This is probably the easiest review I’ve written for Vox&Hops because this album is an instant classic. All that’s old is new again, and Austrian metallions Venator have just dropped a brilliant album straight out of the mid-80s. One of my favourite things about metal is that all across the globe you have young bands putting out material from every conceivable genre, even genres that you could easily have thought had been dead for 30 years. Echoes from the Gutter is a celebration of the glory days of classic heavy metal. Also, this is their debut album, and I cannot stress how incredible it is that a young band like Venator have put out such a mature, lean album. No weak tracks, no missteps, it’s a remarkable achievement. The album is beautifully produced, with a driving, bass-heavy sound characteristic of NWOBHM bands like the legendary Iron Maiden. The vocals are fantastic, and hit that sweet spot where even though the vocals are ‘clean’, classic heavy metal vocals, they have this edge to them, where a soaring vocal can suddenly turn into an ear-splitting scream, in what I like to call the Rob Halford School of Rock. The screams at the end of Manic Man are just *insert gif here of chef kissing his fingers*. The drumming and guitar work is excellent, with some really nice dual guitar interplay and absolutely scorching solos. The solo on Seventh Seal can and will melt your face off. I simply can’t say enough good things about this album. Wall-to-wall bangers, and no ballads! Stand-out tracks include Manic Man, Seventh Seal, The Hex, and Nightrider. Hell, Nightrider is straight-up one of the best heavy metal tracks I’ve heard in years. Infectious, earworm tracks that are guaranteed to get you banging your head. Buy it and rock the fuck out!