ALBUM REVIEW: Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins  – Whore of Babylon

Looking past the rather gaudy artwork, the third album from Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins sees the group continuing to thrive on an over the top presentation. As with previous albums, Lepond’s bass playing leads the charge with intense flurries accompanied by surging power metal rhythms and Alan Tecchio’s flamboyant wails detailing history and legend. However, Whore of Babylon sets itself as the group’s most eclectic effort so far.

Songs like ‘Ides of March’ and ‘Ironborn’ provide the Silent Assassins’ expected classic metal fare, but there are just as many tracks that deviate from this approach. The band’s folk side is highlighted quite nicely as ‘Night of the Long Knives’ is a jaunty slice of minstrel balladry while the closing ‘Avalon’ packs in a series of jovial melodies as fitting the medieval theme. The title track also stands out for its Arabic motifs and ‘Power of Steel’ goes for anthemic hard rock without losing its metallic edge. I especially love how the intro buildup is eerily similar to that of AC/DC’s ‘Hard as a Rock.’

But the album’s most dramatic outlier comes halfway through with ‘Champion,’ an earnest power ballad that features MindMaze’s Sarah Teets on lead vocals in Tecchio’s place. With the tempo screeching to a halt and the production having a noticeable crackling effect, the track does feel rather out of place. Once you get to the adjustment, the instrumentation and Teets’ vocals are quite pleasant. The collaboration also makes sense when you consider that Lepond had previously provided the bass playing for MindMaze’s Back from the Edge in 2014.

While the Silent Assassins’ third album is more varied than their past efforts, it never loses sight of their proud bombast. Whore of Babylon isn’t a subtle effort by any stretch of the imagination, featuring enthusiastic performances and electrifying theatrics regardless of the mood at hand. It’s a reflection of everything that has made them such an enjoyable act to follow, even if I’d consider 2018’s Pawn and Prophecy as a better starting point for an unfamiliar listener.

7 / 0 

CHRIS LATTA