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The Son of Odin

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Album Review

With its equal-opportunity blend of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's youthful spunk and the older guard's trad-metal values, Elixir's self-financed debut album, The Son of Odin, contained all of the hallmarks of British heavy metal during the early '80s. The only problem was that it arrived in record stores (and not too many of them, one might add) a little later — in 1986, by which time thrash and speed metal were ruling the roost, and a large portion of this London five-piece's creative devices had been rendered at best quaint, at worst archaic. Indeed, many LP standouts like "The Star of Beshaan," "Pandora's Box," and "Dead Man's Gold" emulate the characteristic galloping riffs, twin-guitar harmonies, anthemic choruses, and fantastical lyrics popularized by Iron Maiden five years earlier (see also the "Losfer Words"-like instrumental "Chariot of the Gods"). Perhaps even more dating was the title track's epic sweep, which, thanks to vocalist Paul Taylor's soaring, sustained notes, recalled Gary Moore's 1983 vintage metal classic "Victims of the Future." Any way you sliced it, Elixir were a band out of time and The Son of Odin a commercial non-entity — dead on arrival, as it were. If there's any small comfort to be had, its that they, like equally talented but belated N.W.O.B.H.M. followers such as Cloven Hoof and Chariot, have since achieved some measure of cult popularity among dedicated '80s heavy metal cognoscenti.

Customer Reviews

Excellent Anachronism!

The review above just about nails it.

Poor old Elixir. I stumbled upon them before SoO came out - I bought Ride Like The Wind, and then the album. In simple terms, if they had made this a few years earlier it would have been far more successful than it was. However, it arrived when Maiden / Priest metal had peaked, and outside a few big acts, traditional metal was getting swamped by either Thrash or the Pop / Glam Rock – and then later grunge. Famously Ronnie James Dio complimented the band in Kerrang, but even this didn't change the fact that this is an album out of time.

The influences are clear – Maiden writ large (twin-guitar gallop), with a bit of Mercyful Fate and Priest. They had an ear for melody (I can still remember the choruses nr 30yrs later!) and for progressive structures, and weren't afraid to stretch out a song if needs be, and show their instrumental dexterity. Taylor, the singer, had a good range and a distinctive style that sat well in this context. And for an independent self-financed release, the production was surprisingly sharp, crisp and clear.

Personally, I loved it then, and listening to it now can still see why. Some of the songs are great. Pandora's Box; Starflight; Treachery; Son Of Odin … they all fly along with energy and verve.

They then put out a demo track (Louise) which was a real step up in quality, and four years later out came Lethal Potion with Clive Burr on drums. After that the band just seemed to fizzle out. Shame.

If you like your metal NWOBHM, and originally so, this is well worth buying.

Biography

Genre: Rock

At the time of their 1986 debut album, The Son of Odin, London's Elixir were given the dubious distinction of being one of the last bands to be broadly associated, tagged if you will, with the already mostly in disuse New Wave of British Heavy Metal categorization. Obviously due in part to the musical characteristics on display, this was also the result of their having been formed as far back as 1983, when the movement was still peaking, and guitarist Phil Denton and the Dobbs brothers, Kevin (bass)...
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The Son of Odin, Elixir
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