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Welcome to the review's section which as some of you will know when it was a printed publication went under the name of 'Pounding Metal', a great name thanx to Exciter - cheers John!! In this section you'll find all the latest reviews of some of the best metal acts around from AOR to Black Metal, so there will be something for everyone. Please do not send the cover as a huge file please. I will not review any of this Nu-Metal crap, so if you're looking for something of that nature go elsewhere OK, this is a die hard metal fanzine!! Here are the rating's, All Review's by Jason Brown. Click on 'Friday 13th' logo to return to History page.
* (Avoid/ Don't waste your money),** (Below Average/ Needs Improvement),*** (Impressive),**** (Great/ Almost there), ***** (Awesome, must have!!)
Organ Orden "Raven Head" AFM ***
German act 'Organ Orden' release their new alum again released on AFM, this is the band's 4th album to date, not many people know this. The band 1st released their debut 'Vale' in 2008 but was re-released in 2010, whereas the band had released 'Easton Hope', & 'To the End' and now 'Raven Head'. This is a great comeback album... which captures the old school German Symphonic metal such as Blind Guardian (especially the vocal harmonies) , with the feel of such Power Metal/ Folk Metal bands as Hammerfall, Helloween, Grave Digger, Skyclad. When the band recorded their demo/ep 'Testimony A.D' in 2004 the German press saw these guys are a fresh and very talented young band that brought something fresh to the underground scene. It wasn't long before the band were getting interests from various labels and it was AFM that showed the most promising and soon signed the band. With the band now having 4 previous CD's the band certainly have their own identity and are showing a promise to good thing to come. This album had the art work done by Andreas Marschall (known for his work with such bands like Kreator, Running Wild and many more), and what a great cover it is, having a dark evil and eerie cover, somewhat a bit like the Grave Digger covers. The album features 2 guest vocal appearances by Joacim Cans (Hammerfall) on the song 'Sorrow is your Tale', whereas Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger) handles the vocals on 'Here at the end of the World', both showing a great performance. The album features 11 songs, and the bonus digi pack also features a live performance from 'Summer Breeze' festival. The production on this album was handled by Seeb, whereas the mixing was handled by Dennis Kohne (Sodom) who has done a fantastic job. For em I have to say this is the band's best album to date and I highly recommended it. Songs to check out are: Raven Head, F.E.V.E.R., The Lake, Here at the end of the World, Deaf among the Blind, Sorrow in your Tale, been the strongest of the songs. Fine album by a band on the right track. Check it out!!
Serious Black "As Delight Breaks" AFM ***
Well here's a new signing and band released through AFM yet again. This time it's AFM answer to Frontiers super group 'Level 10', this is 'Serious Black', a new project put together by the following impressive musicians. The band consist of Roland Grapow (Masterplan/ ex Helloween), Thomen Stauch - drums (Blind Guardian), Mario Lochert - bass (ex Visions of Atlantis), Dominik Sebastian - guitars (Edenbridge), Jan Vicik - Keyboard (Dreamscape), Urban Breed - vocals (Ex Tad Morose) to complete this band. This is a really good band, Power Metal at one of it's best and for a January release this is a great start to the year. When great musician's like this come together and make a great CD it really has to be heard, just like Level 10 and many more projects to record such great albums. Urban certainly made a name for himself with Tad Morose, pity he left the band but upwards and onwards as they say. Urban has been involved since leaving Tad Morose with such acts as: Bloodbound, Trail of Tears, and now Serious Black. This band were put together when Roland & Mario were talking backstage about doing something together with some cool musicians, and this is this the end results. Produced by the band and mixed at Dreamsound Studios' in Munich (Germany) the overall sound is awesome, great drum sound, clear guitars and powerful vocals makes this a great start to the Power Metal world in 2015. The band will embark on a European tour with Hammerfall this and next month, so go see them if you live in Europe. Sadly no UK dates. The band's info states that the band had no idea to were their music would take them but having heard the album this is a great album were the band haven't had to think too much about were they wanted to go. If you like the work that these musicians have done with their bands in the past and recent then this is an album for you. Songs on the album to check out are: I seek no other Life, High and Low, Sealing my Fate, Trail of Murder, Listen to the Storm, Older & Wiser. A decent debut album, more to come I am sure. If you like good quality metal then look no further, a decent album indeed.
U.D.O. "Decadent" AFM ****
One of Germany's metal legends, maybe the German Metal God UDO DirkSchneider is a legend in his own right, making quality music in the late 70's and 80's with his previous band Accept, who released such albums as 'Restless & Wild' (their finest CD), along with such albums as 'Metal Heart', 'Balls to the Wall'. Having made Accepts career a success UDO left the band 87, in which a lot of Accept fans followed him. He has gained a big following world-wide and he released his debut solo album in 87 with 'Animal House' this was the beginning of what is now. 15 studio albums later and he is still making quality metal music to the metal masses. UDO has a unquie voice that sets him aside from most metal vocalist that some had tried to copy but failed miserably, it is that rough distinct voice that has made him so famous. Other than that he writes and works with some of the top musicians in the metal world. Like any band UDO has had his fair share of line up changes and this album saw the departure recently of long time drummer Franscesco decided to leave the band last month. Now the band are looking for a new drummer as they will be touring in April 2015. UDO at present is touring Brazil with Tim Owens, Blaze Bailey and Mike Vescera. This album is yet another step up the ladder for UDO and shows there is no stopping such a legend who has made a name for himself. It's rather hard to tell which is the best UDO album of later years but I do like 'Steel Hammer', which really does pack a punch and for this album they have lost that mechanical sound which I rather prefer to hear a organic sounding and nature album like 'Steel Hammer' was. This new album also has a more natural sound which makes the drums sound like drums and not like a drum machine or programmed like some of the previous album had. Not putting UDO and the band down by far, I just feel that some of the albums had a mechanical drum sound, the last 2 are more organic. If you like the music for 'Steel Hammer' or such albums as 'Dominator' or 'Mastercutor', which were both great albums. This album features 12 typical UDO style metal, classic Heavy Metal with Power Metal influences. Produced by UDO along with Mattes & Fitty Wienhold, with the mixing done by Jacob Hansen. All have given this a fresh and powerful production that makes each song stand on their own. Songs on the CD to check out are as follows: Speeder, Decadent, House of Fake, Pain, Meaning of Life, Under your Skin, Untouchable, Rebels of the Night, Words in Flames. A great powerful album by a legend in his own right, buy today!!!
Jorn Lande & Trode Holter "Dracula Dance of Death" Frontiers *****
Norwegian Metal God Jorn Lande is back with a new project with Wig Wam guitarist Trode Holter with this epic album based upon Dracula. Jorn started making it big time when he joined Company of Snakes, formed by ex Whitesnake members and soon built his own solo career as well as singing for such bands like Masterplan. Jorn has become one of the finest metal singers around and having played an important part of the Dio tribute gig with members of Black Sabbath in London just goes to saw how strong a singer he is. As for Trode I really don't know much about his background other than his work with Wig Wam, who have become rather popular in the last 10 yrs or so. This album features musicians such as: Bernt Jansen (bass), Per Morten Bergseth (drums), Lena Floitmoen Borressen (guest vocals) as well as Jorn and Trode. This concept album is based on Bram Stoker's Dracula, a pretty good concept with some fine heavy metal tunes, and we all know how good Jorn delivers the music so you can count on good quality music here. Jorn on this CD impersonates Dracula whereas Lena represents Mina/ Lucy from the Brom Stoker book. The overall concepts is great and the flow of the music does the concept justice and as a Rock Opera this album has twists and turns from start to finish. A great production here which was handled by both Jorn and Trode and plans to take this concept to the theaters of Norway, this is something I'd love to see if it came to the UK. This CD features 10 impressive songs which like Is aid is a concept album and is really well put together. Songs that I suggest you check out are: Walking on Water, Swing of Death, Masquerade Ball, Save Me, River of Tears, Queen of the Dead, True love Through Blood, Under the Gun. A great album but then again isn't every album Jorn does an epic release? More to come this year I am sure from Jorn and Trode with solo albums I guess. Anybody who is a fan of Jorn will love this album, it's faultless. Every song tells a different story and the just beautifully put together. Let the show begin!!!
Level 10 "Chapter One" Frontiers *****
So who the hell is this new band? Well it's a new band put together by the one and only Mat Sinner (Primal Fear/ Sinner/ Voodoo Circle) I could go on forever.... Is there no end to what the guy gets up too? A very busy man indeed and makes some of the finest music around, similar to Jorn Lande another busy person. This album also features the fine vocals by Symphony X front man Russell Allen, a strong and powerful singer that is one of the best Progressive Metal singers around. This band also features Masterplan/ ex Helloween axe man Roland Grapow and guitar shredder Alex Beyrodt (Voodoo Circle/ Primal Fear) along with ex Primal Fear drummer Randy Black and ex Eden's Curse keyboard player Alessandro Del Vecchio, also with Voodoo Circle. So what you have here is a fine bunch of musicians from Germany, Canada, Italy, and the U.S. all coming together to make a fine album. As this is the debut album and looks like more to follow, the question is, who will be the next bunch of musician's on the 2nd release? Also will the band be playing live? If you I do hope they play the UK sometime in 2015. Frontier Records are certainly becoming one of the finest melodic metal labels in a long time with some fine acts big and small such as Whitesnake, Journey, Stryper, Pretty Maids and many more fine acts. This album however, also contains contributions from Ralf Scheepers, Carsten Shultz (Evidence One) Magnus Karlsson (ex Last Tribe/ Primal Fear) Johann Fiegl, Sander Gomman & Amanda Somerville. This album comes with 12 pure hard hitting metal music, a little more aggressive to that of Primal Fear in places but still an awesome album. This album sees 2 guitar shredders show their capabilities of pure quality and energy and you can actually hear who is doing the lead solo's if you know the styles these 2 guys play. I really cannot knock this album for the music and vocal ability it's a great debut album for the beginning of 2015, a nice production here which I can only put it to the help of Mat Sinner and properly the whole band been involved too. If I had the say any songs that really stand out for me and they all do, the one's I would suggest to check out are: Cry no More, Soul of a Warrior, No turning Back, One way Street, Blasphemy, Last man on Earth, Voice of the Wilderness, Demonized. A fine album, faultless to say the least... pure killer album, so grab a copy when it's released.
Sweet & Lynch "Only To Rise" Frontiers ****
Now here's an interesting album for 2015, what a great start to the new year with this and a few more releases I have to do after this one. This is an interesting album to say the least, firstly you have a great singer Michael Sweet (Stryper) along with Lynch Mob & ex Dokken guitar shredder George Lynch comes to heads to create a fine melodic Hard Rock/ Metal album. With the likes of James Lomenzo (bass) ex Megadeth/ White Lion, and ex Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy to complete this awesome debut album. Now the big question is, will this be a project or a tour band? Only time will tell and I would love to see them live. I heard about this project coming together some time ago and I just wondered if it would ever see the light of day. I would be very interested to know who else George had in mind as a vocalist besides Michael wouldn't you? This album is pretty impressive because you have a great guitar wizard and a powerful singer coming together to create a epic album, creating some of the finest music for 2015. Of course there are hints of Dokken/ Lynch Mob and Stryper in the music, goes without saying really. I can also hear the likes of such bands like Badlands, Kick Axe, to name some more acts. I really don't know why George doesn't get back with Dokken, guess there's some really bad blood there sadly. Nevertheless, George's guitar work is second to none, and you know when it's George by his distinct sound, not many guitarist can achieve these days. Michael is on top form as always, strong powerful vocals like his has with his own band Stryper. The rest of the band deliver quality music too, all the musicain's on this record pull too and create an awesome album. Funny thing is the band did not record this album in the same room together it was all done by George playing riffs and then sending them to Michael who wrote the melodic lines and then sent them to Brian and James. The end results speak for themselves as you will hear when you buy this. This album comes with 12 hard hitting hard rock riffs then any fan of the above bands will love and why not? Songs I really like are: The Wish, Dying Rose, Love Stays, Time will Tell, Me without You, Recover, Divine, Strength in Numbers, Only to Rise. Great debut album and what a great start to 2015, go buy this!!!
Alpha Tiger "Identity" Steamhammer ***
This German Power Metal act was formed back in around 2011 as a 5 piece act, previously known as 'Satin Black'. Which consist of Peter Langforth (guitars), Alexander Backasch (guitars), vocals by Stephan Dietrich, Dirk Frie (bass) and drummer David Schlief. The band released several demos tapes and in 2011 the band released their debut album 'Man or Machine', the album which pretty much set the band off and got them noticed around Europe and Japan. This new album was mixed by Tommy Newton and produced by Mirco Hildmann and Dominik Glockner, all in all have done the album justice and making it have the 80's feel. The band are certainly based around the 80's and the music reminds me of the following bands, Fates Warning, Riot, Hittman, Hammerfall, Helloween so I think you get a perfect picture. This album is pretty cool stuff and I have yet to hear the debut album and the bands 2nd album 'Beneath the Surface' released in 2013. This is something I need to investigate in the near future but this album is pretty good stuff. I guess the band have played the likes of Headbangers Open Air, Keep It True, if not I am sure they will in 2015. This CD comes with 10 songs, one of which is a ltd edition with DVD recorded from 2013 Bang your Head festival, something worth checking out. Songs on the album I like and I suggest you check out are: Lady Liberty, Scripted Reality, ong Way Of Redemption, Identity, Shut up & Think, This world will Burn. Not a bad album but I still think they have a little way to go before they get 5/5 in my opinion, but still a decent album. Somewhat there are lots of Fates Warning guitar riffs, maybe not the technical sound but the way the guitars are played and sound. Still if you like what the band have done in the past then this is for you, not a bad release at all. Go see them live in 2015 I am sure they are great live that's for sure. Ian the meantime check out this album it's a pretty strong European Power Metal album indeed.
Mike LePond's "Silent Assassins" UDR ****
For some of you out there who have no idea who Mike LePond is well I will enlighten you, he is a very talented bass player for the band Symphony X, now I have you're attention. Mike has been making quality music with Symphony X since 98 who had also been in the band Dead on Arrival who released a CD in 96 prior to S.X.. Mike has come along way since the days of Symphony X, with the band releasing 8 albums, only Mike's debut was 'V' released in 2000 and is presently still in the band. Things have been rather quite with S.X for a while now but I am sure a new CD will be out soon. This side project titled 'Silent Assassins' is a killer album, which features some killer musicians as well as a killer and old friend Alan Tecchio (ex Hades/ Watchtower) 2 fine bands on vocals and guitarists for this CD are Michael Romeo (Symphony X) & Metal Mike Chlasciak (Halford), Mike LePond (bass) and believe it or not Michael Romeo programmed the drums, damn had me fooled!! They sound so amazing, until the cymbals kick in, in certain places the crash cymbals sound a little fake but other than that its a great way to fool anybody. Great programming nevertheless. This album for me reminds me of a couple of bands, 1 been Canadian act Exciter with the song 'Apocalypse Rider', this has a Exciter feel of maybe the 1st CD albums, great song and great sound love it and of course a hint of Motorhead in it too. The music is awesome of this song and so are Alan's vocals, just like the days of Hades. Production is awesome too, nice guitar sound, cutting riffs and pounding drum machine with soaring vocals. At times Metal Mike carries the Halford sound into this album, nothing wrong with that. The album comes with 9 head banging tunes that is a must for fans of real metal especially if like me you love the 80's, the best era by far. Music is across between traditional metal and Power Metal. Other songs on the album to check out are: Red Death (bit of Anvil here), The Quest, The Outsider, Silent Assassins (another Exciter riffing song), The Progeny, been the strongest of songs. There's certainly a lot of bass solo riffs on this album proving that Mike is an awesome bass player. If you like the bands mentioned in this CD review please check out this awesome CD. I await the next one and maybe a tour in 2015. Great stuff!!
Dimension "Revolution" Nightmare ****
Denver Progressive Metal act 'Dimension' return with their 3rd album. The band formed back in the late 90's and it was in 2002 when the band released their debut album 'Universal', an album I have yet to hear. Also the band released their 2nd album 'Ego' in 2007, yet again another album I have yet to hear. This is the 1st CD I have heard from this band and I have to say I am impressed as always Nightmare Records always deliver the goods with quality releases, a label you can trust for Progressive Metal. This trio consist of David Quicho (vocals/ guitar) Mane Cabrales (drums) and bassist Edgar Allan. This band really do make some impressive music even if it's not original, but then again it is hard to create a new sound and style these days. This band have some really good idea's and not only do they have hints of Dream Theater in their music, there's also bands in their music like Pagans Mind, Evergrey, Fates Warning, Lordbane, with a slightly de-tuned guitar sound. Vocally David has a good voice and certainly suits the music, a there is a lot of progressive Rock/ Metal elements in their music. This album comes with 8 blistering impressive songs for any fan of technical music then this is for you. I really cannot fault this album, musically they are great musicians. Production is solid and nicely put together which makes all the instruments shine though, but sadly I have no idea to who produced the album. Songs that do shine for me are as follows: Angel, The Source, Human Device, Pale Horse, The waltz of Death, New Day, War Dream, Resistance, Eleanor Rigby (An usual cover version) and the band aslso do a cover in their own way of Led Zepplin's 'Immigrant Song', a very strange version but you have to be open minded to appreciate what they are doing. All in all a pretty good album and a must for any fan of Progressive Metal. There are some really good Progressive Metal acts coming out these days and not all of them are crossing over with screaming vocals and clean. This band do what's best nice & clean vocals all the way.
Wicked Sensation "Adrenaline Rush" AOR Heaven ****
Wicked Sensation have been around for some time now, having formed back in 2001 in Germany when by guitarist Michael Klein who stole the bands name from from Lynch Mob's debut album title, a great album indeed and so this was the birth of this German band. The band soon released their debut album 'Reflected' with singer Robert Soeterboek who later on recorded the bands 3rd album 'Crystallized' had to leave the band due to health reasons. Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) was to produce the band debut album and to this day is still part of the production for the band. His replacement is former Accept & Bangalore Choir sing David Reece, who is a fine Hard Rock/ Blues style of singer and with his track recorded of some of the finest albums this is a pretty good album to be part of. Joining Michael and David is Sang Vong (guitars), Martin Mannhardt (bass), Bernd Spitzer (keyboards) and drummer Dirk Bruinenberg to complete the current line up. This album also features 11 tracks of pure Hard Rock and also features guest appearances by ex U.D.O. guitarists Mathias Dieth and vocalist Harry Hess Harem Scarem doing a duet with David. So this is a pretty interesting album for any fan of Melodic Metal/ Rock. This album is pretty much driving music, you know windows down, music blasting out and there are some pretty catchy riffs here. Some nice vocals by David which his vocal abilities remind me of Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt), so I guess those 2 would make a great album together. The album is well put together and this album has some impressive tunes what I am sure you will like. If you are a fan of bands like Harum Scarem/ Fire House, Pink Cream 69, Bad Moon Rising then this is a band you must check out!! Songs to check out are: King of the World, Same old Situation, Misery, Leave me like a Fool, Angel in Black, Desperate Nations, Adrenaline Rush, No more Lies. A great rocking album indeed, a must for any fans of melodic Metal. Grab a copy today. It's one of those album that grow on you, and one of the highlight songs for me is 'No more Lies'.
Halcyon Way "Conquer" Massacre ****
U.S. Metal act 'Halcyon Way' release their new album 'Conquer' through Massacre Records recently. The band were formed back in the mid 2000's and it was in 2008 the band released their debut album 'A Manifesto for Domination' which is now out of print or hard to find. Formed back in Georgia Atlanta the band soon gained support from the local metal heads and it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Building the Towers' in 2010 and in 2011 the band released their 3rd album which saw the band supporting Saxon and Fozzy, this was titled 'Indoctrination' . With the band firmly gathering a strong fan base and with Nightmare Records behind them it wasn't long before German label Massacre saw the pretension in the band. Now the band return with their new album for Massacre 'Conquer', the band are also once again on tour with Saxon and Skidrow as I review this album throughout Europe. Sadly no UK tour which is a shame as I would of also liked to of seen the band opening for Saxon here in the UK. The band consist of 5 members been Steve Braun (who sounds a lot like Wade Black meets Stu Block), with guitarists Jon Bodan & Max Eve, with bassist Skyler Moore and drummer Ernie Topran. This band are certainly becoming stronger with each album they release as this album is awesome, kind of reminds me of Mercenary from Denmark with Jon's style of Death Metal vocals meets Into Eternal (stu Blocks) old band. I can also hear the likes of Fates Warning in their music and maybe some early Queensryche. A great Progressive Power Metal band. The album however was produced by guitarist Jon Bodan with Lasse Lammert, which the overall production is solid and certainly makes all the instruments shine through. Artwork was done by none other than Travis Smith, known for his work with Death, Psychotic Waltz, Nevermore and many more.... The album comes with 12 impressive songs from start to finish. Songs I suggest you check out are: Conquer, Web of Lies, Conceived in Torment, Home, World comes Undone, The poisoned Apple, Save your Tears, Unbroken. This is a great new album, a must for fans of Nevermore, Into Eternity, buy today.
Sick Of It All "Last Act Of Defiance" Century Media ***
Its been a long time since I heard any thing from this New York hardcore out, formed back in 86 in Queens the band were around when such bands like Ludichrist, Cro-Mags, The Crumbsuckers, Leeway, Agnostic Front were all hitting the scene big time in and around the NY state. New York was the birth place for Hardcore metal music and the bands mentioned really did make a massive impact around NY and played a very big part in my up bringing to which I still enjoy listening too today. With the band playing the locals clubs like CBGB's well known for such Hardcore and Punks band to play, it wasn't long before the band signed their 1st album deal in 89 when Relativity Records signed the band for their debut album 'Blood Sweat No Tears', which had some success, but it was in 92 when the band released their next album 'Just Look Around' which made the band been more noticed and a tour of Europe was planned. With that success the band soon were signed to a major label East/ West soon picked the band up and their 3rd album 'Scratch The Surface' was released back in 94. This album saw the band playing festivals around Europe making a big name for themselves. Having that Agnostic Front kind of vibe the band went onto to record in 97 'Built To Last', this was actually the bands last album for East/ West who dropped the band. The band did however record 5 more album and it was in 2014 when the band signed and released this new album through Century Media. It is also good to see that 3 original members still remain within the band, the 2 brothers Lou & Peter Koller, with drummer Armand Majidi on drums with current bassist Craig Setari who joined in 92 have kept the band alive. I have to respect and show credit were it is due for remaining to keep the bands spirit alive. This new album was recorded and produced by none other than Tue Madsen at Nova studios in New York and mixed in Denmark, and the overall sound captures the old school NY sound with a solid drum sound and guitar riffs. It's been ages since I have listened to any Hardcore band so it was a pleasant surprise to hear this. The whole album comes with 14 hard hitting tunes, and of course most songs by bands like this are short but sweet and in this case the band deliver just that. Songs to check out are: Sound the Alarm, Get Bronx, Part of History, Losing War, Never Back Down, Facing the Abyss, Disconnect The Flesh, Sidelined, Outgunned. Not a bad album, its been ages since I heard this band, so it's going to take some time to get into it. If you like you're music hard and punk style then this is for you.
Vanish "Come To Wither" Massacre ****
Newly signed to German label is Vanish, a this band have been around for 14yrs from what I can gather from the labels biography, which is rather strange when the band have only recorded 2 albums in all that time. The band are a 5 piece act from Stuttgart Germany, and the band released their debut album in 2006 titled 'Separated from Today' which pretty much the band have kept their line strong a d steady with only 1 replacement since the debut album was released. As it stands the bands line up is as follows: Bastian Rose (vocals/ keyboards), Philipp Schonle (guitars), Thomas Rosch (guitars), Daniele Dei Giudici (bass) and drummer Ralf Nopper. I have yet to hear the bands debut album so I cannot compare them but this is pretty decent Progressive metal, vocals kind of remind me of the current Dreamscape but with a rougher tone to his voice. Musically they mind me of Dream Theater, Evergrey, Cloudscape so I think you get a pretty decent picture here. This new album features 11 tracks, one of which features Ralf from Primal Fear, the song been 'Come to Wither', a fine song with song incredible vocals and this album was produced by Alex Heckert who has also worked with the likes of Brainstorm, and which the overall production is impressive and the music is pretty damn cool too. The album artwork was handled by Jan Yrlund who has worked with Manowar, Legion of the Damned, Stratovarius, and many more. The band have either shared or opened up for the likes of Queensryche, Mystic Prophecy, Brainstorm, Axxis, Freedom Call, Kissin Dynamite to name a few. So there name has certainly got around and this album should see the band playing more shows and festivals in the near future. Songs on the album that stand out for me are: Great Collapse, Bless the buried Child, Renewal, Silence, Hollow, Hope shall Rise, The grand Design. A decent 2nd album that I recommend to any fan of Progressive metal. There some really good Progressive metal bands comes out and release so far this year, this is one album I recommend and to add to you're collection.
Bloodbound "Stormborn" AFM ****
Swedish Power Metal act 'Bloodbound' return with their new album, the band were formed back in 2004 by Thomas Olsson (guitars) and Fredrik Bergh (keyboards), which soon recorded a demo which was sent to various record labels and soon in 2005 the band were signed to Japanese label 'Marquee/ Avalon' and the bands debut album was recorded 'Nosferatu'. This album saw the Japanese taking the album by storm and opening their arms to embrace the band. In 2006 the band had in and out members which included Kristian Andren (Memento Mori/ Tad Morose), Johan Sohlberg (Storyteller), Jorgen Andersson (Baltimoore), and Markus Albertson (Seven Sin) along with Urban Breed (ex Tad Morose), who later on left Bloodbound to pursue a solo career. Since Urban left the band he was replaced by ex Jaded Heart singer Michael Bormann, who recorded ''Book of the Dead' in 2007. The bands current line up stands with Thomas, Fredrik Hendrik Olsson (guitars), Anders Broman (bass), Pelle Akerlind (drums). The band have also recorded 4 albums to date and this album 'Stormborn' is a great follow up to the bands last album 'In the name of Metal', which kind of reminded me of Dream Evil's 'Book of Heavy Metal', the same vibe, great lyrics and 80's style metal all the way. The band seem to of gone from strength to strength and this albums also proves just that. I really like the bands last 2 previous albums too 'In the name of Metal', & 'Unholy Cross' . This new album contains 11 trax of pure head banging 80's style metal with I guess some 90's influences too, but either way its a great album. it was engineered by Jonas Kjellgren, who has done a great job making all the instruments shine through. Vocals by Patrik Johansson are great and shine thought, they kind of remind me of across between Sean Peck (Cage) meets Stu Block and maybe Urban Breed. Either way there pretty impressive stuff, high pitch in places and for this type of music you really need to have a goods voice. I guess Rob Halford comes in and out of the vocals in certain places on this record. The 1st song 'Satanic Panic' is a really head banging tune from start to finish, a great song indeed. Other songs on the album to check out are: Stormborn, We rise the Dead, Made of Steel, Blood of my Blood, When the kingdom will Fall, When all lights Fail. A pretty good album, if you like bands like Sabaton, Dream Evil, Nocturnal Rites etc.. this is for you.
Allen - Lande "The Great Divine" Frontiers *****
Well it has been a long time coming this new release, the side project of 2 fine singers in Metal, Norwegian singer Jorn Lande known for his work with Masterplan, Ark, and of course his solo career. As for Russell Allen, he is best known for is work with progressive metal act 'Symphony X'. When these 2 guys came together to record this project it was like a nuclear bomb going off, 2 master of fine volume and power collide to create a fine project of power, energy and passion. This project so far have released 3 previous albums to date, their debut was released back in 2005 titled 'The Battle', a strong impressive debut of melodic metal which would appeal to those who enjoy melodic but beautiful music with catchy riffs and very strong vocals by 2 fine vocalist. When this project got together people were not sure if it would be a one off album, what with Jorn been so busy but I am happy to say they did continue when possible to record future albums and now the project is back and for me this is the projects finest release. yes the previous album are awesome but there is something about this album that stands out more for me. Once this project featured guitarist Magnus Karlsson (formerly with with Primal Fear & Last Tribe) with drums aided by Jamie Salazar. This new album 'The Great Divine' features former and original guitarist for Stratovarius Timo Tolkki and new drummer Jami Huovinen to complete the new album. Having released 4 albums now for Italian label Frontiers this label are really picking up some of the finest melodic Rock/ Metal acts from the past and new and upcoming acts. This new album has plenty of melodic parts, some fine and excellent guitar playing and drum work with 2 of the finest singers in Metal that have been around for some time. There could be so many albums that features 2 great singers on 1 album, let's hope this project open doors to other projects to follow. The album was produced by Timo Tolkki who has done a fine production making all the instruments shine through which comes with 10 extremely well composed songs. One song in particular which stands out for me is the song 'Lady of Winter', is an extremely great song, superb vocals by Jorn and it also reminds me of Savatage's song 'Edge of Thorns'. So if you like that song you will love this song too. I would love to see this project live if it ever happens. Other songs on the album that stand out are: Come along with Me, Down form the Mountain, Solid Ground, Dream about Tomorrow, The Hymn to the Fallen, The Great Divine, Reaching for the Stars. A fine melodic album for fans of Whitesnake, Savatage, and bands of that nature. Buy today!!
Lordi "Scare Force One" AFM ***
Finnish metal act 'Lordi' should be no strangers to the metal scene, having broke through the underground scene into the main stream world of metal since they won the 'Eurovision Song Contest' in 2002 with the song 'Would you love a Monsterman', which rose the band to fame. Formed back in 92 the band went from a local band to a stadium band in a matter of years. Although the band are nothing like Gwar with their lyrics I do see some kind of resemblance even though singer Mr Lordi doesn't share my views. I see them as a great double headlining act if given the chance. The band however released their debut album 'Get heavy' in 2002 which was released through BMG Finland. This was a shock to all who lived in Finland but it wasn't long before the band released their next CD 'The Monsterican Dream' in 2004. With a secure deal with BMG the band were on the top and yonder, more albums followed which would involve producer Michael Wagener, who is known for his work with the likes of Motley Crue, Metallica to name a few. In total the band have released 6 previous albums, this new album on AFM is the band's 2nd album who look after the band in Europe. I have to say the band play some really cool music, it's certainly metal and having seen the band live they rock too. I have to respect them as it must take them ages to get ready backstage before a show and they must really sweat like fuck in all that latex. This new album takes the band to the next level and the title is rather funny too 'Scare Force One', which comes with 13 scary tunes that would be ideally played on Halloween that's for sure. This album was also Mikko Karmila, who has done the production justice, making the whole album shine through. If you like the band's previous albums then this is going to make you want to hear more. Songs on the album to check out are: Scare Force One, How to slice a Whore, Monster is my Name, Cadaver Lover, Nailed By The Hammer Of Frankenstein, The United rocking Dead been the strongest songs on the album. Not a bad album, and if you're a fan of the bands previous work you will love this too.
Korzus "Legion" AFM ***
Brazilian thrasher's Korzus return with this new album 'Legion', where the band had formed back in 83 and with 6 albums under their belt the band have gone from strength to strength as this new album shows you. The band were formed in 83 in San Paulo and been one of the oldest thrash bands along side Sepultura and Sarcofago these 3 bands put Brazilian metal on a international map and with only 3 original members till in the band they have managed to keep the band alive. The 3 original members are Marcello Pompeu (vocals), Silvio Golfetti (guitars), Dick on (bass). Since the band formed the current line up consists of drummer Rodrigo Oliveira Antonio Araudjo (guitars) , Heros Trench (guitars). The band have recorded 8 previous records and have supported the likes of Sepultura to name a few along with Over Dose and many more. It was in 2010 when the band signed to German label AFM and it wasn't long before the band released 'Disciples of Hate', which took the band to the next level with their brand of highly influenced thrash metal which reminds me of such bands as Kreator, Slayer, Sacred Reich, Evil Dead, Exodus to name a few. Musically the band are great musicians playing some of the finest Brazilian Thrash Metal, but I have to say that the vocals in parts to tend to get a little irritating as they tend to sound very similar with each song... as little like Vio-Lence's Sean vocals which in the case of this band could be better and more varied. I do think the music is great, heavy and plenty of interesting riffs. I just wish the vocals had a little more to offer. I am not knocking the album it's still a great Thrash metal album and comes with a great production, which comes with 13 head splitting heavy tunes that any die hard extreme fan will love. If you have any of the bands previous albums then this is a great album for you. Songs on the album I suggest to check out areas follows: Lifeline, Six Seconds, Broken, Time Has Come, Self Hate, Devil's Head. Not a bad album, great music but for me I am not sure about the vocals sadly.
TNT "30th Anniversary" Napalm ****
Any of you out there who is as old as me will remember this band the 1st time around, formed in Norway buy guitar wizard Ronni Le Tekro in a town called 'Trondheim', along with singer Dag Ingebrigsten who also played rhythm guitar bassist Steinar Elkum, and drummer Diesel Dahl. The band recorded demo and it wasn't long before the band released their debut album 'TNT', of which was sang in Norwegian sadly in 84 but was re-released in English in order to sell more copies. Later that year Steiner left the band and was replaced by Morty Black. A year later American sing Tony Harnell entered the band and the band soon recorded their next album 'Knight of the New Thunder', this was the album that hooked me when I heard the song 'Seven Seas' on UK radio. I was blown away by how strong the song was and how powerful Tony's vocals were, somewhere between Halford & Tate. This album made them a international successful band and with a secure deal with Vertigo the band soon recorded their next album 'Tell No Tales', an even more successful album and slightly more commercial but still a fine album. The band recorded several more album and it was in 2005 Tony left the band and was replaced by British singer Tony Mills, ex Shy. The band continued to record more albums, the 1st with Mills was 'The New Territory' in 2007. Tony stayed with the band 2014 and was replaced by Harnell in 2014. Mill's pretty much saved the band's career and was a great replacement for the band. Harnell returned to the band and are currently writing new material. This live album is the bands debut but is also the band's 2nd live DVD. This one features all 3 singer live on this awesome DVD/ CD. I have to say that some of the vocals do go out of note from time to time sadly and it's obvious that Harnell is the strongest singer on this CD. It is a great CD but sadly not enough classic songs on this release, which is a damn shame. It must be hard for a band like this to pick the correct songs for a live DVD/ CD, but still a good album indeed. Songs that I suggest you check out are: Invisible Noise, Substitute, Refugee, As far as the eye can See, Downhill Race, Intuition, Northern Lights, Eddie, My Religion, Everyone's a Star, Seven Seas, 10.000 Lovers. Oh I almost forgot to say this album also features a orchestra which makes it even more enjoyable and captures the heart of the songs in their full glory. So grab a copy today... I have yet to see the band live and interview them... One day I will!!
Stryper "Live At The Whiskey Go Go" Frontiers ****
Christian metal act 'Stryper' return with yet another release, this time it's a live album and this is the band's (maybe) 2nd live album. The band were formed back in 883 under the name of 'Roxx Regime' but later on changed their name to 'Stryper'. The band once almost consisted of Whitesnake's guitarist Doug Aldritch and Poison's C.C. Devil back in 83, something that you may not already know. The band at 1st were taken as a joke and a lot of metal heads couldn't accept they were a Christian metal band but in later years they built up a massive following both in the Christian and none Christian community and gained respect in the metal community. The band soon found a strong and steady line up in the form of brothers Michael (vocals/ guitar) and Robert Sweet (drums), with Timothy Gains (bass) and Ox Fox (guitars) which lead to the recording of the bands debut album 'The Yellow & Black Attack' in 84, a great album for a debut . It wasn't long before the band recorded their next album 'Soldiers Under Command' in 85, yet again it was one of those album that had some fine songs but also a couple of disappointing songs too, this happened throughout the band's career, that was until the latest album was released 'No more Hell to Pay' in 2013, a perfect album, something the band should of done earlier in their career's. Still better late than never!! This live album sees the band playing some of their finest songs but then again there are songs that I wish were not on here, they recorded so many fine songs this could of been a double CD, shame it wasn't to be honest. This album is also released as a DVD/ CD so I'd very much like to see this. I just wish the band would tour the UK, they have a fan base and I'd like to interview them at some point. This live CD features 16 songs some of which are heavy and some of them are ballads so there's a good mixture for all fans who enjoy Stryper and their music. Songs on this CD I enjoy are: Legacy, March into Battle, You know what to Do, Loud & Clear, Reach Out, Free, The rock that makes me Roll, No more hell to Pay, The Way, To hell with the Devil, and Soldiers under Command. A decent album just a shame it wasn't long but buy today it's a great live CD.
Sanctuary "The Year The Sun Died" Century Media *****
Well it is always good to see a band from the past make a comeback, this time we see Sanctuary, formed back in Seattle in 85 by vocals Warrel Dane with the aod of bassist Jim Sheppard (Who later on went onto form Nevermore) along with guitarist Lenny Rutledge along with drummer Dave Budbill and guitarist Sean Blosl, later left the band and was replaced by Jeff Loomis who also formed Nevermore. In 86 the band recorded their debut demo which was highly praised by the metal fans and press and it wasn't long before the band were picked up by Epic records. It also got into the hands on Dave Mustaine from Megadeth who decided to produced their debut album 'Fugue Denied' back in 87, a tour I managed to see with Megadeth in the UK. This was a great opening album for what would lead the band to record yet another masterpiece in 89 titled 'Into the Mirror Black', for me is their finest album I just love it!! Sadly the band broke up after this album and later on back in 91/92 and a good 78 albums would be recorded. Sadly all good things come to an end and nature took it's cause with Nevermore making the band burn out. It was in 2010 when Jim & Warrel hooked up with Dave and Lenny. Sean decided to op out of the reunion and was replaced by ex Forced Entry guitarist Brad Hull. So it was that the band would tour and play festivals like Bloodstock to see what kind of reaction they would get.. which in tail they received a warm welcome by new and old fans alike. In 2013 the band signed to Century Media and the new album would be recorded titled 'The Year the sun Died', a fine comeback album I have to say. It's almost like the band had not gone anywhere, mixing old Sanctuary with hints of Nevermore but that is quiet understandable really. The album was produced by Chris Harris at Soundhouse studios in Seattle. The overall sound is solid, making the guitars rip and shine through , whereas the drums pound away and vocal soar as always by Warrel. A fine album by one of the best old school Power Metal bands of the 80's and early 90's. Songs to check out are: Arise & Purify, Let the serpent follow Me, Exitium, Question Existence Fading, I am Low, Frozen, The world is Weird, The Dying Age, The year the sun Died. Welcome back now let's see them live in the UK again soon, killer band!!
Riot "Unleash The Fire" Steamhammer ****
Riot return with their new album 'Unleash the Fire', released on Steammhammer, this is the 1st album that the remaining members of the band decided to release yet another album, after original guitar Mark Reale passed away sadly in 2012. It was a devastating day in the history of metal music when Mark's health faded. It was Mark's family and Mark's request that the band would continue in honor of him and this is a great album in honor of his life and work with Riot. Riot had recoprded some of the finest album in the past and had also played the very 1st 'Monsters of Rock' festival in the UK back in 80 with the likes of Judas Priest, Saxon, April Wine, The Scorpion and Rainbow headlining. Sadly I was only just getting into metal when this started and was too young to attend alone, but I did manage to get their in 87. The band released their debut album back in 77 titled 'Rock City', which opened the door's for New York metaller's which was a start of bigger things to come and with the success of albums such as 'Narita' 79, 'Restless Breed' 82 which the band recorded albums up until 83. It was in 88 when the band returned with their stunning album 'Thundersteel', a fine album of energy and power and which the album was heading towards a more Power Metal approach. This for me has to be their finest album, fine tunes and soaring vocals. This was soon followed up by 'Privilege of Power' in 90. I decent album as well but the production suffered slightly on this album. More albums followed, with various line-up changes and with vocals handled by Mike DeMeo who later on went on to record with The Lizards and Masterplan. Now the band return with the following line up members Todd Michael Hall (vocals), who had worked with Burning Starr, Frank Gilchriest (drums) Virgin Steel, Nick Lee (guitars), Mike Flyntz (guitar) and bass player Don Van Stavern to complete the line up for this new album. I have to say this is truly an album for fans of 'Thundersteel', 'Privilege of Power' and 'Immortal Souls', a true hard hitting album with guitar work that sounds like Mark's is with them in spirit on this album and with some fine vocals this is a great album. I really can't fault this album, it is a masterpiece with songs that any real metal fan should buy. Songs to check out are: Ride Hard Live Free, Metal Warrior, Fall from the Sky, Bring the hammer Down, Kill to Survive, Immortal, Fight fight Fight. Buy today, welcome back guys.
Wovenwar "Same" Metal Blade ****
Formed out of the ashes of the band 'As I Lay Dying', a band that were very popular and played some of the biggest festival in the world as well as release some of the finest nu-metal albums of today. They released their debut album 'Beneath the Encasing of Ashes' back in 2001. Formed in 2000 by Tim Lambesis the band had lots of success and even played in my home city were I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim. Sadly thing changed in 2013 when Tim was arrested with charges to tempting or soliciting in the death of his wife. Now it is time for the band to be reborn and rise like a phoenix out of the ashes with this new band 'Wovenwar'. This band features guitarist of As I Lay Dying Nick Hipa & Phil Sgrosso,m Josh Gilbert (bass) along with drummer Jordan Mancino with new singer Shane Blay from the band 'Ph' and 'Sleeper'. It wasn't long before the band signed to Metal Blade as both parties had a fantastic relationship it was only nature for the 2 to work together with this new band. So it was the band signed to Metal Blade and the debut album was soon recorded and this is it, a self titled album which I think is better than As I Lay Dying just because the vocals are more relaxed, I just cannot get my head around bands that have both shouting and clean vocals, for me it's one or the other. I guess the music is similar to that of A.I.L.D. as well as other bands like Killswitch Engaged and Fozzy, Arch Enemy. I guess those 2 bands could best describe their music in Wovenwar. The music is melodic and yet heavy with some fine melodic vocals, which for me make this a better and more enjoyable album. This album was recorded by Bill Stevenson who had worked with A.I.L.D., and the mixing was handled by Colin Richardson, who had worked with such bands as Carcass, Napalm Death, Over Kill, Slipknot and many more, so the 2 had done this album justice in the form of an excellent production. It comes with 15 hard hitting metal songs that I am sure you will enjoy especially if you like the modern style of metal music that is out today. Songs on the album I found interesting are: All Rise, Death to Rights, Tempest, The Mason, Ruined Ends, Identity, Matter of Time. Well A.I.L.D. might be laid to rest finally but Wovenwar are the new breed to check out. I'm impressed not bad at all.
Work of Art "Framework" Frontiers ***
New album for Italian label Frontier's, the label that brings you melodic metal, and some Power Metal has now signed 'Work of Art', a new band hailing from Sweden this trio who have released 2 previous albums to date. Their debut 'Artwork' was released 2008. With the success of the debut album it wasn't long before they released their 2nd album 'In Progress', which charted in Sweden. It took the band a year and half to release this new album 'Framework', which was picked up by Frontiers. I am not sure if the bands previous album were also released through Frontiers. As this is the 1st album I have heard by the band I have to say this is a really good AOR/ Melodic Metal album indeed. It kind of reminds me of such bands as Strangeways, Skagarack, Eden's Curse, Mr Mister are bands that spring to mind. So if you like the bands mentioned then you will like this album. The band features singer Lars Safsund, guitars and keyboards by Robert Sall (Who has worked with W.E.T. & Jeff Scott Soto) , and drummer Herman Furin. The 3 musician's play their music as professional as they can and this albums shows it. Production is good , nice solid AOR production and I can only presume it was handled by one of the band members. The album comes with 11 pure Hard Rock/ AOR tunes that any fan of the melodic scene will love this album. I myself think it's a great cool album and I do like some of this style of music, it can't always be heavy stuff you know. This band would be good at Firefest if they have not already played it. Sadly this year is the last one, however the band are planning a tour in Europe this fall and also playing the 'Melodic Rock' Fest in Chicago too. Songs on the album that stand out for me are: Time to let Go, How will I Know, Shout till you wake Up, The Machine, Natalie, My Waking Dream. A pretty good album and I would like to hear the bands previous albums to compare them. If you have the bands previous albums then I am sure you will like this album too.You just can't go wrong with bands from Scandinavia, top quality musicianship all the way. I've heard worse albums in this category so give this a spin.
Cannibal Corpse "A Skeleton Domain" Metal Blade *****
It's always good to see and hear that Cannibal Corpse are still around and making albums. Formed out of the ashes of a great bands called 'Leviathan', 'Tirant Sin' & 'Beyond Death' back in 88 when all the original members of the band hooked up after the above bands broke up. It wasn't long before the band were recording demos and send them out to all the major record labels. It was Metal Blade that took a shine to the bands demos and signed them up back in 89 and it wasn't long before the band recorded their debut album 'Eaten Back to Life' in 90. With the band print sick and gore like covers it certainly shocked the metal scene and the music world in general. The band's music was and still is brutal as hell were they take no prisoners with their brutal music and sick lyrical content, the band mean business in the world of shocking. Having saw the band on the 'Eaten back to life' tour I have followed this band pretty much from the start and see the band grow and musicians and I tell you they are one of the best Death Metal bands around so I suggest you check them out live!! The band recorded their 2nd album 'Butchered at Birth' back in 91 which caused a lot of problems for the band with the sick cover with was banned in many countries which also had an alternative cover in order to make it sell. The band have some pretty intense covers of previous but I think they have toned them down certainly .. but the music remains the same. Like all bands they have had their fare share of line up changes and now the band have a steady line up for the last 2006 with the album 'Kill'. This new album sees the band with the same line up since the 'Kill' album and surprisingly is a brutal yet heavy as fuck album, catchy tunes and brutal vocals makes this one hell of a fine Death Metal album. Produced by Mark Lewis, a producer I am sorry to say I have not heard of until now... but he has captured the bands brutality at their finest. Heavy detunes guitars, pounding drums and blood thirsty vocals make this a fine 2014 album indeed. Mark has worked with such bands as Devildriver, Trivium and many more so working with Cannibal Corpse was a challenge for him, which has certainly paid off. This album features 12 head splitting tunes, an album which is surely going to piss our neighbors off ... so play it loud!!!! It's a typical Cannibal album capturing some technical and brutal riffs by some fine musicians. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: High Velocity Impact Spatter, Sadistic Embodiment, Kill or Become, A Skeleton Domain, Headlong into Carnage, A Murders Pact, Icepick Lobotomy, Hollowed Bodies. Buy today you won't be disappointed I fucking love it!! Now I just want to see them tour with Malevolent Creation.. the 2 finest Death Metal bands around today since Death!!
Striker "City of Gold" Napalm ***
Striker are a new band on me but not new on the underground scene by far. Formed back in Edmonton (Alberta) Canada this young band have made a name for themselves like Exciter, Vio-Vod, Annihilator and of course Anvil to name a few. This 5 piece of new young hopefuls are certainly making a new for themselves, mixing power metal with thrash metal, with vocals reminding me of across between Andy from Brainstorm, a young Halford, and the music coming across between Dream Evil, Hammerfall, Savage Grace to name a few seems to mix well with hints of Annihilator. Vocals are great and mix well with the super fast and yet melodic music that sometimes has hints of Exciter in their music. The bands musical influences are interesting to me, as they like such bands as Racer X, Crimson Glory, Vicious Rumors, Saxon, Judas Priest, King Diamond and many more.. Now if the band mixed all these into their music it would certainly be killer stuff. Having said that the music and vocals are good, soaring vocals at times makes it slightly different from the newer modern Thrash/ Power Metal bands that are around today. The band released their debut album 'Eyes in the Night', which was a success in their home country and the underground scene. it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Armed to the Teeth' which was produced by Michael Wagner who certainly did an excellent job. Now the band are back with this new stunning album 'City of Gold', released throw Napalm Records, which features 11 trax of pure metal to the core, some impressive guitar riffs and some soaring at times vocals, which I recommend. The band consist of Dan Cleary (vocals), Tim Brown (guitars), Chris Segger (guitars), Adam Brown (drums) and bassist William Wallace. I have to check out the bands previous albums as this is a decent album what any real metal head should check out. Songs on the album I like are: Underground, City of Gold, Start Again, Bad Decisions, All for One, Second Attack, All I Want, Taken by Storm. A fine album indeed and there some fine music and vocals here... I highly recommend.
Evergrey "Hymns For The Broken" AFM *****
It's been a few years since the last album by Evergrey, a classic that it was titled 'Glorious Collision' released through SPV and saw the band touring with Kamelot, a great tour that was. The band were formed back in the mid 90's and it was in 98 when the band released their debut album 'The Dark Discovery' through GNW records in Sweden. The birth of the band was born and it wasn't long before the band were releasing their 2nd album 'Solitude.. Dominance...Tragedy' also through GNW. In 2001 the band signed with Inside Out the label who brought you Symphony X, Vanden Plas and many more fine Progressive Metal bands. With 8 previous album behind them there was no stopping the band. Of course they had line up changes and in 2014 the classic line rejoined to record this new album. With Tom, Rikard, Johan, Hendrik and Jonas back on board this is yet another masterpiece of classic Evergrey on top form. I have to say there isn't 1 bad song on this album, every cut is a classic of of pure energy and power that makes this band standout. Produced by Jacob Hansen (Voltbeat, Pretty Maids) and many more and once the guitarist for his previous band Invocator the team of musician's and producer have made an incredible strong album indeed. With the album containing 12 songs and 3 bonus tracks on the digi pack this is truly a masterpiece worth checking out. All the musician's shine through and Tom's vocals are on top form indeed. Each song has a different feel and mood and flows really well as the album progresses, for instance you can hear a up temp song which is catchy and on the other hand some really cool ballads also thrown in. Who said metal music is just a bunch of noise and tenantless idiots? Evergrey put the strength back into metal music. Both guitar work by Tom & Henrik shine through with some amazing solo's like the song 'Black Undertow' is one hell of a awesome song. Other songs I suggest you check out are: King of Errors, A New Dawn, Wake a Change, Archaic Rage, The Fire, Hymns for the Broken, The Grand Collapse. A true classic album that shine through from start to finish... One of the best albums of 2014, so buy a copy today you will not be disappointed with it.
October 31 "Bury The Hatchet" Hell Headbangers ***
After so many years October 31 return with their new album 'Bury The Hatchet', their long awaited new album. Formed by Deceased drummer King Fowler, the is the front man for October 31, they return with yet another fine 80' style metal album. The band were formed back in roughly 96, the band recorded demos and sent them to various labels and in 97 the band released their debut album 'Hell Awaits You' through R.I.P Records, something I own and it's rather rare now. The band soon recorded their next release, an EP titled 'Visions of The End, which was followed by 'Meet Thy Maker' in 99. More EP's and albums followed and now the band return with this 'Bury The Hatchet' in 2014. The band still remains to with original bassist Jim Hunter, King Flower and guitarist Brian William's, who have managed to keep the band together, along with new members Sean Wilhide on drums and guitarist Matt Ibach. This is a typical album by October 31, great old school production and songs and a must for fans of old school metal like. It's good to see a band make a comeback and after see in the band at Wacken 2000, we had some great times hanging out with the band after the show and in the airport. King Flower and co mare real metal warriors like myself who believe that the 80's offered the best music and I agree, if it wasn't for the 80's there would not be half the band around today. The band have been rather quiet for some time but now return with this new album that defines true 80's metal sound and production with this masterpiece cutting 10 hard hitting thrash style metal riffs. If I had to compare this bands music it would be a across between Sentinel Beast, Bloodlust, with the likes of early slayer 'Show no Mercy' era. This is truly a raw and savage sounding album that makes you back to the good old days. Songs on the album to check out are: Tear ya Down, Bury the Hatchet, Under my Gun, Growing Old, Gone to the Devil, been the strongest songs on the album. A decent album and it's good to see the band back on the scene.
Kissin Dynamite "Megalomania" AFM ***
Kissin Dynamite are a band from southern Germany, a young talented band who have so far released 4 albums to date. The band were still in school when they released their debut album 'Steel of Swabia' which was released on a major label. For a young band still at school this was something amazing but school work still needed doing, and so rehearsing became something of difficulty at the beginning. Having interviewed the band I remember them saying that gigs was hard with school next day this has now all changed. Since the release of their debut album the band have played such festivals like 'Bang Your Head' to where I 1st discovered the band and I was pretty blown away by how young they were and how much talent they had. It wasn't long before the band signed to AFM and the 2nd album was released 'Addicted to Metal' in 2010, a great album indeed full of energy and fine songs. With this release been so strong it was going to be hard for them to beat it on the next one and with 'Money.. Sex.. Power' in 2012 was a pretty fine album, some catchy hooks and the band heading for a more glam image a bit like Reckless Love. Musically they come across between Fatal Smile, Reckless Love and bands of that nature... not so much hard edged as they once were sadly but still a young and interesting band that the youth of today will enjoy. This new album 'Megalomania' is a pretty decent album, maybe not as strong as their previous album or should I say they have taken a different approach to that of their previous albums. There is nothing wrong with change and sometimes it's for the best... time will tell for this band but I believe they are following their hearts so how am I to judge? This album however has a great production which comes with 10 hard hitting songs that I am sure you will love. I have to admit I am not a fan of the glam side of metal too much but hey it's better than all this shouting shit that's happening with today's music, I have to respect this band for hang in there. Some of the songs on the album I enjoy are: DNA, VIP in Hell, Fireflies, Running Free, Legion of the Legendary, Ticket to Paradise. This album for me actually get's better towards the end, strange I no but it's true. Give the album a spin it's pretty cool stuff.
Wolf "Devil Seed" Century Media ****
It's good to see the band Wolf return with yet another epic Power Metal album. Formed back in 95 by guitarist & front man Niklas Stalvind who is the only original member left who has continued to keep the spirit of Wolf alive. With the band releasing their debut album back in 1999 which was released through No Fashion/ Massacre records. This saw the band 'Black Wings' in 2002 and in 2004 I discovered the band with 'Evil Star', an impressive album it is and so the band soon signed to Century Media in 2006 for the next album 'The Black Flame'. Two more albums were recorded with Century Media and some successful tours with the likes of Accept and appearances at Bloodstock and many more followed. Now Niklas returned with ex Tad Morose bassist Anders Modd, Simon Johansson (guitars) and drummer Richard Holmgren. This Power Metal band play some cool tunes with high screaming vocals and of course that Swedish style metal sound we all come to love. If you listen too the bands previous albums you cann hear how much the band have progressed over the years and they have now found their own style which is great to hear!! This new album 'Devil Seed' is yet another step up the ladder and if the song 'Shark Attack', shows just how much of a Rob Halford scream Niklas can come up with, impressive indeed and the song speaks for itself. The album comes with 11 trax, 2 bonus on digi pack which features covers by Q5 'Missing in Action', a great band Q5 are, and of course Judas Priest 'Rocka Rolla', something which sounds interesting and these 2 songs I have yet to hear. The album was produced by Jens Bogren (Opeth) who has done the album justice and given it that retro 80's sound. Songs to check out are: Shark Attack, Skeleton Woman, Surgery of Lobotomy, My Demon, Back from the Grave, The dark Passenger, Frozen, Killing Floor. A great album by a great Swedish band, go see them live in September if you can and grab this album today. There's no stopping the big bad wolf so make sure you get this masterpiece!!
220 Volt "Walking In Starlight' AOR Heaven ***
Does anybody old enough remember this band from Sweden back in the day when they released albums dating back to 83? I remember one album by this band which was called 'Mind Over Muscle' a great album which was released back in 85. The band were actually formed back in 79 by guitarists Mats Karlsson & Thomas Drevin. The 2 are still to this day the only original members who have been part of this album 'Walking in Starlight'. The band released their debut album on CBS back in 83 which was self titled and it certainly made a name for itself which made the band release further successful albums like 'Mind Games' in 84 3 more albums would follow until the band broke up back in and 92 but released the next album 'Lethal Illusion' in 97. It was back in the last year or so that both guitarists decided to reform the band with the help of ex Twilight/ Section A/ Lions Share vocalist Andy Engburg to handle the vocals, a great singer who I admire for his work with his previous bands. Joining his is also Peter Hermansson. The 4 have released this new album for AOR Heaven records, and collaborated some really fine melodic rock/ metal songs. With the band back on top form this is a really good comeback album featuring some of the finest music they have done and with the band been from Sweden I shall say no more about the musicianship... Awesome!! The album features 13 songs, and remind me of maybe John Norum's solo albums, Nation, Skagarack, Europe as well as the bands previous style of melodic metal. Production is pretty good, maybe a little stronger on the drums might of helped make this a more solid sounding album, but still a good mix. Songs on the album to check out are: Walking in Starlight, System Overload, Alive, Blind, Waiting, Take a Good Look, One Good Reason. A pretty impressive comeback album, let's hope they make more than 1 album. If you're a fan of the above bands and melodic Swedish metal this is for you. It's good to see bands like this make a comeback and deliver quality albums like they use too.
Fozzy "Do You Wanna Start A War?" Century Media ***
Formed back in 99 in Atlanta (Georgia) by wrestler Chris Jericho when he met Rich Ward (Former Stuck Mojo) and a good friend of mine when Stuck Mojo made a video for the song 'Rising', which was filmed in a wrestling ring and I guess this made a friendship between Rich and Chris which later on developed into the formation of 'Fozzy Osborne' originally but changed their name to 'Fozzy' later on. Both Chris & Rich have built a strong friendship over the years and have continued to carry on with Fozzy even if Chris tends to wonder off doing his Wrestling. The band also features ex Stuck Mojo Drummer Frank Fontaser, who at that time went under a different name, so the band were pretty much building up a decent strength within their music having ex Mojo's members and Chris on board. The bands current line up is the 3 members already mentioned with Billy Grey (guitars) and bassist Paul Di Leo to complete the current line up, which has been strong for the last few albums. The band have had a few labels in the past but a steady Century Media contact has kept both parties happy. This is the bands 6th album since the release of the bands debut back in 2000, which was just self titled. I have to say the band have a hint of Stuck Mojo in their music still with hints of Black Label Society which seems to mix well, a heavy grove style of metal. Chris vocals are pretty good despite his live performance not been the strongest having heard him at Bloodstock. Musically it's pretty good stuff and I would say the new generation of metal heads will like this and some of the old fans too. Produced by Rich Ward, the man certainly knows how to produce a solid album that is suited to this style of music. The album comes with 12 of pure hard rocking groovy style metal which is pretty cool stuff. Songs on the album you should check out are: Bad Tattoo, Brides of Fire, One Crazed Anarchist, Unstoppable, No Good Way, Witchery. This is somewhat a more commercial album to that of the past but still rather enjoyable. This is a band that the younger generation will love and most certainly go and see live... There a great live and energetic band to see live full of energy and power, a band that will be playing a lot of festival either this year or next. Grab a copy if you're a fan of their previous albums.
Grave Digger "Return Of The Reaper" Napalm ****
Germany has some of the finest metal band's around since the N.W.O.B.H.M with acts like The Scorpions, Accept been the godfathers of German Metal. Other bands would follow such as Kreator, Running Wild, Destruction, Blind Guardian and many more... Grave Digger are one of those bands who started back in 80 and released such albums as 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' 84, 'Witch Hunter' 85 and 'War Games' 86 been their finest albums. A quick band change in 87 under the name of Digger who released only 1 album 'Stronger Than Ever' was a slightly more different and commercial approach which didn't do the band much justice, but still a good album for what it was. Returning to traditional German Power Metal in 93 with 'The Reaper' the band have continued to make some impressive albums ever since that release. With the band releasing 16 studio albums, some EP's and DVD's the band really are going strong. The band featured Manni Schmidt (ex Rage) who left the band between 2009/2010 due to personal and musical differences. His replacement was Axel Ritt (Axxis) took over the guitar duties and the band are now back with this new album 'Return of the Reaper', which has an impressive album cover. That is one thing that has to be said about this band, they do some excellent album covers. The band play what they do best.. strong and powerful music with some excellent guitar riffs, pounding double bass drum work and some excellent vocals by founder member Chris Boltendahl who has managed to keep the band alive for over 2 decades and still going strong. This album features 9 impressive metal songs which takes me back to the good old 80's, I don't care what you say you can't beat 80's metal music!! The band continue to play fist banging music, the way metal should be played and I just fucking love it!!! Nice production here which was handled by from a guess by vocalist Chris with the help of the band, which is solid and powerful. Songs on the album to check out are: Dia De Los Muertos, Death Smiles At all of Us, Hell Funeral, Wardog, Tattooed Rider, Season of the Witch, Satan's Host. Great album by a great old school metal band, buy today, there's a ltd double CD which has live and acoustic songs so grab a copy today!!
Sinister "The Post Apocalyptic Servant" Massacre ***
Dutch Death Metal act 'Sinister' return with their new album, the bands 11th studio albums with the band also releasing a couple of split EP's and a live DVD along the way. The band was formed back in 89 and released a sell out demo which soon got the attention of Nuclear Blast in which the label released in 91 the bands debut album 'Cross the Styx', which resulted in the band shocking the Dutch extreme metal scene. The album for a debut received some awesome and positive reviews from the national and world-wide press, to which the band were soon recording the next album 'Diabolical Summoning' in 93. Again the label were impressive with the band and album it wasn't long before the band were touring with some of the bands on Nuclear Blast and playing festival around Europe. The band stayed with Nuclear Blast until 2006 when the band dismembered only to return in 2008 when the band signed to Massacre and in 2010 the band released their next album 'The Silent Howling'. With a fresh new label behind them the band were on the up and onwards, having not looked back ever since. Still playing extreme Death Metal the band to me come across between in their music Vader, Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation and Monstrosity, Deicide so you get some great old school Death Metal bands here. The band remain with the same line-up which they have had in the last few years. This is a must for all old school Death Metal fans out there and to be honest I am rather impressed with this album, certainly better than I thought. The album was produced by Jorg Uken, known for his work with God Dethroned, Dew-Scented to name a few and was recorded at Soundlodge Studios. The album comes with 10 tracks but if you're lucky enough to buy the digi pack you get a bonus of 3 songs extra. Great production here with some brutal and ripping music and same with the vocals. Songs to check out are: The Science Of Prophecy, The Macabre God, The End Of All That Conquers, The Dome of Pleasure, The Post Apocalyptic Servant, The Art Of Skin Decoration, The Savior. To be the strongest songs on the album. If you like the bands previous stuff then this is a great addition to your collection.
Dead End Heroes "Road Kill" AOR Heaven ***
Well here's a new band that's just emerged out of the blue, this is a band put together by some rather well known underground musicians, firstly we have Paul Logue (Eden's Curse), Rolf Munkes (Tony Martin/ Majesty) on guitar, Carsten Schulz (Evidence One) vocals, with drummers handled by Daniel Voegeli and keyboardist Holgar Seeger. The band was put together by Daniel through the internet and by placing ads on the net for form this act, which I am not sure if there a project or band. The results of this band have brought a new fresh sound which for the musician's really does work well as this album has plenty of flavour. It's a good Hard/ Rock album with some hints of Blues thrown in too which really do jell well together. Daniel sent the instrumental songs to Carsten who added lyrics to the songs and after which Paul, Holgar soon joined in the create some really impressive music. If you are a fan of Evidence One, Eden's Curse, or the work the rest of the band have done then this is a real treat for you. When I listen to the 1st song I think of Doogie White with the vocal arrangements and music, with the hint of Deep Purple, Voodoo Circle, 2 really good bands indeed. The record label states that the band sound like Krokus and also Michael Schenker, that may well be the case I will leave that up to you if you purchase this album. I have to say I am a fan of Eden's Curse and also Evidence One so I do like that I am hearing here. This band would be a great act to have at such festivals like 'Firefest', and if you like you're music played well with hints of the above bands then this is for you. The album comes with 11 song which I can only suspect that the band produced the album in which the overall sound is well produced. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Road Kill, Cry for the Moon, Feed the Flames, Storm Front, Hands off the Wheel, And the looser Is, Gamblers Crusade. Not a bad album, some good songs, great musician's and great vocals make this a decent debut album. Check it out. I look forward to hear what they can do in the very near future, till then just check out this impressive debut album.
Nightmare "The Aftermath" AFM ***
French Power Metal act 'Nightmare' return with their latest offering 'The Aftermath', the bands released only 8 previous albums since 84 when the band 1st signed to Hull (UK) label Ebony Records with the release of their debut album 'Waiting for the Twilight' in which the album went into the Japanese charts breaking the band within Japanese metal scene. It was in 85 when the band recorded their next album 'Power of the Universe', which sadly would be the bands last album as the band broke up, only to reform back in 99 when drummer Jo Amore decided to change from drums to lead vocals leaving his brother David to handle the drums. The band have had various line-up changes throughout their career and when the band returned in 99 they continued with Jo & David been the only original members left within the band. The band have a fresh new younger line up which consist of Franck Milleliri (guitars), Matt Asselberghs (guitars) and bassist Yves Campion. The band signed to AFM back in 2009 when the band released the album 'Insurrection'. an album that would change the world for French metal. This of course was an outstanding album and show just how much the band have progressed and with a younger fresh band they certainly brought new ideas to the table. Mixing such Power Metal bands as Vicious Rumors, Brainstorm, Primal Fear to the table the 3 bands just mentioned worked really well for Nightmare. Great reviews followed and it wasn't long before the band released a live DVD 'One night of Insurrection', a great live DVD mixing old and new Nightmare music. Now the band return with this new album 'The Aftermath', which holds 11 pure Power Metal songs that rip you're face off that's for sure. Produced by Mario Lochert at Dreamsound studios in Germany has delivered a fine produced album to say the least. I do think Nightmare are a good band but I also feel that a little more originality wouldn't go a miss, because they sound too much like Brainstorm for my liking. Songs on the album to check out are: Bringer of no man's Land, Forbidden Tribe, Nercomancer, Digital DNA, Alone in the Distance. A decent album, great music and vocals, they just need to find something new to their style and find their own path that's the only criticism I have.
Arch Enemy "War Eternal" Century Media ****
Sweden is one of the places were most of the top musician's come from, not saying the rest of Scandinavia has bad musician's but Sweden seems to be the birth place of most of the finest metal of today. With various style of fine music from the AOR acts to the extreme metal bands such as Death or Black Metal, Sweden has it all. When it comes to extreme metal we hear such acts as At The Gates, Entombed, In Flames and Arch Enemy all holding the flag for extreme metal that has shaped the world of Swedish metal. Arch Enemy are no strangers to metal, having formed back in 2006 by ex Carcass guitarist Mike Amott along with former singer Jonas Livia who formed out of the ashes of Carcass, having still captured some of Carcass music Mike moved on into a band that would shape Swedish metal and take it to another level. Mike and Jonas was joined by Mike's younger brother Christopher Amott were the twin guitar assault would shake the world and take on the world by storm. Later on Daniel would join the band as drummer and still continue within the band to this day. Later on Sharlee D'Angelo (Mercyful Fate) would replace bassist Martin Bengtsson and the birth of Carcass was complete. Jonas left the band in 2000 and was replaced by Angela Gossow, who was a young beautiful woman who had a voice of an demon not an angel as we would expect. The band recorded 6 albums with Angela the 1st been 'Wages of Sin' on 2001. The music within Arch Enemy is melodic but heavy as fuck, and not stopping at nothing the band play what they want without bending any rules. Some would say the best albums were done by Angela or Jonas, the choice is yours. Tons of success within the band with tours, albums and DVD's kind of had its toll on Angela when she decided to leave the band in June 2014 to concentrate on the management side of the band. She was replaced by former Canadian singer Alissa White-Gluz from the band 'The Agonist', a band I have yet to hear. After all she is sexy and also has a voice of a demon, so please don't let the looks deceive you. The band also features guitarist Nick Cordie who joined in 2012 when Chris left the band. This new album has taken me some listening time to get into, it's been a tough album with the loss of Angela to adapt too, as she had such a brutal voice it has become hard to except the band without her for some of us. I have now become more founder of this album but I do feel a spark has left the band as I feel the music has just lost a little edge to it sadly. Please don't get me wrong it's a great album still I just feel there is something missing in the music. This album features 13 songs which was produced by Jens Borgen (Opeth/ Paradise Lost) and has done a fine job. Songs on the album to check out are: Never Forgive Never Forget, War Eternal, As the pages Burn, Stolen Life, Time is Black, Down to Nothing. Great musician's you can't deny that, a good album but it may take a few listens too get use to , it certainly did for me.
Eldritch "Tasting The Tears" Scarlet ****
Italian Progressive Metal band 'Eldritch' are no strangers to the underground metal scene, having formed back in 91 when Eugene Simone (guitars) with Adriano Dal Canto and Terence Holler formed the band. It wasn't long before the band recorded demos and in 93 LMP Music signed them up for a management deal in which the band released their debut album also for LMP Music later on. I was one of those who received their debut demo and I tell you it is an impressive demo indeed. Along with the likes of Labyrinth, Rhapsody of Fire, Eldritch were becoming a name to recognized and soon started to build up a fan base in and around Italy. In 95 the band released their debut album 'Seeds of Rage', which received some impressive reviews world-wide and the band were soon playing more gigs around Italy. It was in 97 when the band released 'Headquake' when they released their 2nd album also for new label 'Inside Out', more excellent reviews and better tours were planned. The band released yet another one album for Inside Out titled 'El Nino', after which the band left the label and signed to Pick Up records in which 2001 was the next album 'Reverse', and yet again resigned to LMP for the next album 'Portrait of the abyss Within' in 2003. The band released yet another 3 album prior to the release of this album. Now signed to Italian label Scarlet who also have One Machine, the band are back and stronger than ever. This album sees Terence along with Eugene carrying the flag for the band, along with new members John Crystal (bass), Rudj Ginanneschi (guitars), Gabreiele Caselli (keyboards), and drummer Raffahell Dridge to complete the new album. This album was produced by Eugene, who has done a great job making the album sound strong as well as the songs. The album comes with 12 tracks of pure Progressive Metal which the music reminds me of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Pagans Mind to name a few... Songs on the album to check out are: Tasting the Tears, Inside You, Waiting for Something, Seeds of Love, Love from a Stone. The band also cover Queensryche's song 'I Will Remember' which is also pretty decent. If you like Progressive Metal and the band then this is for you.
Crowbar "Symmetry In Black" Century Media ***
I haven't heard this band in sometime, although I do won some of the bands previous albums from the 90's, the band just continue to carry on and with front man Kirk Windstein who also plays the guitar and lead vocals, he is joined by Tommy Buckley (drums) have been in the band for some time now. With Kirk and Tommy they are joined by Matt Brunson (guitars), and bassist Jeff Golden to complete the current line up. With the band 1st forming back in 88 in the deep south of the U.S. (New Orleans) the band started to play music which could be best described as Doom/ Sludge Metal, across between Black Sabbath, Trouble, St Vitus, Eye Hate God, Pantera in some way or another. This new album 'Symmetry In Black' is pretty good despite this type of music not been my favourite it still captures some pretty cool riffs and music. With the band releasing their debut album 'Obedience Thru Suffering' back in 91 which was released on Pavement Music from Chicago, this label also had some cool bands like Eternal Bleeding, Malevolent Creation & is run by members of Soil I believe. With that album making it's mark on the band they recorded yet another 7 albums prior to the release of this new album. I remember see in this band live with Napalm Death back & Face Down in the mid 90's, this was a great show. It was the 1st time I had interviewed Crowbar that night along with Napalm Death. Kirk was also with 'Down', the band put together by Phil Anselmo , who had been in the band for 22yrs before concentrating more on Crowbar, Kirk felt his time was with Crowbar than that of Down, who he has remained friends with. This new album was produced by Kirk with the help of Duane Simoneaux and mixed by Josh Wilbur, in which the overall sound is pretty good to say the least, it certainly does the songs justice. I guess if I really was a big fan to be fair I would give this 4/5, but at least I have been honest with myself. Songs on the album to check out are: Walk With Knowledge Wisely, The Taste of Dying, Ageless Decay, Shaman of Belief, Teach the blind to See. If you like the bands previous work then yeah you're going to love this album.
U.D.O. "Steel Hammer - Live From Moscow" AFM ****
Udo Dirkschneider has been one of the godfathers of German Heavy Metal since the late 70's with his previous band 'Accept' along with Klaus Meine from The Scorpions who have arrived the flag of traditional German metal music to this day. With Udo releasing some of the finest Accept albums in the past such as 'Metal Heart', 'Restless & Wild', 'Balls To The Wall', he has really made a name for himself. Now with his own band that have been together since 87 when the band released their debut album 'Animal House ' in 87 which was a great debut and with the success of that album it wasn't long before they released their next album 'Mean Machine' and soon became massive in Russia. Like all bands they go through line-up changes and UDO has had his fair share of those, with recent departures from Igor Gianola (guitars) and Stefan Kaufmann (guitars) both leaving the band and were replaced by Andrey Smirnov & Kasperi Heikkinen to record the bands current studio album 'Steel Hammer', which is an awesome album indeed. The band have released 3 live DVD's to date so there must be a call for the releases with the amount of fans and albums sales the band are gaining. In total UDO have recorded 14 studio albums and various EP's, but still the band don't seem to play the UK, which is a shame as he has a fan base here regardless it been big or small the fans will come out to see the band. If you haven't heard the band before then if you like Accept, Judas Priest. The Scorpions, Saxon then this is the band for you, as the music is heavy but still melodic and UDO's voice is still on top form. This live CD is also released as a live DVD and comes with 21 songs featuring some of UDO's finest work from the bands debut album right up to the new release. There are too many songs to mention here but here are some that you should know or check out: Steel Hammer, Future Land, Cry of the Nation, They want War, Stay True, No Limits, Mean Machine, Burning Heart, Metal Machine, Devil's Bite just to name a few... This is a great addition to you're collection so buy today.
One Machine "The Distortion Of Lies & The Overdriven Truth" Scarlet ****
Well here is a new band that has been put together by ex Testament/ Nevermore/ Forbidden axe man Steve Smyth and ex Mercenary vocalist Mikkel Sandager and ex Biochemical Jamie Hunt also on guitar also bassist Thomas 'O'Beast ex Mnemic and Italian drummer Raphael Saini to complete the line up. Steve has come along way since I 1st met him when he joined Vicious Rumors and his guitar works pretty much says it all, impressive and technical to say the least. Having listened too the album a couple of times I start to hear the likes of some of Steve's old work as well as Mercenary and Biochemical too all rolled into one act which works really well for the band. Other bands that spring to mind are Meshuggah been a pretty big influence to some degree. This is the bands 1st album since Steve moved to the UK, having found a great bunch of musicians to work with and this album shows just how creative the band can be. It is somewhat different in a way to what you would expect but still it's technical and heavy with soaring vocals which could be close to that of Ripper Owens at times. It doesn't matter how you look at it this is a pretty good album for a debut and if you like the above bands mentioned then you will not be disappointed with this release. The band haven't been around for too long but there's always room for improvement and not that this album need much, as it is early stages if you make the debut the best how come you make a better one in the future? This album however comes with 10 hard hitting riffing songs with screaming vocals which is sure to loved by fans of Judas Priest meets Nevermore/ Dream Theater all rolled into one. I really think this is a strong album which will appeal to fans of both old and new and I can see this band playing the likes of many of the top festivals given the chance. The album was produced by Steve, who has done a great job, making the guitar sound heavy as hell, the drums solid and pounding and the vocals on top form. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth, Crossed Over, Kill The Hope Inside, Armchair Warriors, One Machine, Last Star Alights, Freedom & Pain. A great album so grab a copy today.
Massacre "Back From Beyond" Century Media ***
I've always been a fan of the old school Death Metal and when a band like Massacre reform I am always excited to know how the music is going to sound. Back in 84 the band were put together by Allen West (ex Obituary) Bill Andrews and Rick Rozz & Terry Butler (formerly with Death). With the band writing music it wasn't long before Kam Lee joined the band to handle the vocals. Now the band were complete and ready to record demo tapes in which later on Allen left the band leaving the rest to perform without him. It wasn't until 91 when the band signed to Earache records and released their debut album 'From Beyond', which for me was a great album, capturing some pretty intense riffs and impressive vocals. I also had the pleasure of see in the band live with Morgoth and Immolation back in 92, which was a great gig. The band released a mini EP after the debut release which was titled 'Inhuman Condition' which featured a venom cover 'Warhead'. The band sadly broke up and didn't release an album until 96 with the album 'Promise' also for Earache, but sadly this wasn't the finest album the band had recorded. Again the band broke up and it wasn't until 2011 when Rick and Terry formed the band with new singer Ed Webb and drummer Mike Mazzonetto, in which the band started writing new material for this new album 'Back from Beyond' a cool title indeed. The music pretty much remains the same as the debut album, strong , powerful and heavy. If you like the bands debut and such bands like Obituary, Malevolent Creation, Death then I am sure you will enjoy this too. A nice production here which comes with 15 trax if you get a copy of the digi pack, or 13 without. Vocals by Ed are intense and certainly well worth checking out as so many fans of the band would be skeptical about a replacement for Kam Ed actually does a great job. Song son the record I enjoy and I suggest you check out are: As we wait to Die, Ascension to the Deceased, Hunters Blood, Darkness fell, Succumb to rapture, Shield of the Son, Sands of Time, been the best songs. It's all pretty good stuff here so you really can't go wrong with Massacre music. Check it out if you're a fan of Death Metal.
Vicious Rumors "Live You To Death - American Punishment" Steamhammer ***
It's good to see Vicious Rumors still pounding out albums after all these years, I have always been a fan of the band since day 1 when they released 'Soldiers of the Night' back in 85 when the album came out of Shrapnel records, a great debut which featured singer Gary St Pierre, who sadly only recorded the 1st albu and was replaced by the late Carl Albert who was an awesome singer but sadly died in the 90's. Carl recorded some fine album in fact their finest 'Digital Dictator', 'Word of Mouth', 'Welcome to the Ball' and my favourite which was self titled. Not saying that the band have had bad singers after Carl, with James Rivera, Brian O'Conner and Brian Allen to name a few.. but I feel that new singer Nick Holleman isn't the great of the singers the band have had, he maybe a great guy and a decent singer at the newer material but for the old stuff his voice just isn't strong enough sadly. Why they got rid of Brian Allen I will never know? I guess the band have lost a great singer with power. I really do think that the band should of not released this live album just yet until Nick has become a stronger singer at rehearsing the old material at least. I don't know about this album, but the music is excellent as always as the band write some really good tunes as this album shows it. I am not sure if this will be released as a live DVD but I think they are due a live DVD and about time. This album however covers some fine classic Vicious Rumors songs such as: Digital Dictator, Minute to Kill, Towns on Fire, Lady took a Chance, You only live Twice, Don't wait for Me, World Church, Hellraiser, Soldiers of the Night, as well as new songs such as Worlds and Machines, I am the Gun, Electric Punishment, Mastermind. I still respect the band for carrying on but I do feel that Nick needs to strengthen his voice for the older material that's for sure if he's going to remind in the band for the next album. Only time will tell.... Still a great band musically it's just a matter of time to see how well the fans except Nick into the band or not.
Sebastian Bach "Give Um Hell" Frontiers ***
Sebastian Bach was once one the the biggest names in Heavy Metal/ Glam whatever you want to call him and his old band 'Skidrow', having fans of the Glam Metal era as well and you're average metal head would either love or hate them. Most people loved Skidrow and I was one of them you enjoyed their music back in the 90's. Sebastian recorded 2 albums with Skidrow, their self titled album which featured the hit song '18 & life', a very successful debut album which was later on stepped up the ladder with the next album 'Slave to the Grind' an even better and heavier album a multi selling album. The band recorded their last album in 95 with 'Subhuman Race' leaving the rest of the band to find a replacement , whereas Sebastian went onto record as a solo artist. Things would never be the same int eh Skidrow camp that's for sure. Seb has done such things as Broadway since leaving Skidrow before starting his own project up which in the later on featured ex members of Iced Earth/ Death/ Testament and toured the UK as well as Europe under the name of 'Angel Down', and he has only recorded 3 solo albums since leave Skidrow, not many I grant you but nevertheless he has released his new album 'Give um Hell' for Frontiers this year. This album features Duff McKagan (bass) former GnR, Bobby Jarzombek ((drums) Halford/ Fates Warning, and guitarist Devin Bronson to complete the current line up. The album was produced by Bob Marlette and comes with 12 hard rocking songs, having said that I wouldn't say it's as heavy as I thought it would be, but still a rather enjoyable album. It's a sad fact that he isn't the greatest singer live but still a good entertainer that's for sure. At times some of the music reminds me of Ugly Kid Joe with a sorry to say Nirvana sound especially with the song 'Harmony', it has a blend of both artist in one. It's a not bad album but it's nothing that grabs me and throws me out of my chair that's for sure sadly. It has a certainly Seattle feel to the album, not sure why you want to sound the the Grunge style of Metal in someway which is a shame but I guess Sebastian feels he has to do something in that vain. I am not saying it's a full on Seattle sounding album but it certainly isn't a heavy album , sadly. Songs on the album I do like however are: Hell inside my Head, Temptation, Dominator, Gun to a knife Fight, Disengaged.Sadly for me these are the strongest songs the rest is sadly just plain and bland. I am sure if you're a fan of his voice and music then you won't be disappointed.
Veni Domine "Light" Massacre ***
Yet another release form another epic band from Sweden, damn they just keep on coming! Some of you may remember this band from the early 90's, with their impressive debut album 'Fall Babylon Fall', which was recorded in the UK back in 92. The band were originally formed back in 87 with members Torbjorn Weinesjo (guitars), vocalist Fredrik Sjoholm (back then his name was Fredrik Olsson, along with Thomas Weinesjo (drums) with Anders Olofsson. The band have changed various bass players and keyboard players throughout their career but both brothers and vocalist have remained. With the band releasing their debut epic masterpiece it was however a great album capturing across between Doom Metal with some Progressive elements. I really do like the debut album even if at times back then Fredrik's vocals were somewhat out of place with the music at times. It was however a great debut album, which was followed up by the bands 2nd album 'Material Sanctuary' back in 94 and later on 'Spiritual Wasteland' in 98, this was the last album I had heard by the band until now. Having said that the band also went on to record yet another 3 albums priory to the release of this new album 'Light'. So without hearing the other albums I cannot comment on them, but from what I have heard of this new album I have to say it's a damn good album. OK so it's not the must up temp album the band have recorded but I don't know why but this album really does grab me, and for some reason it reminds me of across between Queensyrche meets Pain of Salvation, 2 fine bands indeed. I would say there's the ryche of the new era on this new album in some way or another that I like about this album. Of course Fredrik has done a fine job on this record making the music shine through, which I can't fault it at all. This album was mastered by Erik Marthinsen and Torbjorn mixed the album at 'Skyline Studios' , with the album artwork done by vocalist Fredrik. All in all the album comes with 9 melodic, drifty type tunes with some Doom and mellow Progressive Metal songs. This is a must for fans of the 2 above bands mentioned. Check out: Hope, Farewell, Where the story Ends, Light Last Silence Before Eternity, Waiting, Oh Great City 2014. If you like the bands previous albums you might just like this too. Great Christian Metal indeed.
Outloud "Let's Get Serious" Metal Heaven ***
Greek metal act 'Outloud' return with their new album 'Let's Get Serious', the band that was brought together by Firewind keyboard/ guitarist Bob Katsionis who put this band together back in 2004 but didn't actually record their debut album till 2009 which was titled 'We'll rock you to hell and back Again' which was an impressive debut album to say the least. This album also featured ex Firewind/ Metalium drummer Mark Cross. Bob is a great musician who is multi talented and with this band the music has hint's of Firewind but more in the AOR/ Melodic Metal vain as appose to the Power Metal vibe that Firewind tend to do. This band also features musicians Chandler Mogel (vocals), Sverd (bass) and drummer George Kolias from Nile, now that is cool to see such an extreme drummer in such a melodic metal band. The music however reminds me of Eden's Curse meets such bands as Masquerade (Sweden), TNT, to name a few... I have to say the music is pretty good stuff, some catchy melody hooks and riffs and some impressive vocals too. This is the sort of band that could play 'Firefest' festival in the UK that's for sure and would be a great addition to the festival. The band have also recorded yet another album back in 2011 with the album 'Love Catastrophe', which was also an impressive album. This album features 12 trax which were produced by Bob and the overall sound is solid and sounds great. I am sure this a will become a great selling album for fans of Firewind and melodic metal but certainly not Nile fans unless you're open minded enough to enjoy this album. Songs on the album I enjoyed listening too are: Death Rock, I was so Blind, One more Time, Bury the Knife, Like A Dream, Let's Get Serious, Toy Soldiers. It's a pretty decent album to say the least and at times I hear the likes of Riot. Not a bad album, still a little way to go before the band come up with their most outstanding album in my opinion. I'm sure most fans will disagree with me and nevertheless it will sell good anyway, but yes I do like the album but just feel it doesn't grab me as much as Firewind, sorry.
Below "Across The Dark Water" Metal Blade ***
Sweden has it fair share of various quality metal bands, from melodic Rock, Heavy metal, Power Metal, Thrash and Death etc... metal. Sweden is also known for one of the best places for Doom Metal with Candlemass been the music successful band, which has lead the likes of Tad Morose, Grand Magus, and many more bands to come out of this country. I don't know what it is with Sweden but you're guaranteed to hear some impressive music that's for sure. This 5 piece consist of Zeb (vocals) who sounds like Urban former Tad Morose, Hedman (bass), Paud (guitars), Berg (guitars), Doc (drums) to complete the line up. I am not sure when the band were formed in 2011 debut album 'Across The Dark Water' for Metal Blade records. Bands that spring to mind who they remind me of are Black Sabbath (Dio/ Martin) era, Candlemass, Memento Mori, with some impressive King Diamond type solos, make this a decent album. I have to say that Doom Metal isn't my favourite type of metal but some bands like Below do it well despite it been rather slow and dull at times, Below capture a great sense of melody and great riffs with some excellent singing. I do however wish that some Doom metal would up lift their music, there's only Trouble who seem to do this which is a shame as the music could be more enjoyable at times. This album was produced by non other than Andy La Rocque (King Diamond) at Sonic Train Studios, and as you can imagine Andy has done a great job. The album comes with 8 epic Doom Metal tunes that any fan of this type of music is going to love, for me I rather like them even though there not much up temp tunes there still a good band and they have a excellent sing in Zeb. Songs to check out are: Trapped Under ground, Bid You Farewell, Ghost Of A Shepard, Mare of The Night, Across The Dark Water. Not a bad album, Doom Metal fans will embrace this I am sure of it. Any fans of the above bands will love this album as it captures the whole epic sound of Doom Metal. Are you ready to meet thy maker? Doom metal is back and stronger than ever.
Fatal Smile "White Trash Heroes" GMR *****
One of Sweden's best kept secrets were only discovered about a year ago into my world, having saw one of their videos for the song 'Welcome to the freak Show' whilst been at Yardbirds club in Grimsby UK. I was immediately impressed with their music and having a image which could best be described as across between early Motley Crue meets Cradle of Filth with the music coming across between Skidrow, Pantera meets Hardcore Superstars, really does work well for this band. In this case all the bands mentioned do work really well for the band and the band also have hints of Trouble, Candlemass also in their music. The band have been around since 96 when guitarist Mr Y formed the band with original bassist Marcus Johansson and later on vocalist H.B Anderson , Robin Lagerquist on drums. It was later on when the band released their album 'Beyond Reality' in 2002, which the band were starting to get known around Sweden. With the release of the debut album released it wasn't long before the band recorded their next album 'Neo Natural Freaks' in 2006, again more popularity from around Sweden and now around Europe saw the band starting to get more well known and more success. The bands 3rd album 'World Domination' was the 1st with new singer Thomas Blade who also recorded the next and this new album. Thomas is also joined by Alx (bass) and drummer Philty. Now that the band were recognized on a more of a world-wide basis, this album also saw the band playing with the likes of W.A.S.P., Dio, Twisted Sister, Europe, Queensryche, Doro, Winger and so on.... The band's 4th album 'Welcome to the freak Show', was the album that got me into the band and having saw the band live last year was just fucking amazing. I tell you these guys rule!! This new album sadly sees the band depart as Fatal Smile's current line up. I am not sure what has happened but it's a sad day in the bands history. This album I think has just been released and having heard the album 'White Trash Heroes' is a killer album, very much like the bands last album this is a great album full of energy and power. The debut single 'Like A Rock Star' is awesome, cool song and catchy too. The whole album is melodic and yet heavy and is well produced by Y, to which the whole album sounds killer. We have 10 songs here, of pure hard hitting Metal that will kick you hard from start to finish. Songs to check out are: White Trash Heroes, Like A Rock Star, Heartache & Pain, Dirty Little Secret, I'm The Gun, Down & Out, Reflections From The Past, Give It All. A classic true metal album I highly recommend. I also wish the best of luck to all the band members with their music careers these guys fucking rule!!!! I'll sadly miss you as a band.
Teramaze "Esoteric Symbolism" Nightmare ****
Australian Progressive Metal act Teramaze return with their new album 'Esoteric Symbolism', which followed the bands debut album 'Anhedonia' which was an impressive album which was released back in 2012, the band actually released their debut in 98 titled 'Tears to Dust'. With the band releasing this debut album and it having great success throughout the underground metal scene especially in Australia where metal has started to pick up and bands seem to be moving away from their AC/DC clones that has come out of Australia in the past. I have started to hear some really good bands such as Allegiance, Vanishing Point, Lord, Dungeon and many more. This 4 piece band got the attention of Lance King from Nightmare Records in which he saw some great potentials within the band and soon signed the band up. It was a wise choice on his behalf, and Nightmare Records are a great melodic/ Power/ Progressive metal label indeed. With the bands line up been Brett Rekekura (vocals) who at times has a certain new age of metal approach to his vocals which isn't bad at all. also joined by Dean Wells (guitars), Dean Kennedy (drums), John Zambelis (guitars) to complete the line up. So who do these guys sound like? Well for me bands like Digital Ruin, Fates Warning, Anubis Gate, are 3 bands that spring to mind. A great combination indeed and it certainly works well for this band that is for sure. This album is a much improved album to that of the bands debut which was also a good album but this has more to offer. A great and interesting album that is full of twists and turns that will certainly keep you're heart at interest. I am glad to say that there really isn't any Dream Theater in this bands music, as there are too many bands out there playing type of music who want to sound just like Dream Theater. This album comes with 13 interesting Progressive Metal songs and at times their ideas come close to that of Psychotic Waltz. I am not sure who produced the album but the overall sound is soild, great guitar work and sound and interesting vocals by Brett. Songs on the album to check out are: Line of Symmetry, Transhumanist, Bodies of Betrayal, Spawn, Dust of Martyrs, vii Darkest Days of Symphony. To be the strongest songs on the CD. If you liek Progressive metal then check out this band.
Winger "Better Days Comin" Frontiers ***
U.S. melodic rockers 'Winger' return with their new album. Back in the late 80s, early 90's Winger were a pretty big band which were put together by vocalist & bassist Kip Winger. The band also consist of Reb Beach (guitars), who is also known for his work with Dokken, and now Whitesnake. Along Kip and Reb is drummer Rod Morgenstein Dixie Dregs and bassist John Roth known for his work with Giant. Of which all 4 are well known musicians that have stood the test of time. Formed back in New York the band recorded demo tapes and were soon snapped up by major label Atlantic Records when the band released their self titled debut album in 88, the album that featured the hit single 'Headed for a Heartbreak' and the single 'Seventeen'. Both singles were massive and played on all major rock channels including MTV. The album also featured a cover of Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix with featured Dweezil Zappa and was produced by well known producer Beau Hill. With the band off to a good start the band soon toured and recorded their 2nd album 'In the heart of the Young' back in 90, which was the bands biggest selling album, again with producer Beau Hill, the album became another success. The band were soon to record their 3rd album 'Pull', which was to be sadly the bands last album for Atlantic due to lack of sales and well not so strong songs was the best way of describing the album. The band also soon broke up and later on returned in 2001 with a best of album but in 2007 the band signed to Frontiers when the band released their new album 'IV', bring the band back to a skeptical fan base not knowing if this was the right move. In this case it was a pretty decent come back album and it wasn't long before the band were set to record yet another album 'Karma' in 2009 and now they return with this new album 'Better Days Comin', now the band are ready to take on pretty much anything. Bare in mind most bands that make a comeback never capture that special touch they once had. This album however is a pretty good album that captures a new Winger sound as well as classic Winger material. It comes with a nice production and pretty cool tunes, and songs that I suggest you check out are: Midnight Driver for a love Machine, Queen Babylon, Rat Race, Ever Wonder, Storm in Me, Out of this World. A good solid comeback album to say the least check it out and check them out at Download festival amongst other festivals this summer.
Portrait "Crossroads" Metal Blade ***
Swedish old school metal act 'Portrait' were formed back in 2006 in which the band soon recorded their debut demo tape 'Welcome to my Funeral' which received some excellent reviews in the underground scene and it wasn't long before the band were signed up. With the release of the demo New Iron Age records released the bands debut 7" single titled 'Into the Nothingness' in 2007 which soon brought the attention of Metal Blade records who snapped up the band immediately in 2011 when the band released their next album 'Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae', a long and winded title I must say. With this album off the ground and one of the biggest if not biggest metal labels behind them what could possibly go wrong? Great reviews on a world-wide basis saw this band and album bring back the 80's to a more basic approach. Mixing the likes of Mercyful Fate, Manilla Road, Trouble, Omen, Fates Warning, Warlord, and bands of that nature this was a band that would bring back the classic sound. Vocally Per Lengstedt delivers a King Diamond type of vocals the the table whereas the rest of the band play tight and the overall production is a classic stripped down 80's sound, nothing flash sounding here, it just takes you back to the good old days of real metal music. Produced by Tore Stjerna at Nercomorbus studio's in Sweden, the sound like I said is basic 80's but it captures the spirit of the 80's as if it was today. It's great when you can pick up an album of day that sounds like a 80's album and recording, especially if you grew up in the 80's like I did. The band have played many of the classic European festivals and are now building up a reputation for new and old fans to enjoy. Songs on the album to check out are: At The Ghost Gate, We Were Not Alone, In Time, Ageless Rites, Lily. If you also like a kind of modern sound there are certainly hints of some Black Metal in their music, kind of like a Nordic feel if you know what I mean. A decent album by a decent band bring back the 80's. Listen to a track here :https://soundcloud.com/metalbladerecords/portrait-in-time
Anubis Gate "Horizons" Nightmare ****
Danish Progressive Metal band 'Anubis Gate' return with their new album, the bands 6th album, the band debut was released back in 2004 titled 'Purification' which was released through Locomotive records from Spain. This was indeed a great debut album in which the music reminded me of a band called 'Lord Bane', a band only released 1 album on Nordic Metal, now hard to find as well as bands such as Crimson Glory were the 2 bands that sprung to mind. Other bands that crept into the music was Lethal, Queensryche and Fates Warning. I think you are now getting the perfect picture. Formed back in 2001 by Jesper M Jensen and Morten Sorensen (Pretty Maids), who later on was joined by Torben Askholm and Henrik Ferve and Kim Olesen to complete the bands line up. With the debut album off the ground it was receiving some excellent review world-wide by the press and it wasn't long before the band recorded their next album 'A Perfect Forever' in 2005. Making yet another step up the ladder this was a great 2nd edition to the bands history. 2 more albums would be released through Locomotive until 2009. It was in 2011 when the band signed to Nightmare records in the U.S., a great label that specializes in this type of music. The bands debut album for this label was self titled, and later on came this new album. In between the making of this new album was an EP titled 'Sheep' which featured an awesome version of Mr Mister's 'Broken Wings', a fine tribute to a great band. The current line up for this band is now Kim Olesen (guitars), Henrik Ferve (bass/ vocals), Michael Bodin (guitars), and drummer Morten Sorensen. The band have come along way since the early days and yes they still capture the some of the bands early influences but have also adapted some of their own too. There's no doubt about it this is a great album which was produced by Jacob Hansen, a well known musician and produced now in Denmark, who has done an excellent job. The album comes with 10 perfectly written Progressive Metal songs that I highly recommend. Songs on the album that stand out are: Destined To Remember, Hear My Call, Airways, Revolution Come Undone, Horizons, A Dream Within A Dream. It's a great album by a great band who can play and a singer who can sing too. So if you haven't discovered the band yet now is the time to do so.
Mekong Delta "In A Mirror Darly" Steamhammer ***
German Progressive Metal band 'Mekong Delta' return with their new album, the bands 11th album since the band formed by bassist Ralph Hubert, who had originally worked as a sound engineer for such bands as Warlock, Steeler and Living Death. Later on he formed Mekong Delta back in 87 when the band released their debut album Ralph was not a member of the band but the band featured Peavy from Rage, and with Jorg Michael (Stratovarius) on drums, along with members of Living Death, whereas Ralf would work as producer before Peavy left the band it was Ralph's duties to become the new bassist in the band. Any line up changes the band have had since the debut album and with their strange and weird brand of Progressive Metal mixing somewhat sounds of Voi-Vod in one way or another. The band also created their own style of strange and bizarre Progressive Metal that would influence the likes of Psychotic Waltz, in which Ralph would work with the band at some point in their careers. Mekong Delta are not an easy band to get into and still not I find myself finding it hard to adapt to their strange and unique style of metal music. Hat's off to them for creating a new breed of metal music that seems to have influenced a lot of bands that you would not even think about. With the bands current line been Ralf Hubert (bass / classical guitar), Martin LeMar (vocals), Erik Grosch (guitars) and drummer Alex Landenburg the 4 have made 8 albums in total together throughout the years. Impressive I know, the band just keep on making weird and beautiful albums and you really have to be open minded to appreciate what they are doing. The band last album also for Steamhammer 'Intersections' was released in 2012 which shows how much the band have progressed but still kept their unique style of music. This new album was also produced by Ralph, making it yet another finely produced album indeed and it also shows how much the band are willing to experiment in what they do best. The album only features 8 songs, song that I fin interesting yet still hard to grasp are: Armageddon Machine, Hindsight Bias, Mutant Messiah, Inside The Outside.Strange and interesting band to say the least, if you are open minded then this is for you.
Helstar "This Wicked Nest" AFM *****
Power Metal gods 'Helstar' return with their new stunning album, the bands 9th studio album have been on the scene since 82. Front man James Rivera & Larry Barragan have kept the spirit of Helstar alive for decades. Having said that Larry quit the band at some point whereas James did other bands such as 'Distant Thunder' & 'Destiny's End', to which both had Helstar influences . The band have come along way since the debut album 'Burning Star' back in 84 which was released on Combat Records. I 1st discovered the band on a album called 'Hell Comes to your House' which was released on the band European label 'Music For Nations' which also had Anthrax, Metallica and many more acts back in the 80's. With the release of the band debut album 'Burning Star' off the ground which was a OK album has become a classic. It was the band 2nd album 'Remnants of War' which for me show the band taking a massive leap of faith and made an awesome album, a much heavier and more technical album indeed. For me this was the turning point for the band and the bands music just went on the up. I have to say that the bands 3rd and 4th albums for me are my all time favourites and properly most of you will agree. With the band releasing 8 studio albums it really does say a lot about a band and this new album is awesome. If you liked the bands last 2 albums then you're sure going to like this album too. Packed with the classic Helstar sound along with some Black Metal type of vocals here and there is something that James has started to do. OK so it's not everybody's cup of tea and the same can be said for me too, but you can't deny that James is a great singer who has influenced so many great Power Metal singers of today. This new album only features 4 members has bassist Jerry Abarca left the band but was replaced by Matj Susnik, who played live with them around Europe and UK a couple of years ago and is only a session member of the band. This album was produced by the band with the help of Craig Douglas who has done an excellent job making all the instruments shine through and the guitars having a heavy as hell sound, and the drum pound like a mad man along with James soaring vocals. The album features 9 head ripping Power Metal tunes with attitude and power. I can't fault this album or band and they really are one best at what they do, not knocking other band I love and admire but Helstar is my favourite with Omen. Songs on this album to check out are: Fall of Dominion, Eternal Black, This Wicked Nest, Cursed, It Has Risen to be the finest of the songs on the album. Any fan of the band is going to love this, just hope they come back to the UK soon. Buy this great album, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Savage Messiah "The Fateful Dark" Earache ****
British Thrash Metal band 'Savage Messiah' return with their 3rd album, formed back in 2007 by vocalist/ guitarist Dave Silver along with Joff Bailey also on guitar, the 2 had a vision to create a new Thrash Metal band with some Power Metal influences. The 2 also found drummer Andrea Gorio and bassist Mira Slama in which the band recorded their debut demo tape which was sent to all the major metal labels in which a deal with Candlelight was sealed back in August 2010 when the band released their debut album 'Insurrection Rising', which was produced by Chris Tsangariders (Judas Priest/ Thin Lizzy) but the band had already released an EP prior to the release of the album titled 'Spitting Venom' on SMR Records in 2007. With the release of both the EP and the debut album the band were receiving some excellent reviews and building a fan base. In 2010 the band signed to Earache Records, Nottingham based UK label what brought you the likes of Morbid Angel, Napalm Death and later on bands like Annihilator. it was in 2012 when the band released 'Plague Of Conscience' to which the band were not on top form and delivering some fine British metal, mixing the likes of such bands like Over Kill, Testament with the likes of Pantera, among other acts seems to be working well for the band. Now the band return with their new album 'The Fateful Dark', a fine album of British Thrash Metal mixed with some U.S. Thrash, kind of a mixture of Over Kill meets Slammer (UK) seems to work wonders for this band. This album features 10 heavy but yet melodic metal tunes that any fan of Thrash or Power Metal will love to hear. Produced by Scott Atkins, a producer I haven't heard of before has done this album justice to say the least. I really do like this band, there fresh and it's something that the UK scene needed, some fine music and some great vocals makes this an album to check out. Songs on the album to check out are: Iconocaust, Minority Of One, Cross Of Babylon, Live As One Already Dead, The Fateful Dark, Scavengers Of Mercy, The Cursed Earth. A great band and a great album, I suggest you check out this album, fine British metal indeed.
Sinbreed "Shadows' AFM ***
German Power Metal act Sinbreed, formed back in 2008 by Blind Guardian guitarist Marcus Siepen and Frederik Ehmke , who formed this band as a side project. The band recorded their debut album 'When Worlds Collide' which was released in 2010. With the success of that album it wasn't long before the band started work on their next CD and also signed to AFM, to record this new album 'Shadows'. To be honest I have not heard the debut album so I can't judge or compare it to this new album, but this album isn't bad at all. I wouldn't say I would go crazy over it but it's good solid Power Metal , which moves away from the Blind Guardian style of metal. This new band features singer Herbie Langhans (vocals), Flo Laurin (guitars), Marcus Siepen (guitars), Frederik Ehmke (drums) and bass player Alexander Schulz. With the band off the ground it wasn't long before they were playing the Progpower in the U.S amongst other places, with their growing success. The band have come a long way since the debut album and as the band continues to grow so will the music become much stronger. With the band's debut album been produced by Markus Teske, who had worked with Vanden Plas, Symphony X, Saga and more also worked on this new album as well, giving the album a solid production, heavy guitar sound and pounding drums. The album comes with 10 blistering hard hitting powerful Power Metal songs that remind me of the following bands, Hammerfall, U.D.O, Morton, Saxon and maybe Judas Priest. It's a good combination of of the mixed bands mentioned and certainly has that Euro Power Metal sound, a good solid singer and music makes a good album. Songs on the album to check out are: Bleed, Shadows, Reborn, Leaving the Road, London Moon. These are the strongest songs on the album, not a bad album and there's always room for improvement, still it's a decent real metal album at least. Check out the album it's a decent album but certainly not the best Power Metal album so far in 2014. I am sure they are good live, so go grab the album when you can and see them live.
Hatriot "Dawn Of The New Centurion" Massacre ***
This band was formed out of the ashes of ex Exodus singer Steve Zetro who recorded such albums as 'Pleasures of the Flesh' ,'Fabulous Disaster' who recorded 5 albums with the band , ending up with 'Tempo of the Damned' in 2004. Steve was also the original singer for Testament when they were called 'The Legacy'. Steve also recorded with the band 'Dublin Death Petrol' & 'Tenet'. Over the last few years Steve has been rather quiet but returned with his brand of Exodus style Thrash Metal in the form of 'Hatriot' with son's Cody (bass) and Nick (drums) Souza , along with guitarists Kosta V and J.C. Justin Cole to form this band. This is the band's 2nd album for German label Massacre, their debut 'Heroes of Origin' back in 2013. It's good to see a good singer that has influenced a lot of thrash metal bands and singer return with half his family within the band. I wasn't too sure what to expect from his new band, but having heard that Exodus sound I thought that Rick Hunolt had also joined this band but I was wrong, it was the sound of Exodus that kind of tricked me, and I bet it did the same to those who also heard the debut album. I guess some musician's can't let go of their past , were the success was once with them, nothing wrong with that kind of just a shame that some of their past still haunts them. This is a pretty good album however, capturing the old school Bay Area Thrash sound that we have all come to love. It's good to see Steve back and with his new band about to tour the UK and Europe with Onslaught and Artillery shortly this is a great time to check them out live and on CD. This album features 9 songs which were produced by Juan Urteaga who has worked with Testament, Skinlab, Heathen, Exodus whilst the artwork was done by Mark Devito known for his work with Motorhead, Laaz Rockit, Ruffians, and of course Exodus. The overall production is solid, clear and has given the overall production a heavy approach but hey you need a heavy sound for Thrash Metal. Songs on the album to check out are: Your worst Enemy, The Fear Within, Honor In the rise & Fall, Silence in the house of the Lord, World Funeral, and Dawn of the new Centurion. If you like old school thrash then this is for you, it's going to be a great tour for them with Onslaught and Artillery so go see them I'll be there.
Pretty Maids "Louder Than Ever" Frontiers *****
t's great to see and hear that the Pretty Maids are back with a new album and a tour soon. I have been a massive fan of this band since the release of 'Red Hot & Heavy' back in the day, this album just blow me away at the age of 14 . Since then I have bought and supported the band ever since and they are my all time favourite Danish metal band. I'm also a fan of Artillery, Jackal, King Diamond and so on too but this band just grabbed me from the start. The band have been delivering quality albums ever since their debut E.P. and they have recorded some amazing albums such as 'Future World', 'Jump The Gun', 'Sin Decade' and later on albums such as 'Scream', 'Planet Panic', 'Pandemonium' and the band last album 'Motherland'. Both original members Ronnie Atkins and Kenneth Hammer have continued to keep the flame alive and let nothing get in their way. The band have seen drummers and bassist's come and go but the band are stronger than ever now with Rene Shades (bass) ex Mike Tramp's band, Morten Sandager (keyboards) ex Mercenary and drummer Allan Tschicaja the band are on top form. The band's last album 'Motherland' was a great album packed with energy and some fine catchy tunes. This new album is a mixture of old songs reworked with new producer Jacob Hansen and some new additional songs, which the band recorded in between the last tour in 2013. On 1st listen I was really excited to hear the album but I didn't know the album featured old revamped songs, so on 1st hearing about the old songs been featured on this record I was kind of disappointed, but I soon grow to love the songs reworked. This is a taster of what will come very soon when the band record their new album hopefully in 2014. I just can't fault the band, having only ever seen them twice I look forward to see in and having beers with them again soon. This album features 12 songs, like Is aid half new and half reworked tunes, which were produced by Jacob who is one of the top metal producers in Denmark now along with Tue Madson. So what we have here are the following revamped songs: Playing God, Psycho Time Bomb, He Who Never Died, Virtual Brutality, Tortured Spirit, With These Eyes, Snakes In Eden, Wake Up The Real World. These songs sound great and with new songs like: A Heart Without A Home, Nuclear Boomerang, My Soul To Take, Deranged. This is a must for any fan of the band, highly recommended. Welcome back guys you always have a place in my heart you rock!!
Brainstorm "Fire Soul" AFM ****
German Power Metal act 'Brainstorm' return with yet another album. I wasn't sure if the band would ever record another album but I am glad they have as they have been rather quiet for some time. Having formed back in 89 by guitarist's Torsten with Milan and drummer Dieter. The 3 looked for a bass player and singer and it wasn't long before the band were recording their debut demo, which got the band interests locally in Germany. The band recorded 90 the band signed to B.O. Records who also had Paragon and released their debut album 'Hungry', a great debut with also featured singer Marcus Jurgen and bassist Andreas Mailander. With this album released the band were soon playing Wacken and then recorded their 2nd album 'Unholy', and it wasn't long before the band signed to Metal Blade to which the band recorded 5 albums, 2 of which broke the band into the big time, these albums were 'Liquid Monster' and 'Soul Temptation'. Having played with bands like Vicious Rumors and many more fine acts the band were on the up. It was by 2008 when the band recorded their last album for Metal Blade 'Downburst' and in 09 the band signed to AFM with the next album 'Memorial Roots', which was a good album and followed by 'On the spur of the Moment' which was a little disappointment, something to which I thought was the last record for the band. I'm glad to say it wasn't and they have now comeback with this great new album 'Fire Soul' a great album indeed, taking you back to the good old Brainstorm material. This album is a strong album with plenty of melodic riffs and soaring vocals by Andy Black, the band are back with one of their strongest albums in some time. The album features 10 trax of pure melodic Power Metal, still in the tradition of their early style which was produced by the band with the help of Achim Koehler who has worked with some of the finest German bands around. The album comes with 10 trax, and the digi pack features 2 bonus track and there is also a ltd edition which also features a live CD, so that's worth checking out. This is a great comeback CD which shows the band getting back to basic and delivering a powerful album indeed. Songs to check out are: Erased by the Dark, Firesoul, Descendants of the Fire, Recall the Real, Feed me Lies, What grows Inside, The Chosen. A great album and a must for all fans of Power Metal and any brainstorm fan will not be disappointed at all.
Magnum "Escape From The Shadow Garden" Steamhammer ***
British rock veterans Magnum continue to create classic rock ever since they started back in early 70's when guitarist Tony Clarkin later on met vocalist Bob Catley. In 78 the band signed to Jet Records, the same label as Ozzy's was signed too. Having toured with Whitesnake and later on with Tygers Of Pan Tang the band were soon establishing a growing following by fans around the UK and in Europe. With the release of the bands debut 'Kingdom of Madness' back in 78. The band have gone through lots of line up changes since the beginning of their career, but only Bob & Tony remain the strong hold of the band. It hasn't been an easy road for the band far from it, but after 17 albums the band still manage to pull it off and show just how much dedication they have. Having played some of the biggest festivals, Reading, Monsters of Rock and so on the band still manage to pull in crowds maybe not so as big as they use to but the band still have what it takes to create good music. For me it has to be 'On A Storytellers Night', this was the album that really got me into the band, for me its their finest album. Joining Bob and Tony is long time keyboardist Mark Stanway and newer members ex Thunder drummer Harry James and bassist Al Barrow. The band have had a few labels in their time from Jet to HM records, to Polydor, Music For Nations, EMI, to SPV to were the band have stayed since 'Breath Of Life' in 2002. They have also released several live CDs and a couple of live DVD's too. It doesn't matter if you love or hate the band there not going anywhere in the very near future if they can help it and I respect them for keeping on going creating good music. This album features 11 songs and also comes as a limited version which has a DVD with it featuring live material, so it is worth getting a hold of if you can. I can only say that the album was produced by Tony and is a great solid sounding album with some fine hard rock/ progressive songs that any fan of the band old or new would appreciate. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Livin To You Die, Unwritten Sacrifice, Crying In The Rain, Too Many Clowns, The Art Of Compromise, Burning River. A decent album by a great legends of Rock, buy it today it's a good album.
Iron Savior "Rise Of The Hero" AFM ***
German Speed/ Power Metal band 'Iron Savior' return with their new stunning album 'Rise Of The Hero' through AFM Records. Founded back in 96 by Gamma Ray front man Kai Hansen along with Piet Sielck and Blind Guardian's Thomen Stauch, when the 3 had a vision to form a side project that would be Iron Savior and to create a new style of Power Metal which was away from their previous bands. Having said that there are hints of Blind Guardian's vocal harmonies in this bands music. Since the band has formed both Kai and Thomen have both left the band leaving Piet to carry on with the band and to replace both Kai and Thomen with new members. The band however have released 7 previous album since 97 when the band released their self titled album through Noise International,a label that went under and had some of the finest German acts such as Kreator, Destruction and many more acts worldwide. Joining Piet in the current line up is Joachim Kustner (guitars), Jan-Soren Eckert (bass) and drummer Thomas Nack. This new album sees the band carrying on in their traditional form of the Gamma Ray/ Blind Guardian/ Accept style of metal music. The album was produced by Piet who has done a pretty good job and the album features a cover of Mando Diao's 'Dance With Somebody', and after listening too it I really don't recognize it at all and comes with 12 trax, 1 extra on the digi pack and yet another extra song on the Japanese version too. I have to say I am not a big fan of this type of Power Metal, it's OK don't get me wrong but I much prefer German bands like Gamma Ray, Brainstorm etc... that have either the N.W.O.B.H.M or the American edge of Power Metal. If you like this style of Power Metal or the band in general then don't take my word for it you will love this album regardless. When I listen too the album there is one song called 'Thunder From The Mountains' which at the beginning sounds like Helloween's 'Ride The Sky', a good song as you may hear if you buy this album. Other songs I enjoyed on the album are: Last Hero, Burning Heart, Iron Warrior, Dragon King. Not a bad album but not really my thing when it comes to Power Metal. Like I said if you're a fan you will love this album. Watch out for a tour of Europe this year and maybe 1 or 2 UK shows too.
Vanishing Point "Distant Is The Sun" AFM ****
Well here's a band from the past, Australia's Vanishing Point return with their long awaited album 'Distant Is The Sun' for new label AFM. This band formed back in the mid 90's and released their debut album through German label 'Angular', who also signed Eternity X among others. The band released their debut album in 97 entitled 'In Thought' which I own and is a pretty good album for a debut and different for a band to come out of Australia, most sound like AC/DC sadly. This album and band were a breath of fresh air when I heard the debut album. Having released the album it wasn't long before the band released 'Tangled In Dreams' in 2000, this also saw the band playing Wacken which they played a great set to a lot of new fans from the world. I remember meeting and hang out with them that year, we had a blast! The band have released more albums than I thought, in fact they have released 5 albums to date including this new album. This new album sees the band return with original singer Silvio Massaro and guitarist Chris Porctanko been the only original members left from the beginning when they 1st started out. The 2 original members are joined by new members James Maier (guitars), Simon Best (bass), and drummer Christian Nativo to complete the current line up. There are some food Progressive bands in Australia that not many hear about like Fracture, Lord to name a few... and Vanishing Point return to hold the flag high for Australia. This new album sees the band in a Evergrey, Kamelot era and maybe hints of Fates Warning or Crimson Glory, a great combination indeed. This is a great album and I do hope they come back to Europe and maybe some shows here in the UK too. This album was produced by the band who have done a great job to say the least and the songs are much strong than I have heard in the past, saying that I have only heard about 3 albums so I can't judge the rest. The album is pack full of great music and Silvio's vocals are much stronger than they were when I heard them. This album comes with 14 songs of strong and yet melodic Progressive Metal, so if you're a fan of the symphonic Progressive Metal then check out this great album. Songs to check out are: King of Empty Promises, When Truth Lies, Circle Of Fire, Let The River Run, Era Zero, Pillars of The Sand, Handful of Hope, Walls of Silence. A great return by a great band form down under.
Vanden Plas "Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld) Frontiers ****
German Progressive Metal act 'Vanden Plas' return with their new album 'Chronicles Of The Immortals' a follow up to the bands last album also on Frontiers 'Seraphic Clockwork' in 2010. The band were formed, back in the mid 80's but it was in 91 when the band managed to record a single which their local football team asked them to release for them titled 'Keep on Running'. It was the beginning of what is now... a hard working Progressive Metal band that have stood the test of time. The band have also been involved with musicals such as 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'The Rocky Horror Show' to name a few. It was in 94 when their 1st label 'Dream Circle' from Germany hooked up with LMP Music and released the album 'Colour Temple' a fine album that mixed the likes of Dream Theater with Dokken which really worked well for the band. This something the band have managed to keep throughout their career to this day. The 2 influences do work really well together for this band as you will already of heard from this and the bands previous albums. Having shared the stage with Dream Theater and Don Dokken. With the release of their debut album off the ground and the band having received some awesome reviews from the likes of Friday 13th when it was a fanzine back in the day... the band were clearly set to take on the world. In 97 the band released their next album 'The God Thing' released on Inside Out, another fine album and yet another melodic but technical album with some fine music and vocals. This was truly a great album that clearly saw the band improve with age. With this album released the band toured with Dream Theater across Europe and the UK. In 99 the band released 'Far Off Grace' another fine album with some really catchy tunes and yet another step up the ladder. The band have released 3 more album before this new album. The good thing about this band is that they have kept the same line up since day one so there certainly is a strong bond within the band, with the line up been Andy Kurtz (vocals) Stephan Lill (guitars) and brother Andreas on (drums) along with keyboard player Gunter Werno who had worked with Kamelot , and bassist Torsten Reichert. These guys I have to respect for keeping the Vanden Plas together as a strong team. This new album from what I can make out is a concept album which takes you through a different areas along the way throughout the album and I believe it will be continued for the next album. The album comes with 10 songs, with 2 of them been intro's makes this a rather short album and once you get into the album it seems to be all over. I really like this band, always have done since the debut album and I can't say the band have made a bad album yet. The production is solid and there are some really good tunes here and Andy's vocals are on top form. If I had to say anything about the band touring then a tour with Kamelot would be ideal for them. There are certain Orchestral elements on this album which remind me of Iced Earth the way they compose there too. Songs on the album to check out are: The Black Knight, Godmaker, New Vampyre, The King and Children of the Lost World, Misery Affection, Soul Allience, Inside.A Great album and I hope the second part of the chronicle has more tunes and less intros. Still a great album by a great band.
Hirax "Immortal Legacy" Steamhammer ****
Well there is a band that have been around since the early 80's, devastating the underground scene for many years since 82 when original singer katon W De Pena formed the band only to be one of the highest respected singers in the underground thrash movement who has known the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Over Kill, Anthrax and so on for many years. Katon has the right to be up there with the biggest Thrash bands, as Hirax have made some of the must influential bands of all time. Katon and Hirax have played with most of these bands in the past as well as such bands as Exodus, and many more... This album however is awesome, a great Thrash Metal album, a must for fans of either Exodus, Sodom, Over Kill and Kreator, Slayer. It's a heavy album but still manages to capture some intense and melodic riffs and Katon proves he still has a great voice after all these guys. The band have become very popular and big in places like Germany and continue to grow with each album and tour. The band's debut album back in 85 released on Metal Blade and titled 'Raging Violence', which saw the album bene reviewed in such magazines as Metal Forces (UK) and receiving an excellent review. In 86 the band released their next album 'Hates, Fear & Power' also through Metal Blade, the label who brought Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and many more to where they are now. The more I listen too the album and the vocals especially I hear a resemblance of Bobby from Over Kill in Katon's vocal range, which is great as Over Kill are my favourite Thrash band of all time. It was in 2005 when the band returned after a long break up with their return to Thrash with the album 'The New Age of Terror' in 2004 which was released in Mausoleum Records and later in 2009 with 'El Rostro De La Muerte' through Seasons of the Mist records. Now the band return with this 'Immortal Legacy' through Steamhammer, which was produced by Bill Metoyer, known for his work with Helstar, Omen, Slayer, Sacred Reich and pretty much all the Metal Blade bands back in the 80's and is still one of my all time favourite producers. This album has the artwork done by Philip Lawvere known for his work with Kreator and Celtic Frost and with guest guitarist on this album by Jim Durkin (Dark Angel) and Juan Garcia (Agent Steel) & Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies) makes this an impressive album indeed. It certainly captures the 80's and this is something I love to hear and I really don't give a shit about today's metal to be honest. I'd rather listen too 80's/ 90's metal any day or bands that capture that era. Joining Katon in the band is Lance Harriosn (guitars), Steve Harrison (bass) and drummer Jorge Lacobellis. This is a great comeback album, songs I suggest you check out are:Black Smoke, Hellion Rising, Victims Of The Dead, Tied To The Gallows Pole, Immortal Legacy, The World Will Burn. A decent comeback album which I recommend you check out, any fan of Thrash Metal will love this.
Primal Fear "Delivering The Black" Frontiers *****
It's good to see Primal Fear return with their new album, formed out of the ashes of Sinner with Mat Sinner on bass with ex Gamma Ray singer Ralf Scheepers, the 2 collaborated to form this new super Power Metal group. The band was formed back in 97 after Ralf auditioned for the vocal audition for Judas priest, but Tim Owen's got the part. Ralf was once in a band called Tyran Pace, who released albums through Noise International along with Gamma Ray, so joining Kai Hansen in Gamma Ray seemed a good choice. It was later on when Ralf and Mat met guitarist Tom Naumann were the 3 would form Primal Fear with the drum duties been handled by Klaus Sperling, who had also worked with Sinner. The 4 sent out demos to record labels and it wasn't long before Nuclear Blast soon signed the band and their debut album 'Primal Fear' was released in 98, which was the band playing Dynamo festival in Holland amongst other festivals. With the band off and running their music speaks for itself combining the likes of Accept, Saxon, Judas Priest all rolled into one. Yes it's melodic and heavy and with attitude which works in Primal Fears favours. A great debut it was was soon followed up by 'Jaws Of Death' in 99 in which the band soon added a 2nd guitarist seen Stefan Leibing, who later on recorded a further 5 albums, ending his career with 'New Religion' in 2007, at this time guitarist Henny Wolter had been in the band since that album, Tom had left on the 'Seven Seals' album in 2005. Henny stayed with the band up until Unbreakable' in 2012. Now the band have Magnus Karlsson (ex Last Tribe) and Alex Beyrodt (Voodoo Circle/ Silent Force) with drummer Randy Black (Ex Annihilator). Now the band are back with this new stunning album 'Delivering The Black' which in my opinion is the best album the band have ever recorded. The songs are strong, heavy, melodic and the vocals are soaring and powerful as hell. Not only that but the production is the best the band have ever recorded, I really can't fault this album at all. The album comes with 10 trax unless you get a copy of the digi pack which features 3 extra tracks. This is still Primal Fear and captures the energy and power which was produced by Mat Sinner, with the help of Jacob Hansen and Achim Kohler, in which the 3 have done amazing job. Songs to check out are: King For A Day, Rebel Faction, When Death Comes Knocking, Alive & On Fire, Delivering The Black, Road To Asylum, One Night In December. This is a great start to 2014, just hope the rest out their follow this awesome album.
Ring Of Fire "Battle Of Leningrad" Frontiers ***
Another fine band on Frontiers, this is it's the pleasure of 'Ring Of Fire', the band put together by Ex Yngwie Malmsteen singer Mark Boals, who is also known for his recent work with Iron Mask. Mark is a great singer who has done some of the finest metal albums throughout the underground metal scene. Not only is Mark the front man for Ring Of Fire, he is also joined by the one and only guitarist Tony Macalpine, who si well known for his solo albums and the project 'M.A.R.S', who released 1 album through Shrapnel Records, which featured Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy/ Dio), Rob Rock (Impellitteri). This was a great album but sadly they never recorded another album. Tony however recorded 11 studio albums and 1 live CD. Mark has done several albums with several artists since Yngwie, and the same could be said for keyboard wizard Vitalij Kuprij, who is also known for his work with the band 'Artension' who also recorded several albums for Shrapnel Records. This band also featured the talented drummer Virgil Donati from Australia who has worked with Planet X. Ring of Fire however, have recorded only 4 albums since 2001, with the bands commitments to other projects has taken them a while to record this new album. The band released 'The Oracle' in 2001, which was soon followed up by 'Dream Tower' in 2002, and then 'Lapse of Reality' in 2004 and now the new album 'Battle Of Leningrad' in 2014. It is good to see the band back and with this new album also bring new drummer Jami Huovinen and guest musician playing the bass Timo Tolkki (Ex Stratovarius). I have to say I was really looking forward to hearing this album, however it has to be said that the production is poor, lacks energy, cleanness in sound as the songs just sound dull, why did this album suffer? Who produced it? They really should of got an expert in and if they did well he should of been fired. The songs are good but like I said the production really suffers and lets the music and vocals down. Great musicians and vocals here and if the album had a much better production this would of got a 4/5 rating. It's a great album for fans of Neoclassical/ Power Metal or Progressive Metal music and is based on the events that happened around Leningrad during the Nazi occupation. Songs on the album however which I recommend you check out are: Mother Russia, They're Calling Your Name, Land Of Frozen Tears, Where Angels Play, Battle Of Leningrad to be the strongest songs on the album. Not a bad album but like I said the production suffers and so will the songs because of this.
Iced Earth "Plague Of Babylon" Century Media ****
Iced Earth are no strangers to the world of Heavy Metal, having formed back in 85 in Tampa Florida by guitarist Jon Schaffer, who originally formed the band 'Purgatory' but soon changed their name due to the fact that there was another band under the same name. Jon been the only member left of the band and after all it is his baby 'Iced Earth', that have continued to play quality Power Metal, in which the band have always managed to find a powerful Heavy Metal screamer along the way to be their front man. With the band releasing their 89 demo 'Enter The realm' (to which I still own the original demo - cheers Jon), it was this demo that brought the attention of Century Media Records in Germany to having the band soon sign a world-wide deal. It was 90/91 when the band released their debut album which was self titled. This soon saw the German press going apeshit with delight over this fantastic debut album, mixing the likes of Iron Maiden meets Metallica worked well for the band. With their Speed/ Power Metal galloping guitar riffs it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Night Of the Stormrider' in 92, this album saw the band touring with the likes of Blind Guardian to which in later on Jon did his side project of 'Demons & Wizards'. Iced Earth have recorded several albums throughout their career a total of 11 albums including this new one and 3 live DVD's. The band has been numerous line up changes including Matt Barlow & Tim 'Ripper' Owens on vocals. Musician's in the past include Steve Digiorgio (ex Testament), Bobby Jarzomberk (Halford/ Riot), to name a few. With the line album 'Plague of Babylon' just been released and the band currently touring Europe, the current line up stands as Stu Block (ex Into Eternity), Jon Schaffer, Troy Steele, with new bassist Luke Appleton (ex Fury UK), and drummer Raphael Saini from Italy the band are set to play heavy and yet melodic metal. Production by Jon which is excellent, but then again Jon has had plenty of experience throughout his career as a musician. This album also features guest musicians by Blind Guardian singer Hansi Kursch, Micheal poulsen (Voltbeat) and Symphony X singer Russell Allen on the song 'The Highway'. This album comes with 13 hard hitting Power/Speed Metal tunes that any fan of the band will love to hear. Songs to check out are: Plagues Of Babylon, The Culling, Among The Living Dead, The End, If I Could See You, Cthulhu, Parasite. All in all not a bad album. If you haven't pick up a copy yet then I suggest you do soon.
Axel Rudi Pell "Into The Storm' Steamhammer ****
German melodic metal band 'Axel Rudi Pell' return with their new album, formed by ex Steeler guitarist Axel Rudi Pell. Axel decided to form this band back in 89 when he formed this band and released his debut solo album with vocalist Charlie Huhn along with drummer Jorg Michael (Stratovarius) for the album 'Wild Obession' in 89. With the release of this album off the ground it wasn't long before the recorded his next album with singer Rob Rock for the album 'Nasty Reputation' in 91 along with bassist Volker Krawczak who is still in the band to this day. This album saw the band moving even further up the ladder with Rob's superb vocal talent. Sadly Rob only did the 1 album and was soon replaced by Jeff Scott Soto (ex Yngwie) for the next album 'Eternal Prisoner' back in 92. Alex has remained loyal to Steamhmmer records since his early years and still manages to keep with them to this date. Alex has recorded 16 albums to date, impressive or what and he is certainly dedicated to his music, so respect from me. In 98 Jeff was replaced by the front man of now Johnny Gioeli who has remained to stay with Alex to this day, a decent singer who seems to be adding a lot of collaboration between Alex and the band. The band's current line is Axel Rudi Pell (guitars), Volker Krawczak (bass), Johnny Gioeli (vocals), keyboards Ferdy Doernburg (ex Rough Silk), and new drummer Bobby Rondinelli (ex Rainbow/ Black Sabbath) to complete the new line up. This album features 12 songs, one of which features Richie Blackmore on the song 'Way To Mandalay) which is on the digi pack of the CD. The album was produced by Axel and the overall sound is solid making the music speak for itself. The music to me reminds of of across between Dio, Black Sabbath (Dio/ Martin era), Deep Purple and if you like this type of music then you're going to like this. The bands music is melodic with some hints of AOR music in it too which gives it that added flavour. Nice production and great vocals and music does make a good album and this is one album to check out. Songs I like are: Tower Of Lies, Long Way To Go, Burning Chains, Changing Times, Touching Heaven, Into The Storm. Impressive album for 2014 check it out.
Tad Morose "Revenant" Despotz Records ****
Well it's been a long time coming has this album from Swedish Power/ Doom god's, in fact is has been 10 yrs since the bands last album 'Modus Vivendi' which was released on Century Media and with the band's uncertain future after the departure of singer Urban Breed things looked dull for the band. It was in 91 when guitarist Krunt formed the band and with the bands debut album 'Leaving The Past Behind' was released through Black Mark back in 93, this is when I became friends with Krunt and have been ever since. The band had a long relationship with the label which resulted in the release of 5 albums before the band signed to Century Media in 2000 with the release of 'Undead', a great album. The band remind me of across between Savatage meets Black Sabbath (Dio/ Martin era) with hints of Candlemass. The band have seen many singers, musicians come and go but Christer (Krunt) is the only original member along side long time drummer Peter Moren. This new album sees new singer Ronny Hemlin (Steel Attack) on vocals with former guitarist of Morgana Lefay, now playing bass for Tad Morose Tommi Karppanen along with new guitarist Kenneth Jonsson to complete the new line up. Some of you may of questioned if this album has been worth the wait? Well yes its great to see them back and still carrying on in the style that we remember them by, but I would of liked to hear a little more of the older style they do. I guess like any band who has not recorded an album in a long they tend to come back with a aggressive album and Tad Morose have done that. Ronny is a great singer and a great addition to the bands music, so is the rest of the band. This album comes with 12 trax of pure melodic Scandinavian metal which was produced by the band, which has a solid production and having been around for many years they have mastered how to produce an album. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Beneath A Veil Of Crying Souls, Follow, Babylon, Within A Dream, Spirit World, Millenium Lie, Death Embrace, Ares. A good album but I think there needs to be a little more variation like the older albums they recorded, but still a good album. Welcome back guys!!
Silent Force "Rising From The Ashes" AFM ****
It's good to see German melodic metal band 'Silent Force' return, this is the band put together by Alex Beyrodt, known for his work with other bands such as Voodoo Circle and Primal Fear. Silent Force was put together by Alex in 99 with front man D.C. Cooper (Royal Hunt), along with now Rage drummer Andre Hilgers and with only Alex and Andre been the only 2 original members left from the original line up, which now features Mat Sinner (Primal Fear) on bass, with keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edens Curse), and new singer Michael Bormann (ex Letter X/ Jaded Heart) as the new front man. The band released their debut album 'The Empire Of Future' was a fine debut which had a lot of potential and fresh ideas, something this style of music needed. With the debut album off the ground the album received some awesome reviews from the press and fans alike. This album was followed by 'Infatuator' (which featured my name on the thanks credits cheers guys), a great follow up and even stronger. Later came the last album 'Worlds Apart', which followed with 'Walk The Earth', sadly this was the last album the band did with Alex joining Primal Fear and forming his new band 'Voodoo Circle'. Now the band return after 7yrs with this new album 'Rising from The Ashes' with new singer Michael Bormann, who is a great singer and I love the Letter X album he did 'Born into Darkness', recorded in the late 80's. At 1st when I heard this album I wasn't sure what to think of Michael joining the band, I mean I wasn't sure if his voice was suitable for the music, but after a few listens his vocals have grown on me. I have to say this is a great album that grows on you, kind of reminds me a little of Jaded Heart and classic Silent Force, nevertheless it's a great album once you get into the vocals of Michael. The album features 10 which was recoded by Alex with the aid of Achim Kohler at the mastering hand. Songs on the album that stand out are: Caught In Their Wicked Games, There Ain't No Justice, Circle Of Trust, Living To Die, You Gotta Kick It, Turn Me Loose, Anytime Anywhere. A great comeback album by a great German band, check this out it's a great album for 2013.
Benedictum "Obey" Frontiers ***
San Diego's Power Metal act 'Benedictum' return with their new album, the bands 4th album, with the band forming in 2006 by female singer Veronica Freeman, along with guitarist Pete Wells with bassist Aric Avina and drummer Rikard Stjernquist (Jag Panzer) to complete the bands line up. With the band coming from the birth place of Psychotic Waltz, Catharsis, Cage these bands have made waves in the Power Metal scene in San Diego and now with this band who released their debut album 'Uncreation' in 2006 this was the stepping stone for the bands career. This album was released by Locomotive, a Spanish label and who production handled by ex Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson this also gave the band the break through they deserved. The band released 'Season Of Tragedy' which also appeared on Locomotive and also was produced by Jeff once again. In 2011 the band signed to Italian label Frontiers and the next album was soon recorded by Ryan Greene, who had worked with Megadeth and many more. I have only heard the bands last 3 albums by this band and they seem to be pretty good. This album is yet another step up the ladder for the band, only bad thing about the album is the production, it seems to lack power with the drums and guitars suffering a little. Don't get me wrong as Pete's guitar work reminds me of Geoff Thorpe from Vicious Rumors. The music is pretty good and I guess there's hints of Cage in their music too, with hints of Judas Priest among others. Veronica is a strong singer and after reading her influences like Freddie Mercury you can hear why. This album comes with 12 songs of pure U.S. Power Metal that any fan of the late 80's or early 90's would enjoy that's for sure. The guitar solo's are great that's for sure and I just wish the production had more balls as the songs would really benefit from this. Songs that I do like are: Fractured, Obey, Fighting For My Life, Scream, Crossing Over, Apex Nation, Retrograde. Not a bad album, I feel the band are half way there, they just need a strong production for the next one and they could crack it. Check it out at least its real metal music.
Saxon "Unplugged and Strung Up" UDR *****
Well what can one say about the mighty Saxon? Bedside's their music been unique, classic metal and packed full of energy and powerful music. Formed back in the late 70's under the name of 'Son Of A Bitch', the band soon changed their name to Saxon in order to get a record deal and with Saxon been more suitable their music speaks in volume. I have been a fan since I was 11yrs old and if you see the picture of me with Motorhead & Anvil you will notice I was wearing a Saxon t shirt back in 81 aged 11. The band have gone from strength to strength over the years and with the band releasing their debut 'Saxon' back in 79, this saw the band been featured in Kerrang, NME and other cool magazines back then. Having played the 1st 'Monsters of Rock' in the UK, it was a surprise and a great chance for them to prove how good a band they are. With the classic line in the early stages been Biff Byford (vocals), Paul Quinn (guitars), Graham Oliver (guitars), Steve Dawson (bass) and drummer Pete Gill ( who went onto Motorhead for a short time), who was replaced by Nigel Glockler. With such classic albums as 'Strong Arm of The law, 'Denim & Leather', 'Power & The Glory', 'Crusader' and later on such albums as 'Metal head', ' Killing Ground', 'Sacrifice' you can really see how the band have progressed. In later years the band have replaced Graham with Doug Scarrett and bassist Nibbs Carter, to which both have added a strong and powerful feel to the bands current music, especially Nibbs who has brought a heaviness to the band since he joined. With the band promoting their current album 'Sacrifice', which is without doubt a classic and heavy album but still manages to keep the rational Saxon sound. A successfully world tour this year saw them embark on a tour of South America. Now the band return with their new studio album in less than a year this album has been the light of day. Most of the recordings were done when they recorded the 'Sacrifice' album in Yorkshire (UK), to were I had the pleasure of see in them film the video for 'Sacrifice' and 'Frozen Rainbow'. What a great day that was, something I will always remember. This album features some of their early work re-done as either unplugged or orchestral versions of some of their classic tunes. Either way this is a must have album, I just love it. if you are lucky enough to grab a copy of the digi pack there is a bonus album of the band classic songs such as 'Heavy Metal Thunder' reworked with today's technology. This bonus disc was released a few years ago on SPV titled 'Heavy Metal Thunder', but for some reason it has also made it onto this album, not complaining. What you have here is orchestral versions of Crusader, The Eagle Has Landed (both are amazing), Red Star Falling, Call To Arms, Broken Heroes. Acoustic versions of Frozen Rainbow, Iron Wheels, Requiem, Coming Home. Along with Remix versions of Stallions Of The Highway, Battle Cry, Forever Free, Just Let Me Rock. I just love this album and music the band create, their one of the finest and will always will be. Check out this masterpiece. I just want to rock!!
Royal Hunt A Life To Die For Frontiers ****
Danish Symphonic Metal act 'Royal Hunt' return with their new stunning album, their 1st with singer Hendrik Brockmann joined the band back in 90 to 94. The band having formed by keyboard mastermind Andre Andersen back in 89, who later on found Kenneth Olsen on drums but was replaced by Allan Sorensen, with guitarist Jacob Kjaer who was replaced in later years by new guitarist Jonas Larsen (who I believe is also with Evergrey) with current bassist Andreas Passmark and long returned singer D.C. Cooper, who left to become a fire man and also at that time had Silent Force, who is no longer in the band. The band have also had singers such as Mark Boals (ex Yngwie) and John West (ex Artension) on vocals for some time before D.C. returned. It has been 2yrs since the last album and with the band 1st releasing their debut back in 92 titled 'Land Of Broken Hearts' which was released Rondel Records. With the release of the bands debut out in the open and having received some excellent reviews it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Clown In The Mirror' back in 93. With lots of success in Denmark and Japan the band made yet another 10 albums including this new album which features the comeback of D.C. Cooper. Their last singer John West is a great singer too and also was a fine frontman for the band. I have to say that this band uses the backing vocals of ex Narita singer Kenny Lubcke who really has an amazing voice on his own and should reform Nartia or his own bad, a talented singer wasted doing backing vocals. This new album however is a great comeback which features the Classic music elements mixed with Symphonic Metal and it really works well for the band. The album was produced by Andre, who has done an excellent job as always. The songs are catchy and full of blistering sounds to capture any fan of the symphonic metal genera. The album comes with only 7 songs sadly but it's still a great album and there is a bonus DVd with interivews and live performances by the band so grab a copy of that if you can. Song to check out are: Hell Comes Down From Heaven, Bullet's Tale, Running Out Of Tears, One Minute To Live, A Life To Die For. Any fan of the band will love this it's typical Royal Hunt at their best.
Rhapsody Of Fire "Dark Wings Of Steel" AFM ****
Italian Symphonic Metal act 'Rhapsody Of Fire' return with their new album 'Dark Wings Of Steel' and the title pretty much sums up the hard times the band have gone through with the bands name. Formed in 93 and with the band releasing their debut demo 'Eternal Glory' to which I still own saw the band land a deal with LMP Music in Hamburg Germany to which the band recorded several albums for this company and their debut 'Legendary Tales' was released in 97. This saw the band been taken seriously and too the underground metal scene by storm. With the album been a successful debut it was not long before e they released their 2nd album 'Symphony of Enchanted Lands' in 98. It was soon to become a great seller and more albums would follow. The band later on were soon picked up by Manowar's label 'Magic Circle', in which the band toured with Manowar. In later years the band ran into difficulties with any band called Rhapsody so soon added 'Of Fire' to carry on the name they once had and made success with. Front man Fabio Lione is a great singer full of character and a great range of vocal abilities. Joining Fabio is Alex (keyboards), brothers Alex and Oliver Holzwarth on bass and drums and new guitarist Roby, who replaced Luca, who also decided to call his band the same name but with his name at the beginning. This album is a darker approach to what you can expect to hear, but still captures all the heaviness and symphonic sounds that any fan of the band would love to hear. Produced by Alex with the help of Christoph Stickel mastering the album the overall sound is awesome and features 11 songs. It has to be said that the band have gone from strength to strength on this album and with some fine music and superb vocals this is an album you really need to check out. I suggest you listen too the following trax: Rising From The Tragic Flames, Angel Of Light, Tears Of Pain, Fly To Crystal Skies, My Sacrifice, A Tale of Magic. A fine comeback and I have noticed that there are influences by Kamelot on this record, I guess that's due to the fact that Fabio toured with Kamelot as their singer a couple of years ago.
"Back On The
Streets" Metal Heaven
are a new band for me, but form what I have heard they have been around for some
time. The only thing I know is that this band features Mats Leven (ex Yngwie) on
vocals, who has also worked with Therion and he is a great singer. His 1st
band was Swedish Erotica, who released 2 albums. He has also been involved
with candlemass, Fatal Force, Treat, At Vance, just to name a few. This album
prove just how good a Swedish sing he is, a singer that reminds me of across
between David Reece in the style of his song writing ability and vocal
arrangements. I love the way Mats sings and the way he can change his vocals to
any style of music he creates or band he is in. This band is a 4 piece from
Sweden which also features Martin Kronlund, who released their debut album
'Unleashed' back in 2000 in which this album also featured ex Thin Lizzy/
Motorhead guitarist Brian Robertson. In 2002 the band released their 2nd
successful album 'In Control'. Mat has done various projects and were his co
member took the roll of producing albums for Joe Lynn Turner and also releasing
albums with Gypsy Rose which featured David Reece (ex Accept). This album has
plenty of cool riffs and catchy tunes with that Deep Purple/ At Vance/ Treat
style of metal which works really well considering Mats is a great singer. The
album comes also across between Skagarack meets Europe too with hints of Yngwie
and works really well for the band. The band is also joined by (Coldspell)
drummer Perra Johansson & Mikael Carlsson (Rage of Angels) with guest
musicians by Hammond organ Dan Helgesson, Hendrik Thomsen (bass), Imre Daun
(addition drums) and backing vocals by David Reece. It really is a good album
for what it is and I think having Mats on vocals was the right choice once
again. Songs to check out are: Footsteps On The Moon, Can't Face Tomorrow,
Higher, Back On The Street, Fired, Start a Fire. A great album, love Mats
voice so that makes the music better, check it out.
Artillery "Legions" Metal Blade *****
Danish thrasher's 'Artillery' return with their new and exciting album 'Legions', their 1st for Metal Blade records, the label who brought you Slayer, Helstar, Armored Saint, and many more.... I have always been a fan of this band since I 1st discovered the bands debut album 'Fear Of Tomorrow' back in the mid 80's through Neat Records, the label that brought you Venom, Raven and many more... Artillery were formed back in Copenhagen back in 82 in which guitarist Michael Stutzer along with brother Morten on bass (back then), and Carsten Nielsen on drums and singer Carsten Lohmann but after the bands debut demo Cartsten left and was replaced by Flemming Ronsdorf on vocals. Morten soon changed positions from bass the guitar and the band soon found new bassist Peter Thorslund. With any band they have line up changes and this band have seen bassists and vocals, and drummers come and go, leaving the brothers to carry the flag for this Danish metal act. With the band releasing my favourite album 'Terror Squad' back in 87 also on Neat this would be the bands last album for the label before soon been picked up by Roadrunner with the release 'By Inheritance' in 90. Sadly only 1 album for this label and the band broke up only to return back in 99 with the album 'B.A.C.K.' through Die Hard Music a Danish label. A great comeback album which put them back on the metal map. Yet another 2 albums released and now in 2013 the band sign to Metal Blade. This is a superb album full of Artillery's classic sound and style and with the vocals by new vocalist Michael Dahl, who does sound like the last singer Soren Adamsen. The current line up consists of the 2 Stutzer brothers on guitar, Michael on vocals, Peter on bass and drummer Josua. This album captures the band at their best and there are some really catchy tunes here full of thrashing riffs and yet still melodic and has that hint of Arabic guitar sound that we have become to know with Artillery. The album was produced by Soren Andersen which the overall sound is solid and powerful. There are 10 songs here, songs I suggest you check out are: Chill My Bones, God Feather, Legions, Wardrum Heartbeat, Global Flatline, Enslaved to the Nether, Doctor Evil. A great album indeed and a must for any fans of old school thrash.
Human Fortress "Raided Land" AFM ****
German metal act 'Human Fortress' 1st started out back in 97 in Hanover when the band produced a demo which soon got the attention of LMP Music in Hamburg and the band were soon signed the the label with their debut album 'Lord Of Earth And Heaven Heir' was released in 2001. Formed by guitarists Torsten Wolf and Volker Trost with bassist Palbo J Tammen, in which later the band found singer Jioti Parcharidis and Apostolos Zaios on drums and keyboardist Dirk Marquardt. The band only recorded 1 album with LMP before Massacre records picked the band up for their 2nd album 'Defenders Of The Crown' in 2002 in which guitarist Volker left the band after the recording and was replaced by Frank Sawade and it was not long before singer Jioti & Apostolos also left the band. The current line up is now Gus Monsanto (vocals), Torsten Wolf (guitars), Volker Trost (guitars), Andre Horst (bass), Apostolos Zaios (drums), Dirk Liehm (keyboards). The band have recorded 'Eternal Empire' in 2008 and now the new album, which is a damn pretty good album to say the least. If I remember rightly the early albums were pretty good but this is certainly their best album of the ones I have heard. There seems to be less of a Celtic feel on this record but still manages to capture of of the Symphonic Metal elements. If I had to say who they sound like I would say across between Stratovarius, Pagans Mind, with maybe hints of Gamma Ray and bands of that nature. The production is good which was handled by Seeb Levermann ( known for his work with Orden Organ) and the vocals remind me of Nocturnal Rites meets Hibria. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Child of War, Wasted Years, The Chosen One, Shelter, Dark Knight, Evil Curse, Guard The Blind. A good album indeed and worth checking out. Give it a go it's a decent album with some excellent music and awesome vocals. It's rather strange I saw the band back in my home city a few years ago in Hull. I wonder if they would ever come back?
Iron Mask "Fifth Son Of Winterdoom" AFM ****
AFM Records have released yet another album , this time by Belgian guitar wizard Dustin Petrossi, who has been on the metal scene for some time now and since 2002 he created this band 'Iron Mask'. The band were soon been talked about on the local scene and it was in 2002 when Finnish label 'Lion Music' soon signed the band. The band released 'Revenge Is My Name' and it was soon talked about album and with Dustin looking like and sounding like Yngwie Malmsteen was a great compliment for him and the band. Vocals on this album were handled by Phil Letawe, but was soon replaced for the bands 2nd album by ex At Vance singer Oliver Hartmann for the album 'Hordes Of The Brave' in 2005 also on Lion Music. Yet another step up the ladder of Neon Classical metal music. This album also featured keyboardist Richard Andersson (Majestic) who released 2 album through Massacre records. Oliver also did the next album 'Shadows Of The Red Barron' in 2010. In 2011 the band signed to AFM and with new singer on board Mark Boals ex Yngwie handling the vocals for 'Black As Death' this was to be their finest album and indeed it was. Some fine music and vocals on this album so much impressed me it had to be a stunning album. Some great tunes and vocals here with some excellent guitar work saw this hitting the charts. Now the band return with their new album 'Fifth Son Of Winterdoom', this having some Celtic vibe to the album is a fine example of what the band do create. I do think the timing is right for the band to record a live DVD for the forthcoming album. Produced by Dustin, the overall sound is solid, heavy with the guitars and shining vocals. If you like good quality metal then look no further. The album comes with 12 excellently composed tunes. Songs I like are: Back Into Mystery, One Commandment, Seven Samurai, Son Of Winterdoom, Rock Religion, Reconquista 1492, The Picture Of Dorian Grey. Great album by a band I recommend especially if you like Neon Classic Metal.
Testament "Dark Roots Of Thrash" Nuclear Blast ****
Thrash God's 'Testament' return with their new live album and DVD, this is something which needed to happen and with the band promoting their new album 'Darks Roots Of Earth' which came out in 2012 this is perfect timing to release a new album/ DVD. The band were formed back in 83 under the name of 'The Legacy', prior to changing their name back in 87, which saw the band soon been signed to Megaforce, part of Atlantic Records. The band then released their cult classic album 'The Legacy', which featured such songs as 'Over The Wall'. This was just the starting point for the band which saw them opening up for Anthrax on their European tour, a tour I managed to see live. After a successful tour the band soon entered the studio to record their next album 'New Order' back in 88. More success throughout the years and support slots with Megadeth, Judas Priest were to follow. The band have seen various line-up changes and with Chuck Billy (vocals) and Eric Peterson been the only 2 original Testament members since the Legacy album the band have had various musicians come and go, these would include James Murphy (Death), Steve Smyth (ex Nevermore),, Steve Digiorgio (Sadus), Dave Lombardo (ex Slayer), Paul Bostaph (Slayer) and so many more... Now the band return with their classic line up of Alex Skolnick (guitars), Greg Christian (bass) and Gene Holgan (drums). With the band now set to release their new live DVD, a follow up to their last live CD/ DVD 'Live n London', this is a great live CD and I have yet to see the full DVD but judging the live CD I bet it is awesome. The sound is awesome and very powerful which contains some of the bands finest work right from the bands classics to the modern material the band have created. The album comes with 17 tracks which must of been pretty hard to pick considering the amount of great songs the band have created. Still it's a great live album, songs that you need to check out are: Rise Up, More than meets the Eye, Burnt Offerings, Native Blood, True American Hate, Into the Pit, Riding the Snake, Trial by Fire, The Haunting, Do Not Resuscitate, Formation Of Damnation, Disciples Of the Watch. A great album, a must for all Testament and Thrash Metal fans alike.
Vengeance "Piece of Cake" Steamhammer ***
Dutch rocker's 'Vengenace' return with their new album for Steamhammer titled 'Piece Of Cake'. This band were formed back in 83 by guitarist Arjen Lucassen (Now with Star One & Ayreon) along with now diseased guitarist Jan Somers who died in 2011 of a heart attack aged 46. His son Timo is now the guitarist within the band which is a good thing to follow in his fathers footsteps. The band released their debut album back in 84 which was self titled and it wasn't long before the band we soon noticed around the Dutch circuit . In 86 the band released their 2nd album 'We Have Ways Of making You Rock', which yet again saw the band on the up and in 87 the band released the album that I 1st discovered them on called 'Take It or Leave It' in which the band were signed to CBS I believe. A major label behind them saw them playing festivals like Dynamo when it was a small festival and other festivals around Europe. A further 7 albums were released between 89 to 2012, their last album 'Crystal Eye', but funny enough the band have not released a live DVD yet, strange considering they have been around for some time. Maybe the new album will see the band released a DVD, only time will tell. The current line up is Leon Goewie (vocals), Timo Somers (guitars), Barend Courbois (bass), Leon Sibum (guitars), and drums by Han's In't Zandt. Thisalbum has some interesting songs such as 'Back To Square One', a really good Blues song with vocals sounding like Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt) and Robert Planet (Zepplin) and the music kind of like Y&T makes this a great song. Nice production on the album too which was done by Michael Voss (Mad Max) which he has done a great job. Songs on the album you should check out are: World Arena, Tears From The Moon, Raintime, Train, Headquake. A decent album which is worth checking out if you like hard hitting Rock/ Metal music with some hints of Blues influences.
Silent Voices "Reveal The Change" Inner Wound ***
Some of you out there maybe already familiar with this band, having been around since 95 by guitarist Timo Kauppinen along with brother bassist Pasi and drummer Jukka-Pekka Koivisto and keyboard player Hendrik Klingenberg who is also Sonata Arctica. The bands influences come across between Dream Theater, Rush, Yngwie, TNT and many more. The band have released 3 previous albums, their 1st was in 2002 titled 'Chapters of tregady' & 'Infernal' and in 2006 they released their 2nd album 'Building Up The Apathy' and now this new album. This album also features guest appearances from Mats Leven (ex Yngwie), Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), Mike Vescera (ex Loundness/ Yngwie), Mike DeMeo (Ex Riot/ Masterplan). So you get a few good singers on this album which makes all the difference and is a really good album. Not heard the band before I don't think there is a good blend of vocalist on this album and the music shines through. I think they have the perfect singers for each song on the album. The album was produced by Ted Jensen (Bon Jovi/ Megadeth) and recorded at Studio 57 in Finland, the bands native country. This is a pretty decent album and some of it grabs me whilst some of it doesn't . it's a bit of a hit and miss album in places but playing Progressive Metal is not the easiest and there are too many bands relying on the Dream Theater want to be's. There are tons of them out there in fact, I much prefer bands like Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz, Pagans Mind style. Don't get me wrong this guys are great musicians as you will hear. Songs on the album that I suggest you check out are: The Fear Of Emptiness, No Turning Back, Reign Of Terror, Through My Poison Walls. Not a bad album only 7 songs sadly but some of them are long as you can imagine with them been Progressive Metal. if you like the bands previous stuff then you will like this album too.
Lita Ford "The Bitch Is Back... Live" Steamhammer ***
Well that can one say about Lita Ford? She is attractive (still to this day) she is my female idol of all time and she still has a great voice. Saying that she is also a underrated guitarist, and she really doesn't get any credit for that, which is a shame. Lita as some of you may know was born in the UK but moved at a really age back in the 60's. It was in the 70's when Lita found Joan Jett and the rest of The Runaways and well the rest is history. The Runaways broke up back in 79 and it was in 83 when Lita formed her own band as a solo artist when she released her debut album 'Out For Blood' in which she signed to Mercury Records. With the debut album out and a tour it wasn't long before Lita released in my opinion her finest album 'Dancing On The Edge', which the video for the song 'Gotta Let Go', wearing her rubber cladded catsuit. This album was a fine album with some pretty catchy guitar riffs and some awesome guitar solos along with fine vocals and music by the rest of the band. In 88 she released the album 'Lita' which at that time she was managed by Sharon Osbourne (Ozzy's wife) and when Lita made a duo with Ozzy with the song 'Close My Eyes Forever', this pretty much made Lita an icon. More albums followed but sadly Lita's work seemed to slip away and the music suffered. I think this was due to personal issues as Lita told me in an interview Id did with her last year. In 2009 Lita returned with her new album 'Wicked Wonderland' , which was certainly not her favourite album and was a major disaster sadly. In 2012 Lita returned back on form with her new stunning album 'Living Like A Runaway' which is a fine album and sets her to be on top form once again. This new live album sees Lita playing songs from her finest albums and work and is a great live album, sadly it is not a double live album & only contains 12 songs, which I believe were recorded on the Def Leppard/ Poison tour of last year. This really should of been a live DVD but I do hope she makes one soon and also returns to the UK, I would love to meet her again. Songs on the album to check out are: Hungry, Living Like A Runway, Devil In My Head, Back To The Cave, Can't Catch Me, Out For Blood, Dancing On The Edge, Close My Eyes Forever & Kiss Me Deadly. Not a bad album but certainly not the best songs for a live album.
Death Angel "The Dream Calls for Blood" Nuclear Blast ****
San Francisco's Thrash Metal act 'Death Angel' return with their new album for Nuclear Blast, the follow up to their last album 'relentless Retribution' released in 2010. The band have done 4 albums for Nuclear Blast and with the only original members left been Mark Osegueda (vocals) and Rob Cavestary (guitars), who are related as cousins of somewhat. Joining Mark and Rob now is Ted Aguilar (guitars), Damien Sisson (bass) & Will Carroll (drums) which is the current line up. The band were formed back in the Bay Area of San Francisco back in 82, all of which consisted of original drummer Andy Galeon (drums) Gus Pepa (guitars), Dennis Pepa (bass & vocals back then) all of Filipino descent. Later on the band found singer Mark and the line up was complete. It was back in 86 when Metallica's guitarist Kirk recorded the bands demo 'Kill As One', which landed the band a record deal with Enigma Records and soon 'Ultra Violence' was released in 87. As a young band mainly most of them were under 16 this was an achievement that shocked the world of extreme metal music, a young gifted band who shook with world and soon became the talk about new thing in the Thrash Metal scene. With a European tour on the way the band soon picked up new fans. The band also recorded 2 more successful album 'Frolic Through The Park' in 88 and 'Act III' in 90, which was sadly their last album for some time as the band were dropped and 'The Organization' were formed, only released a couple of albums things didn't work out. In 2004 the band returned and signed to Nuclear Blast with 'The Art Of Dying'. From then the band have never looked back. This album album for me has to be said is their finest album since 'Ultra Violence' in my opinion, as the songs are very catchy and heavy with a great production which was done by Jason Suecof, who has worked with Firewind, Job For A Cowboy, Trivium and many more. The overall production is solid and makes the music stand out and shine through. SOngs on the album to check out are: Left For Dead, Son Of The Morning, Fallen, The Dream Call For Blood, Don't Save Me, Empty. A great album well worth checking out.
Stryper "No More Hell To Pay" Frontiers ****
Well Stryper , Christian Metal band have been around for many years now, formed by Michael (guitars) and Robert Sweet (drums) both brothers back in 83 under the name of 'Roxx Regime' but soon changed their name when the band were signed to Enigma Records. The brothers found Ox Fox (Guitars) and Timothy Gains (bass) and their debut album 'The Yellow & Black Attack', which was a fine album and saw the band been talked about throughout the world. Having released their debut album and when people found out about their Christian ways some people didn't take to them because of their views. It is a shame that some people are so narrow minded, its about the music and vocals for me, i really don't care what they sing about in any band, as long as its cool music and vocals. I think I may of said this before but Stryper are one of those bands who did a 90% fine album musically but on the other hand did 10% of not so good songs which kind of ruined the albums. Well I can safely say that this album is 100% full on metal, it's awesome a really well thought album even the ballad is great too. The band have done some fine albums in the past such as 'Soldiers Under Command', 'To Hell With The Devil' really are the bands classic albums, maybe 'In God We Trust'. After which the band seemed to slope down hill. In 1990 the band broke up only to return in 2005 with the album 'Reborn'. A couple of albums after which but things didn't go too well for the band until this year when the band released all their classic tunes redone with today's technology 'Second Coming'. Now the band have hit back hard than ever with this stunning masterpiece, yes folks this really is the real deal, a classic in it's own right. Great songs, catchy and heavy 80's style riffs and a nice production makes this one hell of an album. It comes with 12 songs produced by front man Michael Sweet. Songs on the album that really stand out are: No More Hell To Pay, Revelation, Saved By Love, Jesus Is Just Alright, Legacy, Marching Into Battle, Te Amo, Water Into Wine, Renewed. It's a fine comeback album, and if you like earlier stuff then this is for you, welcome back guys.
Eden's Curse "Symphony Of Sin" AFM ****
Well it has been around since the bands last album which was titled 'Trinity' which was the last album for front man Michael Eden, who left and was replaced by new front man Nikola Mijic who is a great front man. The band have also added ex Power Quest and good friend of mine Steve William as their new keyboard player. Paul Logue , Pete Newdeck is still in the band with Thorsten Koehne on guitars have new come up with a great new album. I feel that this album is properly their best album to date. Nikola's voice kind of reminds me of Seventh Sign singer who has an incredible voice. I liked the bands last album but this is another step forward and a great fresh new album with some great songs recorded. The band was formed by ex front man Michael Eden and Paul Logue back in 2007 when the band were involved with David Readman (Pink Cream 69) at the beginning. The band soon signed with AFM and the bands debut album in 2007 which was self titled. It did pretty well for a debut and it was in 2008 when the band released their 2nd album 'The Second Coming' which was yet another step for. It was in 2011 when the band recorded their last album with Michael Eden which also featured guest appearances by James Labrie from Dream Theater. Things didn't work out between Michael and the band and he soon parted ways with the band. Funny thing is that there seems to be no fight over the bands name and he has the last name of Eden, strange. Nevertheless this is a great comer back album which is a melodic AOR/ Progressive Metal album which reminds me of across between Journey/ Harem Scarem meets Dream Theater with hints of Journey meets Seventh Sign. Nice production here which was done by Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 96) which has an incrediable production as always. The album comes with 13 songs of pure melodic music and with the band recently played the 'Firefest' here in the UK I believe they went down a storm. Songs on the new album that I suggest you check out are: Symphony Of Sin, Break The Silence, Evil & Divine, Fallen From Grace, Losing My Faith, Turn The Page, Devil In Disguise. A great album, great music and great singer, check out this album!!
Epysode "Fantasmagoria" AFM *****
Well this is the new album by guitarist Samuel Arkan, an amazing guitarist who reminds of Jeff Loomis (ex Nevermore) somewhat which he is an impressive musician that has gathered some of the finest musicians in Progressive and Power Metal for this album. This is the bands 2nd album, their 1st was 'Obsessions' which came out a year or so ago. This was a great debut album to which Samuel is also involved with another band and sees this as a project. The music for this band reminds me of across between Kamelot, Symphony X, Evergrey, DGM, and bands in that vein. I really thought the 1st album was great but this is even better, and reminds of the heaviness of Nevermore and the spaced out sounds of Star One project. This new album however features the following musicians Tom S. Englund (Evergrey), Henning Basses (ex Metalium), Ida Haunkland (Triosphere), Matt Marinelli (Borealis), Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence), Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Leo Margarit (Pain of Salvation), Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) and Simone Mularoni (DGM). The album was produced by Jacob Hansen, known for his work with Voltbeat, Pretty Maids and so many more fine acts. The overall production is awesome and nothing suffers. Musically and vocally it's amazing like Carcass just a different form of metal music, which I can't fault at all. Each song has a different theme and the music speaks for itself and works wonders for the album, it's an album you really need to check out if you love Progressive Metal. There are 14 songs here which some are intro's or short themes. I highly recommend this album, it's one of the best Progressive albums of 2013. Songs to check out are: The Arch, Morning Rose, Venom, The Black Parade, T.H.O.R.N.S, Raven's Curse, Living Fortress, Forgotten Symphony, Unreal. A superb album worth every penny so grab a copy today you won't be disappointed.
Carcass Surgical Steel Nuclear Blast *****
Holy shit what can I say? I haven't heard much Death Metal this year but this is without doubt the finest album of 2013 for Death Metal. Formed back in 85 in Liverpool (UK) by former Napalm Death guitarist Bill Steer and ex Drummer Ken Owen along with old members and later on Jeff Walker came into the band in later years. It was in 88 when the band signed to Bill's old label Earache to record their debut album 'Reek Of Putrefaction', which was pretty much a Grindcore masterpiece in some eyes, well not mine sadly but in 89 the band released 'Symphonies Of Sickness'. Another step up the ladder and in 91 the band released the turning point album 'Necroticism' which featured Swedish guitarist Mike Amott who pretty much took the band to the next level. Saying that Bill certainly came along with his guitar playing of outstanding guitar riffs and solos just like Mike. In 93 their finest album was released 'Heartwork', with every song been outstanding and with some amazing guitar solo's from both guitarist this didn't sound like the same band as they had come along as top musicians and this album proved it. After the release of that album Mike left the band to form Arch Enemy and the band soon found Carlo Regadas for the album 'Swansong' in 96. Sadly the band broke up later on and now returned in 2013 with this heavy as fuck album 'Surgical Steel', which in my opinion is 'Heart Work' part 2, amazing playing, catchy riffs and outstanding solos makes this an awesome must have CD for any fan of extreme music. The album also features ex Trigger The Bloodshed drummer Daniel Wilding and guitarist Ben Ash. This album was suppose to be hadled by Colin Richardson but it didn't work out so they used Andy Sneap to take care of the album duties and well like Andy's productions this is another awesome album produced by one of the finest metal producers out there. This album features 11 trax of pure impressive metal from start to finish and is well worth getting hold of. I can't see any Death Metal album of this year beating this can you? It's just pure amazing and well worth checking out. Songs to check out are: 1985, Thrasher's Abattoir, Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System, A Congealed Clot Of Blood, The Master Butcher's Apron, The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills, Unfit For Human Consumption, Mount Of Execution. Well it's a fucking awesome album, need I say anymore?
David Reece "Compromise AOR Heaven ***
David Reece is no stranger to the world of melodic hard rock & metal, having once been the front man for German pioneers 'Accept', who recorded just one album for the band under the title of 'Eat The Heat' in 89. Having only done one album with the band David went on to form his own band Bangalore Choir in 92 when the band recorded their stunning debut album 'On Target', which for a great album which reminded me of across between Lion's Heart and Tyketto. Fine music and great vocals by David made this one of a hell great album for a melodic metal album. Sadly they only recorded 1 album only to return in 2010 with their 2nd album 'Cadence' and later in 2012 'Metaphor'. In the meantime David had recorded albums with Sircle of Silence, Gypsy Rose, Tango Down and Reece. Now he is back with this new album titled 'Compromise' which features an old friend of mine on guitar, former Savatage guitarist Jack Frost, known for his impressive guitar work who also had his won band 'Seven (Bitches) Witches'. This album also features bassist Ronnie Parkes (Seven Witches), Kelly Peterson (guitars), Paul Morris (keyboards) who had worked with Rainbow and Doro, with guest appearances by Andy Susemihl & Christian Tolle. The album was produced by Kelly Peterson and David Reece, in which the overall sound has balls and attitude. I have to say that David is a great singer and reminds me of Paul Shortino, a rough and ready type of vocals which really does suit the music he has created in the past and on this record. The album features 11 trax and for me I can hear Jack's style of guitar sound within this record, some of the album has up temp all out ball rocking tunes and some are kind of heavy blues but still a good album. Opening song 'Disaster' is a pretty good song which kicks in and has great melody hooks. Other songs on the album to check out are: End Of It All, Someone Beautiful, Along For The Ride, Coast To Coast, Roads Lead To War, Treasure Hunter. Not a bad album great voice as always so grab a copy today.
Mad Max "Interceptor' Steamhammer ****
German metal act 'Mad Max' have been around for some time now, back in the 80's they were pretty big business, with the band releasing their debut album 'Mad Max' in 82 , this was an album that I still have not heard but I soon discovered the band in 85 when the band released 'Stormchild', for me this is and will always be the bands cult classic album. I later on heard the album 'Night of Passion' in 87 and later on bought the 2nd album 'Rolling Thunder'. The band broke up after the 3rd album and returned back in 99 with the album 'Never Say Never', this and many other I have yet to hear. If the band ever released a live DVD I certainly would buy it. Front man Michael Voss is a great singer and reminds me of Bonfire's vocalist Claus Lessmann somewhat and Michael went on to release albums under the name of 'Wolfpakk' as well as 'The Voice of Rock' project that featured some of the finest Hard Rock singers like Tony Martin etc.... With Mad Max Michael who also plays guitar is also joined by Jurgen Breforth (guitars), Roland Bergmann (bass) and Alex Kruse (drums) to complete the line up. This is a pretty good comeback album and has hints of early Mad Max with modern bands much as Bonfire, Saxon, Sinner style of Heavy Metal music. Michael has also produced the album too which he has given the whole production a great sound and this is certainly a driving type of metal album, you know windows down and music loud... This album also features a re vamped song 'Show No Mercy' taken from the 'Night of Passion' album so it's good to see a song redone, shame it wasn't a song from the 'Stormchild' album. This album features 10 hard hitting rock tunes that is a must for any fans of the melodic metal scene. I have never seen the band live but would love too one day. Songs on the album you should check out are: Save Me, Godzilla, Sons of Anarchy, Rock All Your Life, Five Minute Warning, Show No Mercy, Revolution. A good album by a fine German melodic metal band, buy if you can....
Ashes Of Ares "Same" Nuclear Blast ****
This is the new band and not a project put together by ex Iced Earth front man Matt Barlow with Freddie Vidales along with ex Nevermore drummer Van Williams. This trio have created a new fresh sound which combines the likes of Iced Earth with Nevermore and other influences as well such as Metallica spring to mind. With Matt been in and out of Iced Earth the fan's were not sure what to expect from him and if this would become a band or not and for how long? I think we can safely say that this band will go places, it's just a matter of wondering what instrument Freddie wants to play live bass or guitar as he plays both on the CD, a talented musician. With Matt's kiss sounding harmony vocals with hints of Halford this band would certainly appeal to fans of Kiss and with a hint of early Metallica thrown in makes this a pretty good album. Van's drumming is excellent and doesn't sound like the stuff he did with Nevermore, not as technical but still manages to capture the excellent drumming we know him for. After watching the video for the song 'This is my Hell', it looks as if the band are now a 5 piece unless the band have just hired session musicians for the video shoot. This album was recorded at 'Morrisound Studios' with the help of Jim Morris, Tampa's well known studio where most Death and Thrash Metal bands recorded their albums back in the 80's. Jim is well known for his work with his brother Tom who had worked with the likes of Kamelot, Powersurge, Toxik, Iced Earth, Morbid Angel and many more... Again like back in the day Jim has done a great job and clearly shows with his work on this album, solid and powerful production here. The album features 10 powerful melodic Progressive Power Metal riffs with some excellent catchy riffs and melody hooks. There is a hint of Metallica's 'Master of Puppets' feel to this album, the heaviness of that record shows in this album too. Songs to check out are: The Messenger, On Warriors Wings, Punishment, This Is My Hell, Chalice Of Man. A great album and a must for fans of the above bands, check them out on tour with Powerwolf right now.
Fates Warning Darkness In A Different Light Inside Out *****
Well it's about time that Fates Warning released their long await new album, it has been some time since the bands last album which came out in 2004 titled 'FWX', damn is it really that long ago? The band have released 1 live CD and 1 live DVD but the band have been busy with side projects such as Redemption 'Ray Alder's act', and Jim got involved with ex Fates Warning singer John Arch for the project 'Arch/ Matheos' project which also involved Fates bassist Joey Vera 'Armored Saint' and drummer Bobby Jarzombek also know for his work with 'Halford', along with Frank Aresti. So with these projects at hand Fates Warning have been put on hold for almost 10yrs. Now that the band are back with the above members this is a great comeback album, at 1st I did find it hard to get into this album, after been so excited to hear about this album I was expecting high expectation which I was kind of let down by at 1st sadly. It took some time to adjust to this new album and say say if it takes time for an album they usually grow on you. In this case it did just that, after all Ray is my all time favourite Progressive Metal singer of all time along side Devon Graves 'Psychotic Waltz'. This album is the 1st for German label Inside Out, but the band remain signed to Metal Blade in the U.S., the label that got the band signed back in 84 when the band released 'Night on Brocken'. For me I would have to say that my all time favourite albums by this band would be 'The Spectre Within', 'Awaken The Guardian' the John Arch years , whereas Ray Alder would be 'No Exit'. This is typical Fates Warning that you would hear on the last few albums 'FWX' & 'A Pleasant Shade Of Grey' era, good music and awesome vocals. Fates Warning are a band that you either love or hate and for me I love their music ever since I bought 'The Spectre Within' back in 85 aged 15. This album sees the band release 10 trax of pure Progressive Metal in the style they have created themselves. There is one song that I do feel is too long and gets boring after a few minutes (sadly) which is 'Lighthouse' which clocks in at 5.22 with just vocals, guitar and keyboards it's just too long a song sadly, other than that it's a fine comeback album. Produced by Jim Matheos with the mixing done by Phil Magnotti, of which the whole album is superb in sound and Ray is on top form as always. Music is fine and there are some catchy tunes here with a slightly modern approach in the music but still manages to capture the Fates Warning sound. Songs on the album you should check out are: Firefly, One Thousand Fires, I Am, Into The Black, Kneel And Obey, And Yet it Moves. A fine album, welcome back guys I just wish you would play the UK, yet again we always shit out on decent tours... Maybe I should move to Germany, check out their tour of Europe in October onwards.
Six Minute Century "Wasting Time" Nightmare ***
This is a band that recently came my way through Nightmare Records, the label that brought you some impressive Progressive or Power Metal music in recent years. Six Minute Century formed back in 2004 when the band were formed to make a Progressive/ Power Metal band by guitarist Don LaFon (Mystic Cross) who released 2 independent CD's on their own, a pretty good band and his vocals remind me of Sun Caged. Don found Chuck William and it wasn't long before the band formed a style what would best be described as across between Savatage, Kamelot, Dio musically with the vocals of Fate Warning, Dream Theater and TNT. Joining the band is Helstar drummer Mikey Lewis, who is an amazing drummer and Helstar are my all time favourite Power Metal band I was hoping this album would be something special, but for me it's good but nothing that really grabs me as I thought it would do. Don't get me wrong there's some catchy tunes here and impressive riffs but I do feel that the vocals could of been stronger or maybe a better singer for such a band with great talent. I do hear some hints of Symphony X in the bands music too which gives it that added flavour. Production is pretty good but again lack's solidness which makes the album suffer a little. It's hard to knock such a good band but some of the album just doesn't cut it for me. Songs on the album I do like are: Wasting Time, Just Remains, Paying Deaths Toll, Last Day's in Paradise, The Killing Fields, City of Hope, Needham Point. Not a bad album and there's certainly room for improvement. But hey don't take my world for it you might like this album the way it is, I love Progressive Metal but I just feel this album needs improvement. I am sure this album will grow on me, just wish the vocals were stronger and had more variation in Chucks voice.
Kreator "Dying Alive" Nuclear Blast ****
German thrash God's 'Kreator' return with their new live CD/ DVD titled 'Dying Alive' which has just been released recently through Nuclear Blast. Having established their own identity since 82 when the band were getting together under the name 'Tormentor' but in 84 changed their name to kreator. Having released their debut album 'Endless Pain' back in 85 which I thought was a pretty good debut back then soon saw the band become more brutal with their next album 'Pleasure to Kill', this was the turning point for the band in which the band just went from strength to strength with each album until the band released 'Renewal' in 92 which saw the band experimenting with new idea's, sadly it didn't work for the band in my opinion. It was on their next album 'Cause for Conflict' in 95 when the band once again got themselves back on top form. The band have come a long way and have influenced so many Thrash Metal bands world-wide that the band have now released 13 albums throughout their career. The band have also released a few live DVD's either on their own or as bonus material with CD's. This however is the bands new live CD/ DVD and is awesome, as I only have the audio files I would love to see the DVD some time as I bet it is really good. This album features trax from the bands early material right up to the modern stuff and contains 24 brutal tunes from the start to the finish. Original members Millie Petrozza (vocals & guitar) and drummer Ventor along with bassist Christian Giesler and guitarist Sami Yli-Sirnio which has been a steady line up for some time now. This is a great live production and well worth getting if you're a fan of the band. I bet the DVD is even more exciting so I have to grab a copy soon. The band collected songs from the early days to the modern days and I bet it was hard to pick such a fine set list for the live CD/ DVD which contains 24 solid hard in you're face Thrash Metal tunes. Songs like Phantom Antichrist, Flag of Hate, Tormentor, Extreme Aggression, Endless Pain, Betrayer, Pleasure to Kill, People of a Lie, Violent Revolution, Hordes of Chaos and many more fine classic Kreator tunes. A must for all Thrash Metal fan's alike.
Through Chamber "Psykerion" Inside Out ***
Some of you may not be familiar with this act, but you may remember the band Enchant? The North American act that also were signed to Inside Out Music back in the late 90's, early 2000's. This Progressive Rock/ Metal 1st came on the scene back in 93 when the band released their debut album 'Blue print of the World' when Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery 1st discovered the band and decided to produce the band's debut album. This was originally released on Dream Circle, which folded in the end. With the bands debut album released the band recorded a further 6 albums before the band broke up in 2005. Vocalist Ted Leonard and keyboard played Bill Jenkins formed this act Through Chambers in which the band recorded 1 album prior to this titled 'Angular Perception' in 2007, which indeed was a decent album. Only 1 album and the band seemed to well go quiet and nothing was heard until now. In 2013 the band release their new album 'Psykerion' also through Inside Out. This album also features guitarist Michael Harris, a well known guitarist with drummer Mike Haid who had worked with David Chastain with Jeff Plant who had also been with Enchant. This album is a little different from that of the bands previous album but still manages to keep the progressive elements with the band to a high standard. It's strange but this album actually comes with 16 trax, of which some are instrumentals or short acoustic tunes but still a great album. I have always liked Ted's vocals since been with Enchant so I knew I would like this album too. Produced by Tom Size (Y&T/ Aerosmith/ Enchant) at Tomland studios, in which the overall sound is solid and strong. The bands music reminds e of Kansas, Dream Theater, Fates Warning and Enchant & It Bites. Songs on the album to check out are: Inceptus, Psykerion the Question, Light time Year, Kerakryps, Circuits of O.D.D., Behind the eyes of Ikk, Transcend. Not a bad album at all, give it a try it's certainly different.
James LaBrie "Impermanent Resonance" Inside Out ***
By now most of you most know the voice of Dream Theater 'James LaBrie', who started his career with the band back in 91 when James left his old band back in Canada under the name of 'Black Rose', who also released an album for Inside Out in later years. With the success of the 'Images & Words' CD in 92 which saw some of the bands most impressive work and more MTV hits then ever before. James has remained the main man since 91 and still continues to be part of the band. James has come a long way since his early days with Dream Theater and has appeared on several projects what include Fates Warning, Shadow Gallery, Frameshift, Ayreon, Redemption and Eden's Curse. This is Jame's 3rd also album to which there are some resemblances to Dream Theater in this album but not as much, as there are influences to the new age metal, kind of across between Avenge Sevenfold, Dali's Dilemma another fine band who only released 1 album sadly. In fact this album features Dali's Dilemma's keyboard player Matt Guillory who has worked with James on his previous album 'Static Impulse' back in 2010. Joining James and Matt is Marco Stogli (guitars), Ray Riendeau (ex Halford), on bass, and drummer Peter Wildoer who also handles the scream vocals. The album is a good and impressive album mixing Progressive Metal with a touch of modern metal which works really well for the band and the album. Produced by Jens Borgen & Tony Lindgren, known for their work with Opeth, Kreator, Paradise Lost, Symphony X to name a few and the overall sound is nice, heavy and solid making all the music shine through. The album comes with 12 tracks that I am sure you will love if you're a fan of either modern metal or progressive metal this is an album for you. Songs that I like and I suggest you check out are: Agony, Undertow, Back on the Ground, Hold On, Letting Go, Distined to Burn, Amnesia. A decent album like I aid of mixed modern music mixed with progressive metal check it out.
Lingua Mortis Orchestra "Featuring Rage" Nuclear Blast ****
German Power/ Thrash metal act 'Rage' are a band that don't seem scared of trying new thing and experimenting that' for sure. Having formed back in the early 80's when the band were once called 'Avenger' (not to be confused with the UK act) the band soon changed their name to save any confusion. Main man Peavy Wagner has constantly continued to carry the bands name forward for the last 3 decades without giving up so I have to admire his admiration. Like all bands, this power trio have continued to carry on playing quality music that has made so many fans happy world-wide and with the bands debut album 'Reign of Fear' in 86 when the band signed to Noise International which was the turning point for the band. Making the start of what has become a long and successful career which the band released a further 19 albums, holy shit that's a fucking lot folks!! It's more than any other bands I know to have recorded so many albums. I have seen this band live 3 times now and I know how good they are and how powerful their music is live, if you have not seen them live go check them out. Peavy is joined by eastern European guitarist Victor Smolski who was once with Mind Odyssey, who also worked with Noise and G.U.N. back in the 90's, a great band to check out too, and ex Silent Force drummer Andre Hilgers .With the last Rage album '21' released 2012 saw the band at their peak and now they have returned with this project which features some fine melodic metal mixed with an orchestra which makes this a great album. It isn't the 1st time the band have done something like this, with their 'String to a Web', which featured a live DVD. This album was produced by Charlie Bauerfeind who has worked with some of the top metal acts such as Saxon. This album features 10 trax of interesting music, dark, atmospheric and powerful. Songs on the album to check out are: Scapegoat, The Devils Bride, Lament, Witches Judge, Straight to Hell, One more Time. A great album by a great band, check this out.
Onslaught "VI" AFM ****
The UK has seen some fine old school Thrash Metal bands come and go in the past, Onslaught was one of the 1st who delivered the devastating music to the underground metal scene with their debut album 'Powers from Hell' released back in 85 through a very small label called 'Children of the Revolution' which I think had mostly Punk bands but I am not sure. This album saw the likes of Metal Forces, Kerrang in the UK praising the album as a fine new upcoming band. With the release of that album out of the way and very little support from their label at that time the band looked for a new label to only find 'Under one Flag', the side label to Music for Nation who has the likes of Metallica, Anthrax under their belt. It wasn't long before the band signed to MFN and 'The Force' in 86. The band were originally formed in Bristol (UK) back in 83 by guitarists Nige Rockett and drummer Steve Grice with Vocalist Jase Pope and bassist Paul Hill. Since the band formed Nigel is the only original member from the very 1st stage of the band, and vocalist Sy Keeler joined for the album 'The Force'. As the band were making waves the band soon signed to London records (a major label) in which the band went for a more commercial Metallica sounding approach which sadly pretty much broke the band up with problems with the label. Sadly nothing happened for some time but in 2005 the band reunited by Steve Grice and was joined by Sy Keeler, Nige Rockett, James Hinder and found new guitarist from Wales named Alan Jordan. The line was complete and the band soon started to demo new tunes to which the band released 'Killing Peace' in 2007. It was in 2011 when the band signed to AFM with the album 'Sounds of Violence', a great comeback album which saw the band touring with Destruction and playing some of the biggest festivals around Europe. Now the band return with Sy, Nigel, Andy Rosser-Davies (guitars), Jeff Williams (bass) and drummer Mike Hourihan for the new album 'VI'. This album sees the band playing what they do best, hard in your face old school Thrash Metal at it's best. The album has some catchy riffs and tunes and Sy is on top form with his vocals which at times has a slight Halford scream'ish type of vocals which kind of mix well with the music the band are creating. It's heavy but at the same time melodic and enjoyable. A nice production helps which in this case the band have got , which comes with only 9 blistering tunes which is a must for all fans of the band and extreme music in general. All the band members are on top form as this album proves it. Songs on the album to check out are: Chaos is King, Children of the Sands, Fuel for my Fire, Slaughterize, Dead man Walking, Enemy of my Enemy. Welcome back guys, great album indeed.
Sinner "Touch of Sin 2" AFM ***
Sinner are a band from the past early to mid 80's from Germany that feature Matt Sinner (known for his current work with Primal Fear) that just came out of the blue and as a young band signed to one of Germany's biggest independent label's 'Noise', who at that time had also signed Helloween, Kreator, Rage, Celtic Frost and many more, a label that had a good name for themselves or so it appeared at that time. Mat states recently upon the release of this new album that when they were young they made a big mistake signing to Noise looking back on it now. At that time they were young and hungry and to be signed to such a label that had a good reputation seemed like a good idea at that time. With Sinner's back catalogue been owned by Universal, their early albums are deleted and go for silly prices on Ebay. Mat wants to change that and try to show the new fans what they have missed by releasing this 'Best Of' featuring some of their finest work. Having only heard a few songs in the past I can now relate and enjoy this album more now than I properly could of done back in the day. Mat has teamed up with the current Sinner line that released such albums as 'Last Bullet Left' in 2011, which features members of Voodoo Circle, Primal Fear, Rage, The New Black. I have to say that this is a really good album and I am pleased to of heard such a fine album of cult classic songs by Sinner past. With the band releasing their debut album 'Wild N' Evil' in 82 and it wasn't till 84 when I 1st heard about the band with the album 'Danger Zone'. With the band releasing 16 albums really does say a lot for such a fine band. This album however features 14 of the bands past songs, and I bet it was hard for Mat to decide which songs he wanted to put on this album. Maybe a new album 'Vol. 2' could see the light of day next year. In the meantime check out this fine album by one of Germany's underrated bands of all time. Songs I like are: Born to Rock, Comin out Fighting, Bad Girl, Knife in my Heart, Shout, Danger Zone, Emerald, Masquerade, Heart of the City. Goof album that also features David Readman (Pink Cream 69), and was mixed by Achim Kohler a fine German musician. Check out this album it has some time tunes.
Phil H. Anselmo and The Illegals "Walk Through Exist Only" Season Of The Mist **
As much of a fan as I was with Pantera, especially in the early days when Phil just joined for 'Power Metal' album and of course 'Cowboys from Hell' and the debut Down album which were all very good albums I kind of went off Pantera towards the end sadly and never really heard much more that Phil had recorded. I remember when Phil had 1st joined Pantera with his superb screamish vocals at times was compared to Rob Halford which I enjoyed very much took Power/ Thrash Metal to the next level with his debut album 'Power Metal' back in 88, for some reason the kids of today don't really know about this awesome album (if you're one of them go check it out). Sadly Pantera broke up back in roughly about 2003, leaving Dimebag and his brother Vinnie to form Damageplan before the sad lost of Dimebag been shot whilst on stage back in 2004. Phil carried on with his new band 'Superjoint Ritual', who recorded several albums and toured successfully as well as carrying on with 'Down', a sludge type band which reminded me of C.O.C., Eye Hate God, St Vitus style metal which still remain today. This is Phil's 1st solo album, which I sadly have to say is very disappointing and pretty much lacks variety even though there's tons of energy it for me just doesn't grab me and the songs pretty much remain the same sadly. Only if Phil had thought it through a little better the album would of been really good, some up tempo tunes maybe, maybe some blast beats here and there, I'm not sure to be honest. It's not till track 4 before the album starts to pick up with the title track that it starts to deliver more of a punch. I'd love to hear Phil do another 'Power Metal' album but I doubt his voice could handle those high pitch screams now haha!! Joining Phil for this album is Marzi Montazeri (guitars), Bennett Bartley (bass), Jose Manuel Gonzales (drums). I guess after a while his vocals for me start to grind on me, whereas the music starts to pick up, I am not sure why it doesn't grab me like I though it would. Songs on the album which I can tolerate for a short time are: Battalions of Zero, Usupers bastard's Rant, Bedroom Destroyer. Not a great album but hey that's just my opinion, you judge for yourself I am sure it will be right up for street if you like the bands he has been with.
King Kobra "II" Frontiers ***
If like me you're old enough to remember these guys 1st time around then you will know that the band was formed by ex Ozzy's drummer Carmine Appice back in 83-84 along with Johnny Rod (ex WASP) on bass along with Mark Free (vocals), David Michael Philips (guitars), Mick Sweda (guitars). The band recorded 2 albums for Capital records titled 'Ready to Strike' in 85 and 'Thrill of a life Time' in 86. The in 88 the band recorded 'King Kobra III' and after which the band soon broke up to where Carmine joined forces with ex Thin Lizzy, Tygers of pan Tang guitarist John Sykes to form 'Blue Murder', the band recorded 3 albums. Sadly the band broke up and it wasn't until 2010 when Carmine teamed up with the talented singer Paul Shortino (ex Rough Cutt/ Quiet Riot) to reform the band to which this album would mark the next step in the bands history along with original guitarist and bassist. Haven't not heard that much by the bands previous albums I can't judge how this album as progressed from the early albums, but I have to say there are some good songs on here, which are catchy and have good melody hooks. This album sees the band reforming and signing to Italian label Frontiers, who brought you Journey, Whitesnake, Jorn and many more fine melodic metal and AOR acts. The album was produced by Carmine, Paul Shortino and David Henzerling, to which the band were looking for music that would take them back to their roots with such bands as Bad Company, Deep Purple, and even Carmine legendary act 'Cactus', the band that influenced Robb from Anvil. The album has a great production that I guess remarks the 70's and as the music has certain elements of Blues ad Hard Rock it comes with 12 impressive tunes. Not all the songs appeal to me but the ones that do are pretty impressive stuff. Songs on the album you should check out are: Hell on Wheels, Knock them Dead, Take me Back, When the hammer comes Down, Running Wild, Deep River. Not a bad album, maybe not my cup of tea even if Paul has a great voice the music is just one of those albums that I would play once in a while sadly.
Wolfpakk "Cry Wolf" AFM ***
This is the 2nd album from German project 'Wolfpakk', their debut album was released in 2011 through AFM Records, a decent debut album which featured some impressive artist's in the metal scene. This is the band out together by Mad max singer Michael Voss, who decided to get some friends together and to record a project that seemed to of done well with the debut and it they have returned with this new album 'Cry Wolf'. The project also features ex Crystal Ball singer Mark Sweeney. The debut album featured such artists as Paul Di'Anno (ex Maiden), Tony Martin (ex Sabbath), Jeff Scott Soto (ex Yngwie), Rob Rock (Impelitteri), Tim Owen (ex Priest) on vocals to name a few with musicians on the debut album featuring Jgor Gianola (U.D.O), Andy Midgeley (Powerquest), Ira Black (Ex-Vicious Rumors, Lizzy Borden), Torsten Koehne (Edens Curse), Doc Heyne (Biss), Tommy Denander (Dan Reed) on guitars. So some pretty impressive musicans and singers on the debut. Now Michael and Mark return with their new album featuring musicians such as on guitars: Kee Marcello (Ex-Europe), Mandy Meyer (Krokus, Ex-Gotthard), Roland Grapow (Masterplan), Martin Rauber (Top4tea), vocalists appearances by Amanda Somerville (Kiske/Somerville), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), G÷ran Edman (Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Johnny Gioeli (Axel Rudi Pell, Hardline), Doogie White (Ex-Rainbow, Michael Schenker), Tony Mills (Shy, TNT), Blaze Baley (Ex-Iron Maiden), Piet Sielck (Iron Savior), Jean-Marc Viller (Callaway), keyboards by Don Airey (Deep Purple), Tony Carey (Ex-Rainbow), drums by Gereon Homann (Eat the Gun), BrianáTichy (Whitesnake /Ozzy), Hermann Rarebell (Ex-Scorpions), Roland Jahoda (Ex-Paradox) & bass by Mike Winkler. Again it's an impressive line-up for Mike and Mark. Musically it's hard hitting Rock/ Metal that most of you will enjoy, I find it pretty impressive but nothing out of the ordinary but still a good listen. I do like both singers voices, Mike's band Max Mad was one of my favourite when I was a child, I mean 'Stormchild' is an awesome album indeed I just wish they would do a part 2 of that album. Songs on this album I like are: Moonlight, A matter of Time, Dark Revolution, The beast in Me, Pressure Down, Kid Raw. Not a bad album, if you like the band's debut then I am sure you will enjoy this too.
Soil "Whole" AFM ***
Well I would never of thought I would really like Soil, but I have to say this is a really good album for what it is. Having seen the band last year with Fozzy here in the UK and having the pleasure of interviewing Ryan he really is a cool guy and the band are great live. It's also strange and funny to hear that the band was formed back in 97 in Chicago by ex Death metal members of Broken Hope, a band who released albums on Metal Blade and I believe Pavement records, to of changed from Death metal to this hard edge Nu Metal act I guess you could call them. The band signed to Clive Davis label 'J' and in 2001 the band released their debut album 'Scars', which is properly best known for the sing 'Halo', which pretty much is the bands trademark. It was in 2004 when Ryan left the band to join Drowning Pool, his replacement was AJ Cavalier who recorded 'True Self' & 'Picture Perfect'. It wasn't until 2011 when Ryan returned for the bands anniversary for the 'Scars' album. It has been 4 yrs since the bands last album and this new album embarks the return of Ryan to do what he does best and deliver solid music and this is a damn good album for what it is to be honest. The music reminds me of Stuck Mojo's heaviness and maybe some Fozzy with maybe some hints of Pantera or Type of Negative, I really can't say about the new bands as I really don't listen too them but what I have heard on the album I do like. The album contains 11 songs which were recorded by Ulrich Wild, known for his work with Pantera and the overall production sounds solid and natural, a good solid of music with impressive vocals. Check out: Whole loaded Gun, The hate Song, Ugly, Psychopath, Wake Up. Not a bad album with some catchy riffs and songs, if you like the bands previous stuff then you need to check out this album. Check out the band this summer when they tour as I am sure they are playing the UK again soon.
Hibria "Silent Revenge" AFM ****
Some of you maybe or not be familiar with this band, hailing from Porto Alegre in Brazil back in 96 Hibria were born to make quality Power Metal, firstly making demo tapes and sending them out around the world to various labels and magazines to gain population. It wasn't long before a Japanese label saw potential within the band and soon signed the band and the bands debut album 'Defying the Rules' was releases which was also picked up by Germany label Remedy Records in Hamburg. With the release of such an impressive album which kind of reminded me of Jag Panzer's music somewhat and with the powerful vocals of Luri Sanson is a very impressive vocalist who manages to capture the soaring vocals like any other singer out there. This 5 piece Power Metal act have become rather big in Japan as well as in their home country and with the guitar assault by Abel Camargo & Renato Osorio making their fine riffs and the rhythm section by Benhur Lima (bass) and Eduardo Baldo (drums) this band certainly know what they are doing. With the band having their debut album off the ground it was time for the band to release their next album 'The Skull Collector' in 2008, an even better album than the 1st album, a vast improvement even though the debut was impressive. In 2010 the band released their next album 'Blind Ride' and in 2013 the band were signed to AFM with this new album 'Silent Revenge' a fine example of what is yet to come. If you haven't heard the bands music before and you like Power Metal kind of across between Angra, Jag Panzer, Saxon and works really well. This new album features 10 trax for Europe, 9 for the rest of the world and was produced by the band and have done a fine job. Songs on the album you should check out are: Silent Revenge, Lonely Flight, Walking to Death, Silence will make you Suffer, The place you Belong, The way it Is. A good album by a fine Brazilian band, check it out and the bands previous albums.
Magnus Karlsson "Freefall" ***** Frontiers
Some of you may not be familiar with Magnus Karlsson's previous work or him in general. Magnus is a very talented and underrated guitarist from Sweden who was born in 73 and is properly best known for his work with his 1st band who also were signed to Frontiers under the name of 'Last Tribe', sadly the band only recorded 3 albums, a great band indeed that you should check out. The singer back then Richard Bengtsson is a great singer and its a shame that he hasn't been heard of since or has he and I am unaware of this? Magnus has also worked with Midnight Sun, Allen/ Lande, Primal Fear, Starbreaker and many more so he is certainly getting his name about that's for sure. The list of artist continues today and this is his debut solo album which features some great singers in the world of metal. His music is kind of like Jorn's but in a different way so if you like Jorn's albums then you going to enjoy this album for sure. Like most Swedish guitar player Magnus is yet another fine example of what Sweden has to offer. This album also features Daniel Flores on drums and former Last Tribe singer Richard, along with Russell Allan (Symphony X), Tony Harnell (ex TNT), Mark Boals ( ex Yngiwie), David Readman (Pink Cream 69), Rick Altzi (At Vance/ Masterplan), Mike Andersson (Cloudscape) with Magnus handling the bass as well as the guitars this is an awesome album of power and melody throughout the album. A nice production also by Magnus makes all 12 songs shine through. If I had to say who the music sounds I would say across between Masterplan, Yngwie, Primal Fear, so you kind of get the picture. There are some fine vocalist on here and the songs are catchy, melodic and impressive. Songs to check out are: Freefall, Higher, Stronger, Not my Savior, Us against the World, Our time has Come, Last Tribe, Fighting, Dreams & Hunters. A fine album with some of the best melodic singers in metal. Go buy it today!!!
Masterplan "Novum Initium" AFM ****
It's good to see Masterplan return to the scene with their new album, the band that formed out of the ashes of Helloween with Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch decided to form Masterplan back in 1994 just after the last Helloween album 'The Dark Ride' had a successful release and tour both members were fired from Helloween. The band released their debut album self titled was released in 2004 with the help of Andy Sneap at hand the end results were awesome, nice melodic metal with hints of Helloween still in their music. The band also featured from on and off periods Jorn Lande, an amazing vocalist with lots of talent that everybody wants to get their hands on. Jorn did the first 2 albums, self titled and 'Aeronautics', which was another fine album which featured Jorn, Uli, Roland and Alex Mackenrott (keyboards) still in the band, and bassist Jan Eckert recorded the 1st 2 albums. It was in 2006 when Jorn left the band only to be replaced by Mike DeMeo (ex Riot) on vocals and drummer Mike Terrana ( Alex Rudi Pell) to complete the next album simply titled 'MK II', a successful and great album saw the band supporting Saxon around the UK & Europe. 2010 saw the return of Jorn Lande for the next album 'Time to be King' another successful album but not much touring sadly saw Jorn leave again and to carry on with his solo career. it has been 3 years since the last album and now Roland is back with a almost new line up consisting of Martin Skaroupka , ex Cradle of Flith (drums) and ex Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulaine with vocalist Rick Altzi (At Vance) on vocals. A great singer who's voice combines all the previous singers the band have had and is a great addition to the band. This album was produced by Roland and mixed by Andy Sneap with the overall production sounding awesome. Yes it is still Masterplans music, nothing has changed just the musicians and vocals. The album features 12 trax of pure melodic metal which any fan of melodic Power Metal will love. A tour is been set up now and one for 2014 with Gamma Ray, so watch this space... Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: The Game, Keep your dream Alive, Black knight of Magic, Betrayal, Earth is going Down, Through your Eyes. A great comeback album, so go buy it today it's awesome!!!
Bonfire "Live at Wacken" LZ/ Sony ***
German melodic Metal act 'Bonfre' return with the latest live album, this is actually their 6th live album to date, and with 13 previous albums really does say something about the band. Former back in 86 when guitarist Hans Forstner with Claus Lessmenn formed the band out of the ashes of 'Cucumen' back the early 80's, who had also released 2 albums. It was in 86 when the band were soon called Bonfire and the band released their debut album 'Don't touch the Light' released on RCA Records. A good album mixing The Scorpions, Accept, Saxon vibe with maybe a hint of Whitesnake. With the band releasing their debut the reviews were good from press world-wide and it was in 87 when the band released to me their finest album 'Fire Work', which led the band to a support act for Judas Priest on their 'Ram it Down' tour, my 1st Priest tour and it was great to see Bonfire open up for them instead of Cinderella as it was suppose to of been. Now the band were making serious progress the band released 'Point Blank' in 89 also on RCA followed by 'Knock Out' in 91 the album which saw the band slightly slipping down the road sadly. With the band loosing members and new replacements been found the band have struggled to find the right musicians and the music started to suffer until the last few albums when the band came back stronger than ever. Now the band return with this album live at Wacken festival it is a good album that pretty much is raw in sound and not over dubbed too much if not at all which makes this authentic and for me makes it more enjoyable with no massive live fake crowds. Claus and Hans along with Chris Limburg (guitars), Uwe Kohler (bass), Harry Reischmann (drums). The bands last album 'Branded' was released back in 2012 which was a good album but for me I don't think they could ever re do 'Fire Works', it's just a fine kick ass album. Songs on the album here are: Wake Up, Never Mind, Sweet Obsession, In Zaire, The Stroke, Sword & Stone, SDI, American Nights, Ready 4 Reaction, Obsessive Prelude, Champion, Bell of Freedom, Let me be your Water, Black Night, Thank You, Hold me Now. I don't know if this is released on a DVD I have read nothing about it. I loved their music back in the day and it's good to see their still playing classic style metal. Grab a copy.
Jorn "Traveller" Frontiers ****
There really should not be an introduction to Jorn Lande, most of you out there should all be aware of the talent this fine Norwegian vocalist has. Jorn Lande started out with 'Vagabond' which featured members of TNT, this band released 2 albums from 94-95 before Jorn released his 1st Black Metal band 'Mundanus Imperium' back in 98, a good symphonic album which had hints of Dio back then. It wasn't long before 'Company of Snakes', which was basically Whitesnake without David Coverdale as Jorn to the front vocals and showed the world just how powerful is can be having the Coverdale feel to his voice. A great job he did indeed for the band who released 2 albums, one of which was live and are hard to find only in Japan. In 99 Jorn foudn ex Conception guitarist Tore Ostby with TNT drummer John Macaluso who was also with Riot along with Randy Coven from Steve Vai and Mats Olausson ex Yngwie on keyboards to complete the band 'Ark' who released 2 stunning Progressive metal album that came with a twist. Shame the band never recorded any more albums or even toured the UK. After this Jorn formed Millenium a Florida melodic AOR/ Metal band which features members of Death/ Deicide and Circle to Circle. This band were more directed towards the heavier side of Whitesnake making some great albums. Only 2 albums were recorded leaving Jorn to join Beyond Twilight from Denmark another strange Progressive Metal act who recorded 3 albums. Next came Masterplan, ex Helloween and the band recorded 3 albums with Jorn departed once again to fulfill is solo career as Jorn. In-between Jorn solo career he has done 2 albums with Symphony X singer Russell Allen under the name of 'Allen/ Lande'. Jorn has recorded 16 albums either live recordings or new material or tributes. This guy has talent and was also asked to attend the Ronnie James Dio memorial concert in London which he gladly accepted. Jorn has an amazing voice and if you really want to hear just how talented he really is you need to check out the Ark album 'Burn the Sun' to hear him sound like Sting, Bjork, Peter Gabriel and many more.. As for this new album 'Traveller', Jorn is back to his typical Dio'ish style vocals with hints of Coverdale in there. This album also featured Wig Wam guitarist Trond Holter and Wig Wam bassist Bernt Jansen, Jimmy Iversen on guitar and Willy Bendiksen on drums to complete the line up. Jorn writes some awesome songs and if you love Whitesnake, Rainbow and Dio then this album is for you. I am a big fan so I love all his work and have followed his early stuff from the beginning. This album features 10 solid hard rocking tunes that is defiantly worth the money he just need to break more touring dates in the UK. Songs to check out are: Overlord, Cancer Demon, Traveller, Window Maker, Make your engine Scream, Carry the Black, Rev On. A great album by Norway's finest Metal/ Rock singer since TNT and Conception singers.
Queensryche "Queensryche" Century Media ****
Queensryche have always played a big part in my upbringing have in seem them supporting Dio back in 84 when 'The Warning' had just been released it was a night I will never forget having met the Dio band after the show at the age of 14. I only saw half the Queensryche set which I was disappointed with due to my late arrival and I really wanted to see them live. It wasn't until 'Operation Mindcrime' tour till I saw them again. To be the debut album will always be their best and have a special place in my heart, just the sheer power of the music and vocals spoke volume to me, because of its screaming vocals and Iron Maiden style metal but done i their own way made it a special album. That album however has opened doors to so many acts such as Lethal, Mystic Force, Recon, Kamelot and so many more.... Having had massive success back in the 90's the band somehow lost the plot and their music went down hill, became too political with the song writing and pretty much destroyed the band that was until last year when the Geoff Tate sadly left the band but was replaced by a very talented new singer Todd La Torre, formerly with Crimson Glory (I just wish he would of stayed in them too). He has an amazing voice and easily comes close to that of Midnight and Tate and when you hear this album you will understand why. The new album certainly has become more heavier something the band really needed a kick up the ass as they were a band who would plunge into the depths of hell if they had not changed their music to a heavier approach. Ok so it's not 'The Warning' pt 2 sadly (we all wish for) but in time the next album could see a come back of such a fine album and why not? This new album does have some heavy parts as you will hear so there certainly on the right track once again. The new album features 11 tunes, out of the 11 are 2 intro's and sadly the album only last 39 minutes, shame really as you just get into it, it is all over. There is however a double CD with 3 live songs : Queen of the Reich, En Force, Prophecy. Yes the new album does have the typical rche sound and if you listen to the 1st full song 'Where dreams go to Die' is has a powerful beginning but soon mellows out in the verses sadly but picks up in the chorus. If you hear the beginning of that song the heavy part and imagine it to be the verse style of music this could of been a right kick in the balls song. OK so it mellows out but its still a great song. The album was produced by long time friend James Burton and with the artwork done by Craig Howell known for his work with Star Wars, Slipknot etc.... Other songs on the album I like are: Spore, In this Light, Redemption, Vindication, A World Without (reminds me of Psychotic Waltz), Fallout. A great comeback album, the question is, would this album of been as heavy if Geoff Tate was still in the band? Go see them live if you can, welcome back guys!!
Battle Beast "Battle Beast" Nuclear Blast ***
Finnish metal act 'Battle Beast' return with their new album for Nuclear Blast which is self titled. Formed back in 2008 the band played Wacken and won 'Battle bands' in the same year saw the band soon signed to Nuclear Blast and in 2010 the band released their debut album 'Steel', which saw the band receiving some impressive CD reviews world-wide and a tour with Nightwish, fellow country men sharing the same stage together. It was in 2012 when original singer Nitte Valo quit the band leaving the band again looking for a suitable replacement which soon happened which happened with the talented female singer of Noora Louhimo and the band ended up supporting Sonata Arctica, given the band more popularity and more sales. With the bands line up been: Noora (vocals), Pyry (drums), Anton (guitars), EWro (bass), Juuso (guitars) and Janne (keyboards) the band soon entitled the studio for the new album in none other than the famous studio in Helsinki 'Finnvox Studios' with Mika Jussila who has worked with some of the top Finish bands like Stratovarious, TArot, Nightwish and many more. Again the over all production is excellent, solid and all the instruments shine through. Musically they remind me of Nightwish, Tarot, Crystal Viper, Stratovarius to name a few.... If you like across between Symphonic Metal with hints of Power Metal then you will surely love this album. I don't mind it but to be honest I am not a fan of bands like Nightwish I much prefer Doro, Lita Ford female singers. Songs on the album to check out are: Let it Roar, Out on the Streets, Neuromancer, Raven, Over the Top, Fight kill Die, Black Ninja. Not a bad album and at times the Power Metal style of Crystal Viper creeps out which is more my cup of tea. If you like the 1st album you will love this album. There a decent band from Finland which a good future if they carry on making good quality music.
Timo Tolkki Avalon "The Land Of New Hope" Frontiers ****
Former Stratovarius guitarist Timo Tolkki returns with his 1st album in some time, a new project since his departure of Finnish Symphonic Metal act back in 2004 when the guitarist suffered bi-polar disorder which sadly left him leaving the band. Front man Timo Kotipelto concentrated on a solo career hoping that Timo would return. Sadly this wasn't meant to be leaving Timo T to recover and in 2012 Timo returned stronger than ever and made this super album featuring some impressive vocalists and musicians he could find for this new album 'A Metal Opera - The land of new Hope', which is a pretty good album, yes it has a certain feel to his previous band but also a new direction forward giving him more freedom to do what he so rightly desires. This album features vocalist such as Bob Rock (Impellitteri), Russel Allan (Symphony X), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Michael Kiske (Ex Helloween/ Unisonic), Sharon Den Alel (Within Temptation), Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), whilst musicians include Jen Johansson (keyboards), Derek Sherinian (Black Country Communion), Mikko Harkin, with drums by Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire), so it's a pretty good album for music and vocalists alike. The album was by Timo and contains 10 trax of pure melodic and also symphonic metal mixing female with male vocals really works well on this album. The album also comes as a deluxe version featuring a 30 minute documentary and 2 promo videos so its worth check out this if you can grab a copy. If you like the mixture of such bands like Within Temptation meets Stratovarius then I am sure this will appeal to you too. Songs to check out are: Avalanche Anthem, A World without Us, Enshrined in my Memory, In the name of the Rose, We will find Away, The magic of the Night, To the edge of the Earth. A great album well worth checking out.
Guninti Project "IV" Escape &