Published on March 27th, 2021 | by Justin G.
Rocka Rollas: Metal Strikes Back – Definitive Edition (Stormspell, 2020)
Rocka Rollas mastermind Ced decided to revisit the already kickass 2013 album Metal Strikes Back last year, rerecording and rearranging everything but the vocals for the Metal Strikes Back: Definitive Edition. This wasn’t an album that had a lot of flaws, but it’s always interesting to hear how musicians want to improve their past works.
If you’re not already familiar with Rocka Rollas, they hit right in that classic Priest (obviously), Manowar, Accept and Grim Reaper style of classic heavy metal. They’re all about the lighting fast riffs, metal thrashing mad rhythms, killer guitar solos and gloriously cheesy lyrics about metal, metal and more metal. The best examples of the Rocka Rollas sound on Metal Strikes Back are “Night of the Living Steel,” “Heavy Metal Strikes Back” and “Weaponizer,” plus of course the 8-minute closer “Swords Raised in Victory,” which has some really fantastic melodies and rousing choruses to go with the mighty metal warrior themes.
They’re not reinventing the wheel here, but that’s not really the point of a band like Rocka Rollas. This is a band anyone into the New Wave of Traditional Metal bands, especially Widow, Skull Fist, Enforcer and Ambush, ought to love, and fans of the classic ‘80s metal sound (think Priest, Dio and Riot) that are tired of all the endless sub-genres should find this simple, straightforward metal band a lot of fun.
Did they make this already strong album better with this Definitive Edition? I tend to think so. The original energy is there, but it does seem more vital and on a stronger sonic footing. Redoing the 2012 Conquer EP as bonus tracks was another nice touch. It’s not really a reissue, so you’ll want to hang on to your original Metal Strikes Back disc, but it’s a solid addition to the Rocka Rollas discography and makes a great introduction to the band for newcomers.
Summary: A solid upgrade of an already kickass traditional metal album