In 2016, Canada’s Manacle self-released a preview of their first full-length, appropriately titled Preview. Now, two years later, they’re finally dropping that full-length on Hard And Heavy Records, and it turns out that Preview was maybe just a little more than a preview, since a full 60% of this album appears there in the same form. Nevertheless, here or there (and everywhere), what Manacle offers is a strong, if a bit raw, take on classic 80s speedy traditional metal — think Helloween, Running Wild, maybe some Agent Steel, crossed with a dash of the majesty of early Queensrÿche.
It’s a testament to Manacle’s growth that those two songs are both the two newest tracks on No Fear To Persevere — the two that weren’t on Preview — and also its strongest, its catchiest and best constructed. (“Journey’s End” even gets away with a bass solo.) “Witches Hollow” is another contender, although by the time it rolls around, its main riff feels a bit “been there, done that” from the four songs previous, and therein lies the only real criticism of No Fear To Persevere: It all tends to blur together, when it should have stronger, more inescapably hooky distinct choruses and melodies and riffs.
No Fear To Persevere isn’t flawless, but it remains a damned fine start for a young band. Plagued by line-up changes since Preview, Manacle has nevertheless managed to release a solid enough slab of speedy trad metal, so here’s hoping they can sustain the momentum, hone in, and keep moving forward.