As a genre, heavy metal encompasses vastly different sounds and approaches.

Among the wide variety of head-banging music, bands like Cauldron have made every effort to bring metal back to a simpler time, pounding out a sound inspired by early ‘80s metal godfathers like Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate and Angel Witch.

Cauldron make their influences known not only musically, but through a retro aesthetic in everything from their album covers to their appearance, endearing the band to old-school metal fans and hipsters alike.

With their first three releases, “Chained to the Nite”, “Burning Fortune”, and “Tomorrow’s Lost”, the Canadian band have built a considerable underground following.

Cauldron’s latest release, “In Ruin”, seems to be an attempt to further their momentum while sticking considerably close to their winning formula of soaring vocals and haunting melodies backed with heavy power-trio riffing and shredding guitar solos.

Opening track “No Return/In Ruin” is a fine example of the band’s aforementioned sound. Bassist/vocalist Jason Decay’s vocals are well-suited for heavy metal, while still being melodic and emotional, even singing some fantastic harmonies on the song’s chorus.

“Burning at Both Ends” starts off strong with an up-tempo, punk rock energy in the verses, but the chorus comes off as a bit of a disappointment.

The guitars in “Hold Your Fire” skirt the line between classic and modern metal, with a main riff that many more “modern” bands would love to have written. One of the best songs on the album is “Come Not Here,” which begins with a deceptive keyboard before going into one of the heaviest songs I’ve heard from the band.

“Corridors of Dust” is a six-minute epic worthy of the group’s ‘70s and ‘80s heroes with multi-tracked guitars and a few tricky tempo changes.

The album’s only instrumental, “Delusive Serenade” is musically similar in many ways to “Corridors of Dust” and gives Decay, Deck, and guitarist Ian Chains (which is a great stage name, by the way) a chance to flex their musical muscles.

“In Ruin” closes with “Outrance,” ending the album the way it began, with great melodies over heavy guitars and pounding drums.

I’ve heard many fans of classic rock and metal complain that they cannot get into newer bands because of the frequent use of harsh, screamed vocals.

I would highly recommend fans of bands such as Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica, and early Rush to check out this album. Cauldron (as well as other bands such as Ghost and Enforcer) prove that there is still room in the hard rock world for melody and harmony.