The tectonic plates pushed Cyprus up from the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid some incredibly pivotal pieces of land. The island-country has seen kings, conquerors, and empires. So I appreciate that, amid all this history, Whispers of Lore includes "Arrow," a song about a lesser-known figure—the defiant Nikolaos Pappas.
Greece was ruled by a right-wing military dictatorship, the Greek junta, from 1967 to 1974. In 1973, Pappas, a Greek naval commander, publicly defied the junta by refusing to return to Greece with his Fletcher-class destroyer Velos (or Arrow) after a NATO exercise. Lyrics from "Arrow"—"In a sea of corruption, we’re sailing the Arrow / Though the path now seems narrow, we won’t stop the fight / And against the oppressive dictatoring sorrow / For a better tomorrow, we’ll stand for our rights."
Pappas fled in the destroyer to Italy, where he claimed political asylum and denounced the junta at a press conference. After the junta fell in 1974, Pappas was reinstated and resumed his meritorious career.
Whispers of Lore defies cynicism, and Receiver would relegate no act of courage to a footnote.
The album is an enthusiastic foray into the current revival of new wave British heavy metal. The band sounds tight and balances its polish with great energy. Lots of bands now are honoring the epic storytelling sound of Iron Maiden. Besides Maiden, Receiver cites as influences Dio, Riot, Savatage, Omen, and Saracen.
The Cyprus-based band plays proficiently and with sincerity. The songs on Whispers of Lore tell of adventure. But the key to this genre is the vocal—does the singer have the juice?
Singer Nicoletta can belt out the drama. Listen to "Trespasser": "The modern warlords waging war / peace stands afar out of reach / Witness machinery at roar / The corporate amused and rich / Destroying their hope and lives rearranged / Trespasser storming the gates / Reaching your goals, in madness and in vain / Your sin will not become our fate." Nicoletta's committed delivery is reinforced by crunchy, punchy guitars that pace ahead with defiant, simple riffs along with rolls of double-bass.
Gates of Hell Records released Whispers of Lore on November 10.