Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review: October 31 - Meet Thy Maker (Reissue)

In January 2014 Hell's Headbangers Records reissued the two initial full-length releases from Virginia based heavy metal act October 31. Both albums were given a league of bonus content for purchase incentive as well as reviving long lost material from the band. While The Fire Awaits You (reviewed here) saw the first demo of October 31, Voyage to Infinity, as well as a couple of bonus tracks added to its arsenal, Meet Thy Maker has been slathered with four never before released tracks and the long out of print Visions of the End EP. It's now fifteen years later, are you ready to Meet Thy Maker?

Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: January 21st, 2014
  1. Meet Thy Maker
  2. Just an Illusion
  3. For There Is War!
  4. Far from Danger Now
  5. Power and the Glory (Saxon Cover)
  6. The Verdict
  7. Behind the Castle Walls
Bonus: Visions of the End EP
  1. Visions of the End
  2. The Chosen One
  3. Servants and Slaves
  4. Give 'Em the Axe (Lizzy Borden Cover)
  5. The Legend of the Haunted Sea
Bonus Tracks: Previously Unreleased

1. The Chosen One (1997 Demo)
2. Meet Thy Maker (1997 Demo with Chuck Parsons on Vocals)
3. The Chosen One (Live in 2000 with Shawn Pelata on Vocals)
4. When Darkness Covers the Sun (Recorded During Meet Thy Maker Sessions)

Total Playtime: 1 hour, 21 minutes, 57 seconds

Official Website                       




Rating: 9.0/10






In January 2014 Hell's Headbangers Records reissued the two initial full-length releases from Virginia based heavy metal act October 31. Both albums were given a league of bonus content for purchase incentive as well as reviving long lost material from the band. While The Fire Awaits You (reviewed here) saw the first demo of October 31, Voyage to Infinity, as well as a couple of bonus tracks added to its arsenal, Meet Thy Maker has been slathered with four never before released tracks and the long out of print Visions of the End EP. It's now fifteen years later, are you ready to Meet Thy Maker?

While The Fire Awaits You blurred the line between heavy metal and doom metal as it incorporated obscure, witchy lyrics and sluggish instrument work, Meet Thy Maker is an album filled with more traditional heavy metal/power metal substances while still keeping all of the same signatures musically that make October 31 who they are. That being said, if you've read my review of The Fire Awaits You there's not going to be a lot of new entries in this review. Foley is still a monster on the drums, his vocals still kick major ass and the guitars still create fun solos and unforgettable riffs in the same unique tone and style that they claimed previously. However, Meet Thy Maker is more uptempo than its predecessor as total medieval war is waged within the tracks.

The content on this release comes off with a mystical aura that spellbinds the listener during classic songs such as "Meet Thy Maker", "Just an Illusion", "For There Is War!" and "Behind the Castle Walls". Each of these tracks have their own memorable qualities to them, whether it be catchy riffs, spine chilling choruses or supernatural guitar solos. Another notable track is the epic "Far from Danger Now", which is much akin to "Prelude/Lost City" from The Fire Awaits You in that it's one of the slower songs found on Meet Thy Maker and the solos are absolutely tantalizing. Each track is laden with lyrics that journey from modern time war tales to medieval battles to fantasy and the realms that touch death.

The production quality of both the main album and bonus material has again gone unscathed, being emerged back into the world just as they were when they were originally released. Being released so close to October 31's debut full-length album, Meet Thy Maker does come with the same downfalls as its sibling although they are just as minimal; the drums are quite far back into the recording and the listener tends to focus on the vocals and guitars much more than any other element. A new line-up addition is present in this material as Kevin Lewis joined the ranks of October 31 on rhythm guitar and allowed Jim Hunter to take full responsibility of the lead guitar work. This allows more attention to detail in the solos that are presented on the material, such as what is heard in "Meet Thy Maker" and "Far from Danger Now".

Everyone is going to have their favorite of the two as both Meet Thy Maker and The Fire Awaits You are both outstanding releases that deserve more attention. While the former focuses more on speedy tempos, fast solos and fantasy themes the latter is encased in chunky riffs, horror tales and moderate to sluggish tempos at times. I personally enjoy The Fire Awaits You more, however after reviewing both albums I can say that Meet Thy Maker is not far off the grid for me. They both have the signature sound of October 31, however Meet Thy Maker showcases the ability that the band possesses to keep the same sound yet make an album that's entirely different from their preceding material and that is an extremely endearing quality. The bonus material is worth every penny of the asking price from HHR as well, Visions of the End is an awesome, power filled EP that's more worthwhile than the Voyage to Infinity demo that came with The Fire Awaits You. The bonus songs are more fulfilling as well, although the live track isn't anything special other than featuring another vocalist. It would've been great if "When Darkness Covers the Sun" had appeared on the original track listing of Meet Thy Maker, however it's more fitted for the former album, as it's an incredible, memorable track in and of itself. If you only have money for one, definitely pick up Meet Thy Maker, not only for the main album but the bonus content as well, but if you have money for them both don't let these reissues slip you by!

Digital Download Provided by: Hell's Headbangers Records

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