My problem with Cauldron isn’t their Trad Metal-for-the-sake-of-Trad Metal existence. It isn’t their paper thin distortion or endless array of regurgitated Dokken and Angel Witch riffs. It isn’t their wholehearted embrace of every cheesy cliche the Hair Metal and Hard Rock movements ever dished out. It isn’t because they’re goofballs, genuinely or not. It also has nothing to do with them being from Canada, buddy. It isn’t even that their singer sounds like a young Weird Al Yankovic. What really rubs me the wrong way about Cauldron is that they’re only able to write one truly great song per album. Just as I was suckered into their debut LP (Chained to the Nite) by the catchier-than-syphilis single “Chained Up in Chains” —I told you they were fucking cheesy— only to find more filler than off-brand hot dogs, this album only has one real gem (“Nitebreaker”) to offer as well. It’s not as though the rest of the record isn’t catchy —catchy is about the only trick this dog knows— but it’s usually in-one-ear-and-out-the-other catchy. You see, these dudes are able to command multiple levels of catchiness, but seem to ration it in such a manner that only one song achieves Type A “Pour Some Sugar on Me” catchybetes. One can’t help but wonder, given their obsession with the old days, if this is intentional or not. I’d bet my bottom dollar these fellas have record collections fully loaded with shitty ’80s records that only have one good song. Maybe they simply can’t break character? Seriously though, just listen to the fucker. Feel your mind involuntarily wander through the ho-hum opening tandem of “End of Time” and “Born to Struggle,” only to wake up to “Nitebreaker“‘s infectious, big-league chorus and then drift off again for the remainder of the album. Songs like “Burning Fortune” and “Relentless Temptress” aren’t bad, but therein lies the problem. We get one “totally awesome” and a mega-fuckton of “not bad.” Actually… I take it back, there are two things I don’t like about Cauldron. Just the fact that I would even give this lightweight drivel a chance means I’m getting old. Young, extreme music-obsessed Jack would’ve literally taken a shit on this disc and lit it on fire before breaking out the sledgehammer. I’ve become desperate and easy in my lonely old age. Oh well, expect Cauldron’s greatest hits package in 2026 to be fucking amazing.
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