While Silver Talon is basically just the guys from Portland’s Spellcaster with a different singer (long story), their debut EP Becoming a Demon is an altogether different beast. The tone is darker in comparison, as vocalist Wyatt Howell has a theatrical snarl more in line with Helstar’s James Rivera, while the guitars boast meatier chugs and Dragonforce-style lead runs. There’s also a slight goth metal undercurrent thanks to the extensive keyboard work.
But while Becoming a Demon avoids any stylistic clashes, the songwriting is rather interchangeable. Just about every song is executed with blazing speeds and wonky structures, but with very little to properly set them apart. “Cold Embrace” stands out for its slower beginning and “Warrior’s End” benefits from a more straightforward structure, but the riffs and vocal lines aren’t particularly memorable.
I also have a bone to pick with the cover of Sanctuary’s “Battle Angels.” I imagine the band didn’t make such a decision lightly, especially with guitar legend Jeff Loomis making a guest appearance, but the performance feels rather stiff. The vocals feel especially forced, and the chorus just isn’t as effective without the falsettos on full display. It’s not a terrible version but I find myself imagining how much cooler it’d sound with Joseph Michael at the helm.
Overall, Silver Talon’s debut EP is a rough first impression but one that also shows potential. The goth-tinged power metal gives it more character than Spellcaster’s comparably vanilla style and the musicianship shows clear talent, but it’d benefit from more memorable songwriting. I imagine the band will be more multi-faceted on a full-length, but this may be worth checking out for those who like their melodic metal dark and technical.