Shadow Kingdom unearths another obscure relic from forgotten soil in the form of Coven — not to be confused with Jinx Dawson’s occultist mob or the British Prog outfit. Originally self-released on wax in 1987, Worship New Gods has never seen an official CD version until now. This is definitely a bargain-bin slab of unpolished NWOBHM, but there’s just something about it that wouldn’t allow me to simply write it off as left-alone-for-a-reason and be done with it. There was a time when that would’ve easy. Back in the Portrait of Defiance days [Jack published PoD from 1995 - 2002, which you should already know unless you only first penetrated the Underground yesterday. -Editor], my review for this would most likely have read: “Old Metal of homosexuals deep throats leper cum gun. Singer chugs ass milk from pre-op tranny taint. Album bathes in ballsack sweat of 10,000 faggots.” I’m either getting old or becoming more open-minded, because by the third time I tried to dismiss this as tired retro slop, I realized I was singing along! It’s impossible to resist the Sabbath/Candlemass-inspired pomp of “Riddle of Steel,” even with its cheesy lyrics culled straight from the Manowar playbook. This singer is so bad he’s good! Imagine a young, pre-Mercyful Fate King Diamond fronting a Manilla Road cover band. It’s corny, but it’s likable. Whether intentional or not, Worship New Gods possesses a comedic element that renders this listener unable to discard it. For a good laugh, play this album for some friends and hold up a ruler every time the gang-shouted chorus of “Ruler” comes around. HA! Elsewhere, Camelot-themed ballad “Wicked Day” subtly borrows the beginning of Def Leppard’s “Foolin’” before dropping the Rocka Rolla off at the BOC chorus. Merlin sleeps forever, bitches. Admittedly, there’s far more filler than killer here. Some of that boils down to cringe-inducing production (try benchpressing the flange on “General’s Eyes”), or just plain clunky songwriting (“Kiss Me with Blood,” “Jail House,” and “Loki” are all duds). However, this charming antique will still serve as a highly enjoyable novelty listen for my biannual good mood.
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