You meet people in the strangest places. in this case it was Wawa. Seeing one guy in there with a metal shirt is not unusual. Seeing a gaggle of them standing around a van with a trailer attached, well, that's a band. I moseyed on over and struck up a conversation. Turns out I had just stumbled on to Gettysburg, PA's Ghost of War. They seemed like nice guys, so I bought a CD.
After a month or so of listening to this off and on, as well as watching videos of them on the Youtubes, I've decided I really dig these guys. Like me, they're all barreling down the course to middle age and have been doing this since they were teenagers. That comes through in the music, which at times sounds a little dated, but not in a bad way. GoW do their best to bridge that 80's style of power/speed metal with a modern flair. Try as anyone may this is difficult to pull off. GoW do it better on some songs than others but it's still there. They manage to craft a metal album that stays true to the roots of heavy metal while bringing the sound forward.
There's also a very distinct rock & roll element in some tracks, like Fire... this reveals the band's sense of humor and joy. While they take their craft seriously, I don't think they take themselves too seriously. I can almost hear some Tenacious D in some of those uptempo rock-infused songs, and even though I might wince at times at some of the lyrics or how a particular passage unfolds, I still find myself tapping my toes and singing along.
Despite the tencency to exploit some of metal's sillier cliches, there are songs that make you want to punch holes in walls, like Heaven's Burning... the chorus brings to memory those days of fist-banging to Anthrax's Armed and Dangerous, as Ronnie Peterson wails over a Skolnick-style riff backed by thundering double-bass. It just works.
I'm not a big fan of the Grand Funk song We're an American Band, truth be told, but GoW does a good enough job on it. The band has several cover clips on Youtube (most impressively, Queen of the Reich), and while this one is definitely a cover that expresses their more party rock side, it's just not enough to make me like the song. Gotta give them kudos for trying, though. I don't even think Wintersun could make me like that song.
Overall, not bad at all for an unexpected find and definitely worth the price of the CD.