5 years passed since the day Dexter Ward unleashed its excellent debut album “Neon Lights” which left both fans and critics under the best impressions. In the meantime the guys released a single and a split album but in all reality what we have all been waiting for was the sophomore effort. I remember vividly the day when the band’s guitarist, Manolis Karazeris, sent me a while ago one of the new songs called “Stone Age Warrior” and I was absolutely blown away! It seemed that the 5-year hiatus was about to end in a grandiose way and if this song was an indicating factor we would be in for a big and pleasant surprise!
The title track that opens the album paves the way for what we are about to receive; and that’s nothing less than a heavy dose of US Metal wonderfully mixed with the European Maiden-esque tradition. Its chorus haunts you for days and the follow-up tracks are of the same caliber and level. The main difference is a more epic approach to the songs (especially on the aforementioned “Stone Age Warrior”, “Fighting For The Cross” and “Ballad of the Green Berets”) as the influence of early Manowar and Manilla Road comes forth. The second striking differential point is the fact that Thimios Krikos has done a great job as a producer while we must point down that from a compositional standpoint the level is higher and more qualitative compared to “Neon Lights”. In addition, all the guys in the band have worked evidently really hard in the studio and especially the melodic yet heavy guitars create such a unique sonic atmosphere that reminds of Riot (just take a listen to “We Are Dexter Ward”) with Marco doing a brilliant job behind the mic!
We can easily go on and on about the album but the truth is that “Rendezvous With Destiny” is a superb musical endeavor by Dexter Ward. This is a record that we will listen tirelessly in the years to come but most importantly it will make us proud as this band has managed to come up with a real classic, 80s influenced album! “Rendezvous With Destiny” is definitely among the best albums of 2016.
Highlight: Be on the lookout for a strictly limited box set edition of the album that includes many extra stuff for all the collectors out there.