love with and follow heavy metal for many different reasons. For me, it was an escape into a different world, a way to retreat from the things that bothered me and find a way to gain some sort of power, no matter if that was just in my head. As a result, bands that make me feel that way again often are the ones to which I gravitate because my reason for loving this genre never went away.

That takes us right to Finnish power/speed metal warriors Chevalier, whose debut full-length “Destiny Calls” delivers all the ammunition one needs to feel alive inside the realms of metal. Having dealt two EPs and a split effort ever since their formation in 2016, the band is mining the fields planted before by very early Helloween, Warlock, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and bands of that ilk, but in their own way. They don’t regurgitate what those bands did at all; instead, they display their inspiration with a raw power that feels like they recorded these tracks in a cold basement surrounded by meat hooks. The band—vocalist Emma Grönqvist, the guitarists Tommi and Mikko, bassist Sebastian Bergman, drummer Joel—keep things fired up and bloody the entire time, making it feel like they’re sound-tracking a group of warriors honing their skills and getting ready to head into life-or-death battle. This record and band let the blood charge, and there’s not a moment here where they don’t go for the throat, with total dominance in mind.

The record starts with “Introduction,” a strange little thing built with synth and guitars poking their way in, all making for the grand opening for “The Immurement” that has a huge start. It’s chaotic and drenched in echo, with Grönqvist belting out her commands in a way that’ll never make you think of turning your head away. This track feels like pre-Kiske Helloween in spots as it’s raw, punchy, and delivers soloing that’ll burn your goddamn face off. “The Curse of the Dead Star” has guitars calling out, a strange voice speaking over top (that element returns again and again like a narrator from a long-lost epic) and then things rip to life. The song gallops as Grönqvist’s vocals tear through flesh, the soloing blinds eyes, and the track totally stampedes through everything in its wake. Crazed banshee wails cut through veins, with the song bashing skulls to its end. “Road of Light” begins with dialog before the track hits on a vintage Maiden path, with Grönqvist wailing, “We shall never yield!” The track takes you into the heart of battle as guitars make their rounds, the pace plays games, and the back-end blazes with intensity that demands everything of you. “As the Clouds Gather” is a quick interlude piece that combines dark guitars and heavy rains, leading into what comes next.

That would be “Stormbringer” that delivers thunderclaps, a driving bass, and a push into confrontation. “Hear the thunder roar!” Grönqvist cries as guitars take their lead, the killer chorus rounds back, and savage screams ring out into the night. “In the Grip of the Night” follows, as the drums launch an assault that leaves you reeling, and the band wastes no time getting you actively involved. “The spell was cast upon me, there’s nowhere out of this nightmare,” Grönqvist calls, as speed begins to reign, the bass clobbers, and then we’re into calm. Murk rises and develops a fog that’s later ambushed by a punishing assault, keys smearing over top, and everything making one last stand to crush foes. “Prelude to the End” is a quick instrumental with guitars steadying the pace, leading into “A Warrior’s Lament,” a chugging, heavy cut that tells the story of battle and fate. Grönqvist sings of “my quest for glory or death” as the song punishes, torches are lit, and blood is spattered. The track sinks into a dream sequence, with the deep, warped narrator voice returning, before a ferocious guitar assault is unleashed. “Unraveled are the secrets of time,” Grönqvist cries, as the band gets ready for one final blast that knocks down the castle walls. A brief “Outro” allows time for everything to sink in, as guitars stagger and melt away.

Chevalier’s speed and power metal assault reminds of a simpler time, when we just called this “metal” and didn’t assign genre tags. “Destiny Calls” feels like one of those albums that would have tracks being featured late into Headbanger’s Ball’s run time, when they’d take more chances and play bands that were making serious waves in the underground. This band is dangerous and fun at the same time, and this is music that feels like you’re wielding the sword, waiting to make contact with any prone section that your adversary foolishly leaves prone.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Chevaliermetal/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/