PICTURE – Warhorse

PICTURE is a Dutch Heavy Metal band, formed in 1979. The band put out a total of seven studio albums, from “Picture” in 1981 to “Marathon” in 1987. Of course there’s a list of other releases like a demo, an EP, lots of singles and a compilation. See Metal-Archives.com for more info. After 1987 PICTURE got out of the… picture. It is said this band is well-known around the world and even HAMMERFALL covered one of their songs (“Eternal Dark”). PICTURE came into the picture again with the reunion in 2008. The following year a new album was put out: “Old Dogs New Tricks”. Earlier this year, on the 22nd February 2012, album no. nine came out via Artist Station. Titled “Warhorse” it contains 13 tracks of pure and traditional Heavy Metal. Among those 13 tracks is a re-recording of the aforementioned hit “Eternal Dark”.

I had never heard of PICTURE until I was sent a copy of this newest release. You do get a lot of Heavy Metal for your money with 13 tracks. For some it’s overkill and a high risk for more fillers than killers, for others an album can’t have enough songs. “Warhorse” begins with the “Battle Plan”. Of course you get sounds of horses, a battlefield, warriors/knights, and after that it’s Metal time! And firm too. See it as a mix of JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, REBELLION, GRAVE DIGGER, MANOWAR (and similar) with clean, rough-edged vocals, which are not only typical for this style, but fit in very well. The chorus is very much comparable to MANOWAR, as it sounds rather epic, as one might say. The bridge is more of an angry one, followed by the obligatory guitar solo. All in all, a decent song to start with.

“Shadow Of The Damned” is next. This offering of straight-forward Heavy Metal has nice verses, quite melodic even, but the drums remain pretty constant with the beat. However, the song does rock in the chorus, which has a dark feel. Logic if you look at the title. The solo is again well done. All in all, it’s a simple and catchy song. It does the job. “Rejected” has the guitars growling a bit more, which is good. The beat is the same as in the previous song. It’s another typical straight-forward, catchy Heavy Metal track. Good for gigs, though. “Edge Of Hell” has the toms in the intro, a matter of building the track. When it kicks off, you get a midtempo and yes, catchy song. It rocks, it delivers the goods. And yes, the solos are nothing to worry about.

This brings us to a less strong song, in my humble opinion: “The King Is Losing His Crown”. The guitars set this one in, followed by the rest of the band, at midtempo, but rather slow. The focus lies on the guitars, the overall feel is spooky (so to speak), which is also due to the backing vocals. I’ve got no real complaints, save that this song is perhaps a little too long. “Think I Lost My Way” is a power ballad with clean verses and power (if you can use that word here) in the chorus. The solo is inline with the overall feel, so all’s well there. Still, it’s not the best power ballad out there.

The intro of “Killer In My Sights” sounds like Doom Metal, comparable to AHAB, THE FUNERAL ORCHESTRA, and so on. But the Heavy Metal melodies aren’t far off. The tempo is quite firm again and the drums this time offer nice fills during the solo moments, stuff that goes well with the rhythm gutiar for darkness and feel. “My Kinda Woman” takes a Bluesy drumstart, followed by rocking guitars and the typical, predictable rhythm. The vocals are heavy, almost a must for a love song in this genre. The guitar dominate, the drums remain constant. There’s a very small change in the chorus, but overall it’s very linear, even during the solo.

“The Price I Pay” is a straight-forward Rocker and a simple one. There’s more melodicness in the chorus, almost like JOURNEY. At least, that’s the first name that came to my mind. Things speed up with “War Horse”, a double-bass song in vein of MANOWAR, HAMMERFALL and similar. The chorus is a bit slower, though. Another Bluesy influence can be detected in “We’re Not Alone”, which is nice to listen to. Nothing special, however. It did remind me, in a way, of DIO. “Stand My Ground” is a fast Hard Rocker, similar to SAXON’s faster tracks, with a touch of NWOBHM. Good stuff! The album ends with a re-recording of an oldie, “Eternal Dark MMXI”. This one’s dark, it rocks, but it’s also quite simple. The chorus offers melodicness to counter the rhythm stuff of the verses. All in all, quite alright.

Although PICTURE has been around for ages, despite the split in the late 1980s, “Warhorse” is my first encounter with these Dutch Heavy Metal veterans. I thus can’t compare with older releases. I can’t say this new release delighted or surprised me, but it didn’t disappoint me either. This is, all things considered, a fairly decent album. Probably not their best, but that’s up to the fans to decide. The main issue here, for me, is that it’s Heavy Metal by the book (in se nothing wrong with that), but the same recipe was applied a bit too much. However, I will add that these kinds of songs are good for live performances, for gigs, which is perhaps where they will sound best, feel best.

 

Tracklist:

  1. Battle Plan
  2. Shadow Of The Damned
  3. Rejected
  4. Edge Of Hell
  5. The King Is Losing His Crown
  6. Think I Lost My Way
  7. Killer In My Sights
  8. My Kinda Woman
  9. The Price I Pay
  10. War Horse
  11. We’re Not Alone
  12. Stand My Ground
  13. Eternal Dark MMXI

 

Line-up:
Pete Lovell – vocals
Peter Bourbon – guitar
Mike Ferguson – guitar
Rinus Vreugdenhill – bass
Laurens Bakker – drums