Published on December 19th, 2018 | by Justin G.
Dire Peril: The Extraterrestrial Compendium (Divebomb)
After six years and a series of EPs, we finally get a proper full-length album from American power metal band Dire Peril. This time around, founding guitarist/bassist/songwriter/producer Jason Ashcraft (also with Helion Prime) is joined by vocalist Jon Yelland (of Judicator), a pairing that makes this album, titled The Extraterrestrial Compendium, a very exciting prospect. Helion Prime and Judicator have already released two of the best US power metal albums this year, and Dire Peril brings those worlds together like a US power metal version of Demons & Wizards.
The Extraterrestrial Compendium is not quite a concept album, but it does have a very cool concept, with each of the songs being based on a classic sci-fi movie (hence “Enemy Mine” and “Total Recall.” It’s a cool idea because it provides both interesting source material as well as consistent themes and tones to the album. Ashcraft’s riffs are just massive here, and his melodies are well crafted without being too saccharine. Part of that is just the different approach to power metal in America compared to the European style. This is more muscular and leans more towards traditional heavy metal. On the vocal side, Yelland proves to be a great fit for Dire Peril. His vocals are the very definition of “epic,” so he elevates these songs and gives them the grandeur the subjects deserve.
Oh right, Arjen is here too. Yes, that Arjen. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen lends his voice (and guitars) to the 9-minute closing epic “Journey Beyond the Stars.” And Unleash the Archers vocalist Brittney Slayes guests on “Queen of the Galaxy,” which is a lot of fun. Other highlights on this album are “Enemy Mine,” “Blood On the Ice” and “Altair IV the Forbidden Planet.”
The Extraterrestrial Compendium is a perfect example of everything that’s great about the current US power metal scene, and is one of the best power metal albums (on either side of the Atlantic) that 2018 has to offer. It goes without saying that this is a must-have for fans of Judicator and Helion Prime. Fans of hard-hitting power metal and heavy metal in general, especially bands like Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Iron Savior, Ironflame and Demons & Wizards will definitely want to discover Dire Peril.
Summary: Essential USPM release