A Crack In The Sky - A Tribute To William J Tsamis - Reviewed by Metal Crypt! Thursday April 21 2022, 4:08 PM
A Crack In The Sky - A Tribute To William J Tsamis - Reviewed by Metal Crypt!

A Crack In The Sky - A Tribute To William J Tsamis - Reviewed by Metal Crypt ! Check it out here at this link: http://www.metalcrypt.com/pages/review.php?revid=13583

Warlord was a band with a legend far exceeding their recorded output. Between their formation in 1980 and their 2002 full-length, Rising Out of the Ashes, they only released a couple of singles and the legendary Deliver Us EP (the album And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun...was essentially a live recording of songs that were on the EP and one of the singles), but that sparse output rippled throughout the heavy metal community, touching fans, many of whom were also musicians, in a myriad of ways.

With the death of founding member/guitarist/songwriter William Tsamis in 2021, Pitch Black Records has put together A Crack in the Sky (taking its title from a line in "Deliver Us from Evil"), a collection of Warlord covers from mostly newer bands though many you've undoubtedly heard of. The collection features all the songs from Deliver Us and the early singles plus a selection of tracks from Rising Out of the Ashes and The Holy Empire. Standout versions include "Lost and Lonely Days" (Sumerlands), "Aliens" (Mirror), "70,000 Sorrows" (Claymorean) and "Stygian Passage" (Eternal Champion). The power and atmosphere of these songs are palpable even as these bands put their own spin on them. If you aren't playing air guitar or drums, I don't see how you can be listening. Some of the earlier material proves challenging for bands like Reflection ("Winter Tears"), Solitary Sabred ("Black Mass") and Forsaken ("Lucifer's Hammer"), but how much of that is me holding these versions up to the impeccable originals and naturally finding the new takes lacking is hard to say. Those original vocals and Tsamis' intricate solos are hard to emulate. What is undeniable is that these songs, whether the ones from the '80s or the later material, are excellent regardless of whose hands they are in. And it is clear that every band participating in this collection, no matter how close they get to the originals, adores these songs and is giving their all to do them justice.

Any fan of Warlord has heard "Deliver Us from Evil" and "Child of the Damned" and all the others so many times it is probably beyond count but if you are like me, you'll gladly listen to them again, even when done by different musicians. A Crack in the Sky is as respectful and honest a collection of covers you're likely to find and it is full of some of the best heavy metal ever written. - Metal Crypt

Release Date: May 13, 2022

FFO: Warlord, Lordian Guard, Lordian Winds

The Official Tribute to William J Tsamis
16-track album honoring legendary guitarist/composer out on the 1-year anniversary of his passing.

Pitch Black Records is deeply honored and proud to announce the release of the official tribute to the late William J Tsamis (March 13, 1961 – May 13, 2021). Titled “A Crack in the Sky – A Tribute to William J Tsamis” the album is scheduled for release on May 13, 2022, the one-year anniversary of his passing.

A true hero of the Heavy Metal underground and beyond, the legacy of guitarist and composer William J Tsamis will forever be deeply intertwined with the name of WARLORD. Formed in liaison with drummer extraordinaire and perpetual bandmate Mark Zonder, WARLORD managed to rise to prominence amidst crushing competition right in the middle of the post-NWOBHM / US Heavy Metal explosion of the early 1980s. Among the main distinguishing factors that contributed to WARLORD’s elevated position in the pantheon of US Metal is the characteristic and classically trained guitar- and song-writing prowess of William J Tsamis. Like no other musician of the times, he had the ability to marry earth-shattering heaviness with melodic sensibility in the creation of larger-than-life compositions that, when draped in language and imagery related to the eternal battle between good and evil, reached unparalleled intensity and grandeur.

In addition to his work with WARLORD, William J Tsamis also channeled his creativity into the lesser known, but equally potent and arguably more personal projects LORDIAN WINDS and LORDIAN GUARD. Of special notice are the two LORDIAN GUARD albums he released with his late wife Vidonne Sayre Riemenschneider on vocals, which despite material shortcomings come across as some of the most unique and brutally honest Heavy Metal records of the 1990s. 

Although WARLORD never attained mass popularity on the magnitude of some other acts at the time, the continued impact of William J Tsamis’ works on Heavy Metal should not be underestimated. Like all great guitarist-composers, Tsamis developed his own mode of expression that is as instantly recognizable as it is difficult to pin down with words. Adhering to the European school of classically influenced electric guitar playing, he managed to combine the primeval force of Heavy Metal with a deep-trawling sense of majestic melancholy.

Such a unique approach always wins out in the end, and the upcoming tribute album is a testament to the influential role William Tsamis’ music has played, and continues to play, on Heavy Metal musicians of all backgrounds and ages across the globe.

Approved and endorsed by WARLORD’s management, “A Crack in the Sky” features brand new recordings of timeless classics, all exceptionally covered by 16 outstanding bands, young and old, hailing from different parts of the world. Clocking in at just a few seconds over 79 minutes, this is as “full” an album as it could possibly get!
Special mention must be made to the album’s liner notes which include a foreword by Mark Zonder along with brief statements by each participating band. Furthermore, a few industry individuals and artists have been invited to share their thoughts about Bill Tsamis in a special “In Memoriam” section within the album’s liner notes. The liner notes of any album are of course an integral part of it, but in this case, they are of particular importance as they are a powerful portrayal of what Bill Tsamis has meant to people; both as a musician and as a person. For this reason, Pitch Black Records will be making a special digital edition booklet (14 pages) freely available for anyone to download on release date.

“A Crack in the Sky – A Tribute to William J Tsamis” will be released in the following formats:

• CD Digipak (deluxe 3-panel)
• CD Book (hardbound 20x20cm book, including download code and limited to 100 copies – exclusively available from Pitch Black Records and select partners)
• Double-LP (including download code, released in association with Vinylstore)
• Digital

The album’s cover and artwork have been created by the talented Giannis Nakos of Remedy Art Design with photography kindly provided by Chris Del Grande. Mastering and additional mastering was handled by renowned producer Arthur Rizk.  

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1. MIRROR - Aliens
2. SUMERLANDS - Lost and Lonely Days
3. STRAY GODS - War in Heaven
4. TWISTED TOWER DIRE – Mrs. Victoria
5. CLAYMOREAN - 70,000 Sorrows
6. ETERNAL CHAMPION - Stygian Passage
7. ARRAYAN PATH (feat. Paolo Viani) - The Rainbow
8. FORSAKEN - Lucifer's Hammer
9. FIREWÖLFE - Battle of the Living Dead
10. STEEL SHOCK - Child of the Damned
11. SOLITARY SABRED - Black Mass
12. WOTAN - Winds of Thor
13. REFLECTION - Winter Tears
14. GALAXY - Penny for a Poor Man
15. COMET RIDER - Soliloquy
16. SOCRATES LEPTOS - A Crack in the Sky (Outro)

A short teaser is available


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