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REVIEWS 2021 - Page 1

Index   Page 2

CLIFFORD: En Svensk Jävla Tragedi - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
The title means "A Swedish Fucking Tragedy", and that is what this Swedish black metal duo think about how Sweden has handled the ongoing pandemic. Funny as they hailed the Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell on their first single, which was released about a year ago. But conspiracy theories is what this band write about, so why be logical? And yes, you can always change your opinion within a year.
The song itself is o.k., but hardly anything unique. I guess we can call it some kind of heavier and slower death/black metal.
facebook.com/Cliffordband   despotz.se
Published: Feb. 17

WALK THE WALK: Walk The Walk - Album
(AOR Heaven on Feb. 26)
About a year ago former DIO guitarist Tracy G teamed up with J. Adler and Paul Alfrey, as he knew that they both love melodic hard rock with big choruses and strong hooks. J. and Alfrey has produced the album, and they have lots of experience from other collaborations in the music business (I'm not gonna bore you with a list here).
I think of 80s bands like DEF LEPPARD and BON JOVI for example when I listen to this self titled debut album. In other words just like the description above. And who can say no to that when you grew up in the 80s?
The songs on this album are fantastic, so let's hope that this is not just a one-off thing. Because I wouldn't say no to another album within a year or so.
facebook.com/walkthewalkband   aorheaven.com
Published: Feb. 16

GLASGOW: Zero Four One - Album reissue
(AOR Heaven on Feb. 26)
Yes, this band is just like their name says from the Scottish city Glasgow. And their history goes back to the 1980s. Their first demos saw the light of day in 1983, which was followed by a single and then a 3-track EP in 1984. And in 1987 their debut album, "Zero Four One" (041 was the telephone dialing code of the city back then), came out.
The album is now being re-released with a bonus track from 1988, and is limited to just 500 copies, and only available from AOR Heaven Mailorder.
The music that this band play is very melodic, AOR/melodic rock, with a sound that is pretty typical for the time. I don't think it sounds dated though, and many people like the sound of the 80s, so why not? Their songs are pretty good, and the material is very strong.
Unfortunately the band split up by the end of the decade. They seems to be back again though, so there might be something in the making..
aorheaven.com
Published: Feb. 16

AUTUMN'S CHILD: Angel's Gate - Album
(AOR Heaven on Feb. 26)
Swedish vocalist Mikael Erlandsson has released 6 solo albums, and have worked with acts like PHENOMENA, SALUTE, SECRET SERVICE and LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM. The debut album with his latest band, AUTUMN'S CHILD, came out in January 2019, and now it's time for a second album, "Angel's Gate".
This is more of what we got on the first album, which means high class melodic rock/AOR with a Nordic touch. There's hommages throughout the album to artists like WHITESNAKE, SUPERTRAMP, Gary Moore, 10CC, Manfred Mann and ELO. So this is an important album for any fan of melodic rock.
facebook.com/mikael.erlandsson1   aorheaven.com
Published: Feb. 16

GATUPLAN: Kampen Går Vidare! - Album
(Wild Kingdom on Feb. 26)
Swedish punk veteran Inge Johansson (The (International) NOISE CONSPIRACY, AGAINST ME!, CSS, STILETT, ALONZO & FAS 3, TOTALT JÄVLA MÖRKER, KNUGEN FALLER) is the man behind this new band. And we get a mixture of power pop, ska and melodic punk rock on this debut album. He show us his love for the punk genre, but the vocals is often like rap vocals. I like what I hear though, no doubt about that.
The influences is a wild mixture of different music: RAMONES, RANCID, The STREETS, MANO NEGRA, The SPECIALS and PUBLIC ENEMY. The lyrics are both political and personal, while the music is catchy and positive. This is the kind of album that you have to listen to again and again, and you will like it more and more for each time you hear it.
Among the other musicians are people like Jouni Haapala (DE LYCKLIGA KOMPISARNA, PERKELE) and Fredrik Eriksson (TWOPOINTEIGHT) for example. And Anna Philipsson (KNUGEN FALLER) are background singer, which she is a little too good for (not that Inge is a bad singer though).
facebook.com/Gatuplan-2737758129572355
Published: Feb. 15

MOS GENERATOR: The Lantern - Album reissue
(Argonauta Records on Feb. 26)
Heavy rock trio MOS GENERATOR formed in 2000 in Port Orchard, Washington. The band has released 9 full length studio albums, a retrospective album, 2 live albums, as well as several singles and split albums through the years.
"The Latern" is actually a collection of songs that were originally released in 2007 on a 10" picture disc, then titled "Tales From The Vault". That album has been long out of print, so it will now be re-released (on vinyl again) with new mixes and artwork.
The songs were recorded live in their rehearsal room in June 2006, which gives this recording a raw sound, but it sounds really good to me. This is absolutley worth checking out.
mosgenerator.bandcamp.com   argonautarecords.com
Published: Feb. 15

VENOMOUS: Tribus - EP
(Brutal Records on Feb. 19)
This Brazilian quintet has previously released 2 albums in 2018 and 2019. Now they have signed a global deal with Brutal Records, and the first release is this 4-track EP.
VENOMOUS mixes all aspects of metal with their Brazilian roots, and I would say that this is almost progressive. But I guess we can call their music melodic death metal, even though they doesn't really have the famous Gothenburg sound. Heavy riffs and aggression is mixed with catchy melodies, but they get their own sound out of it.
Is it any good then? Well, I guess they are o.k. at least. So don't be afraid to give them a try at least.
venomous.com.br   brutalrecords.us
Published: Feb. 13

The IMPALER: A Fate Worse Than Death - Album
(Self released on Feb. 19)
This is so hard and heavy, noisey and loud, that it just becomes irritating to listen to. It's a little like the madhouse attack or something. Totally insane! But if a band that play heavy while a maniac is screaming sounds like something interesting to you, then I won't stop you from giving this a try.
If I should try to describe what I hear, then I would say a mixture of groovy death and black metal with a pinch of hardcore. It sounds like the guitars are very down-tuned (but I'm hardly an expert when it comes to that). It's a wild mixture of crushing riffs, breakdowns, heavy atmospheric tremolo effects, deep guttural, and sometimes feral sounding vocals. And even though this is heavy, it's very intense, and it takes a lot of energy to listen to.
The IMPALER is an Australian band, who released their debut album, "Death Cult", last year.
Published: Feb. 13

SKYHAMMER: The Skyhammer - EP
(Self released today)
Traditional metal band from Australia, who are influenced by the classic heavy metal bands of the 80s, but also European power metal and some progressive stuff. And they deliver their music with energy. It's powerful and everybody seems to be good at what they are doing. The songs are very good too.
Except for 5 of their own songs, we also get a cover of K-LOG's classic "Danger Zone" (famous from some 80s movie, was it "Top Gun"?).
The band comes from Adelaide, South Australia, and formed in 2011.
skyhammer1.bandcamp.com
Published: Feb. 12

NALEX: Never Ending Story - Single
(Mighty Music - Out today)
Niels Alex has been a part of the Danish rock and metal scene for the past 25 years. He has played drums for the hardcore/metal band PILGRIMZ, and then he created the hard rock band STATEMENT. But every song you make doesn't really fit the band that you play with for the moment, so Niels decided to work on some of those "odd" songs together with producer Tue Madsen.
"Never Ending Story" is the first single from this collaboration, where Niels take care of vocals as well as guitar, bass and drums. Tue participate with a 1970s inspired guitar solo and some keys. And inspiration to their music comes from all kinds of classic hard rock and metal. The idea is that their partnership will end up in a whole album in the future.
This song is mainly melodic hard rock, but have some heavy guitars in the chorus. Not bad at all.
mightymusic.dk
Published: Feb. 12

RENEGADE ANGEL: The Whistleblower - Single
(Self released - Out now)
RENEGADE ANGEL is the brainchild of Finnish songwriter Jani Pöysä. He is backed up by people from all over the world - a glam guitarist called Lukky Sparxx (EXXOCET) from Chile, English bassist Charles Berthoud, Vangelis Moraitis from Greece play drums, and from Argentina comes Alejandro Fernandez on vocals, synth and guitar. And the music that this international band create is what they call "the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal". They pay homage to the sound of the past, but add the musicianship and technology of the present.
"The Whistleblower" is the band's second single, which sounds very good to me. These guys are hardly any amateurs that just learned how to play, so put them in a specific genre of metal might not be right. But to make it easier I would say that it's heavy metal anyway. In this case it's actually melodic heavy metal, and this song is pretty good.
Published: Feb. 11

NORSEMAN: Horizon - Single
(Inverse Records - Out now)
NORSEMAN's new single is dedicated to those who have left away from their loved ones beyond the horizon, and the music video of the track is dedicated to children who have lost their parents.
"Horizon" is a taste of their second album, "Immortal Superminor", which will be released later this year. And if this is a typical song for that album, then it will be a pretty soft story, and not as heavy metal as I expected it to be. But I guess they have some harder stuff too. It's a good song though.
NORSEMAN was originally founded back in 1994. Their debut album was recorded between 1997-1999, but not released until 2007. They also started to work on a second album in 2005, which was never finished for several reasons. But now they have started to work on that second album again.
facebook.com/Norseman-Band-103118101686277   inverse.fi
Published: Feb. 11

PHILM: Time Burner - Album
(Metalville Records on Feb. 19)
These guys are like a mixture of VOIVOD and KILLING JOKE. Which means that they absolutely have their own unique sound. So if you're looking for something different, then try this.
The first 2 tracks are o.k. But after that they become melancholy and boring. Suddenly it's more like Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen instead, but with their own twist. And then an experimental and crazy piano song on top of that. What kind of shit is this?
After that they deliver a more funky song, which is just a little bit better. But then it goes south again and becomes even more weird. Like some kind of experimental jazz or something. And that fucking piano again too. Total crap!
PHILM is an experimental/avantgarde rock/metal trio from Los Angeles. In the beginning former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo was a member of the band, but he has now left the band.
metalville.de
Published: Feb. 10

OJM: Live at Rocket Club - LP
(Go Down Records/Vincebus Eruptum Recordings on Feb. 19)
OJM was founded in 1997 and came from Treviso, Italy. They played stoner rock/garage rock with rough guitars and a psychedelic touch. A little like 60s/70s acts like BLUE CHEER, BLACK SABBATH, MC5 and GRAND FUNK RAILROAD for example. They released a few albums, but in 2015 the members went seperate ways.
In March 2020 the drummer, Max Ear, found a live recording from 2011, recorded at the Rocket Club in Landshut, Germany. And that's what this record consist of - 10 songs recorded at a small club, that was probably drenched in sweat and beer while the band was rocking out.
If you like those early hard rock bands, and have nothing against long jams, then this could be something for you. They were absolutley not bad musicians, and some of the songs are pretty good.
godownrecords.com/ojm
Published: Feb. 10

MOTHER ROAD: II - Album
(Metalapolis Records on Feb. 19)
MOTHER ROAD was founded in 2013, and features former members of SOUL DOCTOR, MSG etc. The band is named after the legendary Route 66 highway in USA, and their music is done with love and respect for bands like BAD COMPANY, HUMBLE PIE and FREE. So it's simply hard/blues rock from the 70s that we are talking about here, with both British and American influences.
These 10 tracks are good stuff, and they seems to deliver them with passion. I have nothing to complain about, and can't come up with anything else to add.
facebook.com/themotherroad   metalapolis.eu
Published: Feb. 10

EL PISTOLERO: Mexican Standoff - Album
(Metalapolis Records on Feb. 19)
Action rockers influenced by AC/DC and MOTÖRHEAD. Cool stuff of course. No progressive and advanced 10-minute songs here. Just loud and dirty hard rock n roll with punk attitude, that is catchy as hell. And it doesn't have to be more complicated than this to be good (not for me anyway).
This German band was founded in 2012. They have previously recorded 4 demos and 1 (unreleased) EP. "Mexican Standoff" is a combination of reworked songs and 7 brand new.
Fans of MOTÖRHEAD and AC/DC should absolutely check this out.
metalapolis.eu
Published: Feb. 10

TENEBRO: Liberaci dal Male - EP
(Xtreem Music on Feb. 23)
This is what I call heavy. Yet it's death metal that we get here.
TENEBRO comes from Italy, and they call their music horror death metal. Inspiration comes from Italian horror cult movies from the 70s/80s. The first full length album will be released next summer. But before that they release this EP - which includes the 3-track cassette EP, "Liberaci dal Male" and their demo, simply titled "Demo 2019" - on CD.
If you like it heavy, then you probably like this too.
tenebro666.bandcamp.com
Published: Feb. 9

ENEMY AWAKE: Fallen World - Album
(Self released on Feb. 14)
ENEMY AWAKE is a Swedish melodic death/thrash metal duo. Their debut, "The Enemy", was released in 2019.
On "Fallen World" they unite the classic Swedish death metal sound with a modern approach, and they do it damned good. This is probably the best female growl since Angela Gossow left ARCH ENEMY. A real beauty that sounds like a beast. I'm impressed! But the music is damned good too of course.
This will for some reason just be released digital, but you just have to check them out - No excuses allowed!
enemyawake.bandcamp.com
Published: Feb. 9

Siggi Schwarz: The Fire Inside - Album
(Siggi Schwarz Music/Pride & Joy Music on Feb. 19)
That fire inside must be burning a little too much, as he has to deliver as much as 15 tracks at once. I guess it's called passion though.
Siggi Schwarz is a German guitarist, and this is his 11th album. The songs are some kind of American melodic hard rock, with a touch of the 70s and 80s. Sometimes there's also a touch of blues rock. Pretty good stuff, but nothing special and too many songs.
This album was co-written and co-produced with Dave Schaefer from New York, who is also singing on the album.
siggi-schwarz.de   prideandjoy.de
Published: Feb. 8

ORION'S REIGN: Scores Of War - Album reissue
(Pride & Joy Music on Feb. 19)
Much of this album sounds very familiar to me, and when I checked my old reviews it turns out that I have heard this album before. It was originally released in October 2018, so it's not that old yet. This is the second album from ORION'S REIGN, who are labelled as symphonic metal. I think it's bombastic heavy/power metal with a symphonic twist though (which is probably the same, haha). It's very good music anyway, so if you don't have heard this album already, then you should give it a try.
ORION'S REIGN are influenced by epic movie scores, with a complete orchestra, bombastic rhythms and massive choirs. And on this album we also get some guest appearances, such as Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, Yngwie Malmsteen), Bob Katsionis (FIREWIND), Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen) and others.
"Scores Of War" is completely sold out on CD, and has been one of the most successful releases for their label so far. This new version is for some reason limited to just 1000 copies, and includes 2 bonus tracks: the SLAYER cover "Raining Blood" and "Dragonborn" by SKYRIM featuring singer Francesco Cavalieri (WIND ROSE, FAIRYTALE).
orionsreign.com   prideandjoy.de
Published: Feb. 8

NATURAL BORN MACHINE: Human - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on Feb. 19)
NATURAL BORN MACHINE is a new international melodic hard rock band, which was founded in 2019 by bassist/composer Alberto Rigoni (BAD AS, VIVALDI METAL PROJECT etc). The group also features singer David Readman (PINK CREAM 69), guitarist Alessio "Lex" Tricarico (BAD AS) and drummer Denis "Denzy" Novello (ARDITYON).
Well, if you like the more melodic kind of hard rock, then this could be a band for you. Because they are hardly bad at what they are doing.
naturalbornmachine.com   prideandjoy.de
Published: Feb. 8

DOOR 964: C.O.T.D - Album
(Soundmix Oy on Feb. 19)
This is a new band from Oulu, Finland. But even though the group is new, all the musicians are well established in the Finnish rock scene since many years. And they are hardly here to recreate the wheel, as they play a pretty traditional kind of melodic rock. This debut is full of catchy melodies and memorable choruses. And what else can you ask for from a band like this?
It's a very good album with lots of variation. For some reason it will only be released digitally though. Still worth a try.
Published: Feb. 8

CRYSTALLION: Heads or Tails - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on Feb. 19)
CRYSTALLION is a heavy metal band based in Germany, that was founded in 2003. They have released a few albums through the years, and have now signed with Pride & Joy Music. Unfortunately their singer for the last 15 years, Thomas Strübler, decided to leave the band in May 2019. But the one that they replaced him with, Kristina Berchtold, is a very good singer, so don't worry. They also have a new bassist, Werner Hießl, from Austria, who joined the band in July 2019.
If I got it right, CRYSTALLION were more or less a power metal band in the beginning. But now they go all in for good old heavy metal. It's powerful, catchy and melodic at the same time, and most of these 11 tracks are really strong songs. I really like this album! And so should you.
"Heads or Tails" is the band's fifth album.
crystallion.org   prideandjoy.de
Published: Feb. 8

Alice Cooper: Social Debris - Single
(earMUSIC - Out now)
Alice with doll at Getaway Rock 2011
February 4 was the legendary Alice Cooper's birthday, and he celebrated it with the release of another single from his new album, "Detroit Stories", which will be released in the end of this month. The man is now as much as 73 years old, but he is obviously still going strong, and have no plans to slow down.
"Social Debris" was written with Neal Smith, who played drums in the ALICE COOPER band between 1967-1974. It's a song about not fit in anywhere at all, which the band felt that they didn't do in their early days. They were the outsiders who lived in their own little bubble.
This is a catchy hard rock song with a touch of the 70s, and it sounds good. Check it out!
alicecooper.com
Published: Feb. 7

ALICEISSLEEPING: Completely Fine - Album
(Mandrone Records - Out now)
This London band released their debut EP, "Space Wanders & Bleeding Hearts", in 2018. Now their first full length is here, which takes inspiration from all and nothing - 70s prog rock to the alternative 90s, and everything in-between that. This trio is described as psychedelic grunge rock though.
My own description would rather be some kind of alternative/hard rock with female emotions. It's heavy but yet catchy and melodic. And Alice can really sing, and she really use her voice for all kinds of vocals. The rest of the guys are not bad either. As they say themselves: "Every song has its own flavour and they complement each other and make our sound pretty unique". So true.
They have some good songs among these 9 tracks, so they could be worth a try.
aliceissleeping.com   shop.mandronerecords.com
Published: Feb. 7

The BOOGIE POP ASSASSIN: Tears of Gasoline - Album
(Self released - Out now)
The BOOGIE POP ASSASSIN gives us their 6-track debut album, "Tears of Gasoline". They label the music as classic rock, and say that it's something for fans of Alice Cooper, STEPPENWOLF and UFO. But I don't know.. Some songs are too raw and dirty to be classic rock according to me. I think of something like...hm...maybe NASHVILLE PUSSY instead? But sure, they have a softer side too, so there's some of that classic rock here too. So maybe something like NASHVILLE PUSSY playing classic rock? They have some good songs here anyway, so you should absolutely give them a try.
Parts of the album was recorded in Detroit, Michigan, where you will hear unnamed celebrities helping out with percussion and some of the lead guitar work featured in the song "The Assassin". The album was then transferred and finished in Knoxville, Tennessee. And the group is already working on new material.
theboogiepopassassin.bandcamp.com
Publsihed: Feb. 7

HVALROSS: Cold Dark Rain - Album
(Self released - Out now)
This is the debut album from this Dutch hard rock/metal/stoner rock band. It was released in October last year, and is available on vinyl as well as digital. But the members are not any teenagers or new to the music scene. They have been playing in many different genres, like punk, metal and prog rock.
HVALROSS was formed in 2018 as they wanted to pick up the instruments again and make great hard rocking music. And hard rocking music is probably the most correct description to this band's songs. And I think that they do it really good. So you should absolutely check them out if you like it heavy and melodic, but yet energetic.
hvalross.com
Published: Feb. 7

TORN AWAY: As We Rise - Album
(Self released - Out now)
The core components of Flint, Michigan band TORN AWAY came together in late 2017. In the end of 2020 they released their debut album, "As We Rise", on digital platforms.
What they play is melodic groove metal. But to me it sounds more like heavy hard rock with groove metal elements. But don't bother too much about a small detail like that.
These 8 songs are o.k., but nothing special. And it's not as hard and heavy as groove metal use to be, but that's obviously why they call it melodic groove metal.
I think it sounds more like a demo recording than a professional album, but it works.
tornaway.bandcamp.com
Published: Feb. 7

ASTMATISK GAPSKRATT: Blackskatecruststreetpopcorepunk - Album
(Second Class Kids Records - Out now)
I have heard some stuff before with this Norwegian skate/trallpunk band, and it has been pretty good as far as I can remember. This is more or less the same thing as their previous releases: A catchy and melodic kind of punk rock with a lot of energy and lyrics in Norwegian.
12 tracks is a little too much at once, even though it doesn't last for more than just over half an hour, because it's honestly not more than about half of the songs that are any good. So an EP with half the songs would have been better. But that's just my opinion of course.
secondclasskids.com   facebook.com/AstmatiskGapskratt
Published: Feb. 7

PASTORATET/N:A HOSPITALET: Bara Skiten Avtar - Split Album
(Second Class Kids Records - Out now)
Pastoratet in the dark at Bengans
PASTORATET give us 5 really good punk rock songs in Swedish. It's extremely catchy and melodic, but yet not too happy. In other words perfect!
Some people will probably call this trallpunk, and sure, it's at least on the border to that Scandinavian genre, but not really the same as DE LYCKLIGA KOMPISARNA or LASTKAJ 14 for example. But you can call it whatever you want, because it's damned good anyway.
N:A HOSPITALET released a CD-EP (or MCD if you prefer that) last year, which was really good. Now we get 5 more songs from this northern Swedish band.
These new songs are more of the same thing: catchy punk rock with female vocals and not much distortion on the guitar. And this is absolutely not bad at all. It reminds me a little of KÖRSBÄRSFETTERA (r.i.p) actually. It's not exactly the same thing though. I guess that people who like the early Swedish punk bands will like this.
secondclasskids.com   facebook.com/pastoratetofficiell   facebook.com/norrahospitalet
Published: Feb. 7

M.I.D: Mata Inte Djuren - Album
(Second Class Kids Records - Out now)
With this album they prove that their best time was many years ago. Sure, there is a good song here and there, but most of these songs are actually not so interesting. Nothing really sucks, but it's still not good enough.
I think that most people who was a Swedish punk in the 90s remember cult songs like "Vet Din Mamma Att Du Super" and "Nu Super Vi", from the "Röjarskivan" collections. That was damned good songs! What they are doing nowadays on the other hand is not even bleach copies of that.
I would describe their music as something similar to ASTA KASK, but less catchy and melodic, and with a pinch of metal.
I actually expected this record to be significantly better. Maybe I just need to listen some more? Sometimes that will help.
secondclasskids.com   facebook.com/MID0278
Published: Feb. 7

UNDER A SPELL: The Chosen One - Album
(Pure Steel Publishing on Feb. 19)
Not bad, but the vocals sounds more or less the same all the time, and that is a little boring and irritating after a while. But otherwise it's really good heavy metal the American way.
UNDER A SPELL combines elements from 80s bands such as KING DIAMOND, ANTHRAX and MEGADETH, but put their own twist on it to make their own sound. The result is 11 tracks in 46:51 minutes that fans of traditional heavy metal should like.
It seems like this album was previously released in 2019, but just digital. Now it will also be released on CD.
underaspellband.com   puresteel-records.com
Published: Feb. 6

AOR: The Ghost Of L.A. - Album
(Perris Records - Out now)
Guitarist/keyboardist Frédéric Slama is back with a new AOR album. And if I read right, this is his 20th release with this band on Perris Records. And well, the name of the band says it all - This is simply melodic rock/AOR for all the money. If you like acts like SURVIVOR, FOREIGNER and the softer stuff with WHITESNAKE, then this is something for you.
"The Ghost Of L.A." features apperances from people like Tommy Denander (Alice Cooper, Steve Walsh), Paul Sabu (ONLY CHILD, KIDD GLOVE, John Waite), Rick Riso (CHASING VIOLETS, AOR), Steph Honde (HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS) and Markus Nordenberg (COASTLAND RIDE, PEARLS & FLAMES).
slama101.fr   perrisrecords.com
Published: Feb. 6

ANGEL MARTYR: Nothing Louder Than Silence - Album
(Iron Shield Records on Feb. 19)
ANGEL MARTYR was born from the ashes of a other band, and came together to play pure heavy metal with fast and simple riffs, rhythmic impact, ear-splitting high notes and a powerful double bass drum. "Nothing Louder Than Silence" is their second album, and I think it's not such a wild guess that these Italians are inspired by stuff like good old IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and similar bands from the 80s.
These 10 songs are all really good stuff, so I have nothing to complain about.
facebook.com/ANGEL-MARTYR-558229684208440
Published: Feb. 6

AMORIELLO: Dear Dark - EP
(Sliptrick Records on Feb. 9)
That singer, Carlos Zema (IMMORTAL GUARDIAN, ex-OUTWORLD) from Brazil, is really going all in here. But he is actually a little too much for me sometimes. Not a bad singer though, but maybe too good instead. Another "problem" is that these 5 songs are not that strong. Not that they suck, but they are hardly any anthems with hit potential either. Which is a little sad as they seems to be very good musicians.
The music that they play is traditional heavy metal with a progressive touch. But when I reviewed their self titled debut album (in Dec. 2018), they called the music neo-classical hard rock. That album was by the way much better than this new EP, so check that out instead, and then you can possibly try this one later.
AMORIELLO is New Jersey guitarist Thomas Amoriello's little project. On this record we get guest apperances from current and former members of MEGADETH, KING DIAMOND, Yngwie Malmsteen, IMPELLITTERI, CACOPHONY etc.
thomasamoriello.com   sliptrickrecords.com
Published: Feb. 6

TERRORDOME: Straight Outta Smogtown - Album
(Selfmadegod Records - Out today)
Very fast thrash metal in the old school is what we get from these dudes. And this sounds really good to me, even though 14 tracks at once is a little too fat. Fans of bands like SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, ANTHRAX, D.R.I. and similar should absolutely check this out.
TERRORDOME is a Polish quartet who has just signed to Selfmadegod Records, and this is the band's third album. It will be released on CD and cassette to begin with, and vinyl later on. The album also includes lots of guests, like: Frank Blackfire (SODOM, ex-ASSASSIN), Manu Joker (UGANGA, ex-SARCOFAGO), Jairo Vaz (CHAOS SYNOPSIS), Friggi Mad Beats (CHAOS SYNOPSIS, ex-ATTOMICA) and Konrad Ramotowski (UNTERVOID, ex-HATE).
terrordome.net   selfmadegod.com
Published: Feb. 5

GATUPLAN: Apan På Ryggen - Single
(Wild Kingdom - Out today)
GATUPLAN is a new band with Swedish punk veteran Inge Johansson (The (International) NOISE CONSPIRACY, AGAINST ME!, CSS, STILETT, ALONZO & FAS 3, TOTALT JÄVLA MÖRKER, KNUGEN FALLER). Among the other musicians are members from DE LYCKLIGA KOMPISARNA, TWOPOINTEIGHT and KNUGEN FALLER. The debut album, "Kampen Går Vidare!", will be released in the end of this month and is very good.
This song is among the slower on the album, and also one of those who are more like hip hop (mainly because of the vocals). A o.k. song, but not much else. There's better songs on the album. Songs that are more like power pop and melodic punk rock instead. But more about the album later..
This is actually a cover of the Norwegian band ONKLP & DE FJERNE SLEKTINGENE's song "Styggen På Ryggen" from 2014, but in Swedish.
Check out the previous singles instead for some better stuff.
facebook.com/Gatuplan-2737758129572355
Published: Feb. 5

WIG WAM: Never Say Die - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Norway's WIG WAM has reunited, and this is their comeback album that will prove that they are still going strong. Do they succeed with that? Now I don't remember if I have heard their old material, so I have nothing to compare with. This sounds really good though, so I don't think you have to worry.
They deliver their melodic rock/hard rock with energy and catchy hooks. This will give you a lot of fun.
facebook.com/wigwam.official   frontiers.it
Published: Feb. 4

W.E.T.: Retransmission - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
"Retransmission" is the 4th album from this collaboration between Jeff Scott Soto (SONS OF APOLLO, Yngwie Malmsteen, JOURNEY, TALISMAN, S.O.T.O etc), Erik Mårtensson (ECLIPSE) and Robert Säll (WORK OF ART). The key element at the foundation of W.E.T. has always been to create a modern melodic hard rock sound that will drive the genre into the future. And with this album they absolutely succeed with that. They give us powerhouse rhythms and top notch production, and the music is equally classic and contemporary. Fans of their previous albums will not be dissapointed at all, because this is like being in heaven for fans of melodic rock and hard rock.
facebook.com/wetofficialpage   frontiers.it
Published: Feb. 4

Jason Bieler and The BARON VON BIELSKI ORCHESTRA: Songs From The Apocalypse - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
On this album Jason Bieler (SAIGON KICK, TALISMAN, SUPER TRANSATLANTIC) is working with a diverse array of musical friends, including: Todd LaTorre (QUEENSRŸCHE), Dave Ellefson (MEGADETH), Devin Townsend, Pat Badger (EXTREME), Butch Walker (ex-MARVELOUS 3), Bumblefoot (SONS OF APOLLO, ex-GUNS N' ROSES), Clint Lowery (SEVENDUST), Benji Webbe (SKINDRED), Kyle Sanders (HELLYEAH) and more. Unfortunately that doesn't help at all. Simply because the songs are not strong enough to catch my interest. Most of it is just too complicated for me. A wild guess is that this is something for fans of progressive rock and metal.
This is just a crazy soup with all and nothing in it. Some progressive elements here, some pop melodies there, a pinch of heavy guitars on top of that, melodic vocals etc etc. This is a good example of how it goes when you want to add all your influences on the same album. Hardly ever such a good idea according to me.
There's obviously not much that makes me happy with this record (that would possibly be the moment when it's finally over then).
jasonbieler.com   frontiers.it
Publsihed: Feb. 4

MIDNITE CITY: Crawlin' In The Dirt - Single
(Roulette Media - Out now)
MIDNITE CITY deliver hair metal. Or high energy feel good party rock, if you prefer that description instead. But I guess it's o.k. to just call it hard rock as well. They have released 2 albums so far, and will release their third, "Itch You Can't Scratch", on May 28. 3 singles will be released before the album comes out, and "Crawlin' In The Dirt" is the first one.
This song is really good, and fit perfect to the description in the beginning of this review. It's energetic, fun to hear and makes you want to party. The kind of song that we need right now.
midnitecity.com   roulettemedia.co.uk
Published: Feb. 2

CARCOLH: The Life And Works Of Death - Album
(Sleeping Church Records on Feb. 19)
French doom metal band CARCOLH released their debut album, "Rising Sons Of Saturn", in 2018. Now their second album is ready to be released.
The music is just as you can expect, slow and heavy, but with melodic vocals. Not much growl or harsh vocals here, but mainly clean vocals, which I like better when it comes to this genre. In other words pretty traditional doom metal.
But a small problem is that it's not much action here. Every song is more or less the same thing. But "When the Embers Light the Way" is a little bit better when it comes to that.
6 tracks who are between 6 to almost 11 minutes is what they give us.
sleepingchurchrds.com   carcolh.bandcamp.com
Published: Feb. 2

DOZER: Vultures - EP
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records on Feb. 12)
Swedish veterans DOZER deliver a heavy stoner rock explosion with this EP.
These 7 tracks was recorded between 2004-2005, and 6 of them were used as a pre-production demo for their 4th album, "Through the Eyes of Heathens". The 7th track is a bonus in form of a previously unreleased SUNRIDE cover, "Vinegar Fly".
This is an excellent EP that every fan of heavy rock must have. It's just as simple as that!
Heavy Psych Sounds Records has previously re-released the band's 3 first albums, and will also re-release "Through the Eyes of Heathens" (2005) and "Beyond Colossal" (2008) on vinyl - Both will be released on February 19.
DOZER formed back in 1995, and released their first 7" in 1998. After a hiatus the band returned a few years ago.
dozermusic.com   heavypsychsounds.com
Published: Feb. 2

ARHAT: Dead Life - Album
(Self released - Out now)
ARHAT is a groove metal band from Kyiv, Ukraine that was formed in 2017. Their debut album, "Dead Life", was released in December 2020. Their music is a combination of aggressive groove/death metal, hardcore and oriental melodies, while the lyrics is ironic reflections of our rough times, as well as plots from mythology and history of oriental people.
They start the album with a intro, which last for 2:36 minutes. Luckily not the most useless intro that I have heard, and that's always something positive. After that it's hard and heavy, as well as aggressive. And this is actually not bad at all for being a groove metal band. I'm not really sure what it is that makes this band a bit better than other groove metal bands. Maybe it's the oriental elements, which are often baked in in their sound.
So, if you are going to check out just 1 band in the groove genre, then I recomend you to try this band. And not that I have heard that much with SEPULTURA, but I think that fans of that band will like this.
soundcloud.com/arhatgroove
Published: Feb. 1

ABLAZE MY SORROW: Among Ashes and Monoliths - Album
(Black Lion Records on Feb. 12)
ABLAZE MY SORROW comes from Falkenberg, Sweden, and existed for the first time between 1993-2006. Since 2013 they are back again, and has released 4 albums since then. Since last time they have also got a new vocalist: Jonas Udd.
ABLAZE MY SORROW deliver really good melodic death metal. They have all the right ingredients: enough brutality and aggression, the melodies, and most of all the songs. I would not go as far as calling this a masterpiece, but it sure ain't far away from that.
Fans of the classic Gothenburg sound should like this a lot.
facebook.com/ablazemysorrowswe   blacklion.nu
Published: Feb. 1

ANGELUS APATRIDA: Angelus Apatrida - Album
(Century Media on Feb. 5)
It's 3 years since the last album, "Cabaret de la Guillotine", from these Spanish thrashers. And they don't waste any time here, as it's full speed ahead at once. No boring, useless intro or something like that, but just pedal to the metal from the first second. I like that!
ANGELUS APATRIDA has existed for 20 years now, and released their debut album, "Evil Unleashed", in 2006. They have through the years released one strong album after the other, and this self titled album is no exception from that unwritten rule. They deliver one strong song after the other, with the usual ingredients of old and modern thrash metal. It's hard, fast, heavy and angry - all the right ingredients.
Best fucking thrash album so far this year? Without a doubt!
angelusapatrida.com   centurymedia.com
Published: Jan. 31

PHANTOM ELITE: Titanium - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
PHANTOM ELITE is a band fronted by singer Marina La Torraca (EXIT EDEN, live vocalist for AVANTASIA), and features songwriting and production from former AFTER FOREVER guitarist and producer Sander Gommans. Marina and Sander has teamed up with Max van Esch (guitars) and Joeri Warmerdam (drums). And what they have created is a modern, symphonic and progressive kind of metal. Heavy riffs meets epic melodies and all kinds of emotions. No soprano or growl here. Just normal vocals. And thanks a lot for that. So much better with a woman who understand that she doesn't have to sing opera just because everybody else is doing that.
"Titanium" is the band's second album. And this is something for those of you who want more ambitious stuff.
phantom-elite.com   frontiers.it
Published: Jan. 30

LABYRINTH: Welcome To The Absurd Circus - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Italian power metal band LABYRINTH return with an album that is full of catchy hooks, epic prog, melodic melodies and powerful songs. This is something that should make every fan of this genre happy.
LABYRINTH released some albums between 1998-2010, before they went on an indefinite hiatus. But in 2017 they were back again with a new album, "Architecture of a God". And 4 years after that another album is here, "Welcome To The Absurd Circus".
frontiers.it
Published: Jan. 30

CREYE: II - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
..and the slaughter continues. What kind of modern pop shit is this? Have you really sent me the right album? Because the first song sounds more like pop than melodic rock, and I just can't stand that crap. All modern pop artists are all the same to me, and they are all so boring. Totally worthless!
After that it's a little bit better though, with strong choruses and melodies. Now I can at least agree to call it melodic rock/AOR. It's still very melodic, and there is some more pop elements here and there. but nothing is as bad as the first track though.
CREYE is a Swedish band, and this is their second album (which you can figure out from the title). But the story started in 2015, and a vision to start a new Swedish pop/rock sensation. A EP, with the cocky title "Straight To The Top", was released in early 2017, which was followed by a self titled album in October 2018.
creyesweden.com   frontiers.it
Published: Jan. 30

BLESSED BLACK: La Brea - Single
(Self released on Feb. 12)
BLESSED BLACK is a doom quartet from Cincinnati, Ohio. But even though they are described as a doom band, they blend in different other genres (like heavy metal, post punk, grunge etc). So they are absolutely not just another doom band, but something different instead.
The band have been around since 2017. Their debut album, "Beyond The Crimson Throne", was released in January 2020, and they plan to enter the studio in the spring to record a new full length.
This 6-minute song is not bad. It reminds me of the alternative rock/grunge bands from the 90s more than the usual influences. A band worth a try.
blessedblack.bandcamp.com
Published: Jan. 29

BOOZEWA: First Contact - Demo
(Self released on Feb. 5)
This sounds like it would have been recorded in the rehearsal room straight to an old tape recorder or a porta, but with a better sound quality. But the music is actually not so bad. And how should I describe their music then? Some kind of heavy/stoner rock maybe? 4 tracks is what we get anyway. 2 of them are with vocals, and 2 are instrumental. I have heard both better and worse than this.
BOOZEWA features members of Pennsylvania's BACKWOODS PAYBACK. "First Contact" is their first demo, which will be available on cassette and digital.
boozewa.bandcamp.com
Plublished: Jan. 29

DAYGLO MOURNING: Dead Star - Album
(Black Doomba Records on Feb. 12)
Atlanta trio DAYGLO MOURNING deliver an homage to the fuzziest, most classic doom metal they can muster. They play it loud with lots of distortion, and you can almost feel the smell of sweat and beer. But even though the music is heavy, I would not say that they are slow. No, it's pretty catchy actually, and absolutely not bad at all.
6 tracks is what we get here. The songs are between 4:44 to 6:44 minutes. Defintely worth checking out.
Published: Jan. 29

TANTIVY: Eyes in the Night - EP
(Self released - Out now)
Wisconsin duo TANTIVY play heavy metal with "the drive of MOTÖRHEAD, the hooks of JUDAS PRIEST, and the thrash acrobatics of TOXIC HOLOCAUST", as they say. "Eyes in the Night" is their debut EP, which consist of 5 tracks. It's powerful and melodic at the same time.
Now I was going to tell you which my favorite songs are on this EP, but I soon figured out that most of these songs are good. But o.k., some of them are a little bit better than the rest. Give them a try, you might find something that you like too.
facebook.com/tantivyrocknroll
Published: Jan. 29

The STRADDLERZ: The Straddlerz - Album
(Self released on Jan. 29)
This Italian duo is rocking hard. It's often energetic, but with female soulful vocals, and a guitarist who like his rock riffs and solos. I like to call it raw rock instead of hard rock, or possibly hard rock n roll with attitude. Sometimes there's also a party vibe, so I would guess that this works just fine with a few drinks as company.
Among the better songs are the opening track "No Changes", as well as "Streets of Love", "Open Your Eyes" and "I'm Alive".
The band has been around for a few years already, but this self titled album is their first full length.
thestraddlerz.com
Published: Jan. 28

EVERDAWN: Cleopatra - Album
(Sensory on Feb. 5)
Oh, they have that opera like vocals that I just don't like at all. But she can also sing more normal once in a while, and then it's so much better. Those moments are unfortunately way too few here, but I would not say that this is bad. Their music is progressive, symphonic and epic, and fans of the symphonic metal genre will probably love this New Jersey band.
Since the last album they have made some changes in the lineup. The core writing team of Richard Fischer, Boris Zaks and Daniel Prestup remain intact. And the new members are Alina Gavrilenko on vocals and Mike LePond (SYMPHONY X) on bass. The band was originally known as MIDNIGHT ETERNAL, but are now called EVERDAWN.
Bonus facts: The album was mixed and mastered by the legendary engineer/musican/producer Dan Swanö at Unisound (OPETH, KATATONIA etc etc etc), and THERION vocalist Thomas Vikström provides additional guest vocals on 1 track.
Published: Jan. 28

BABY STRANGE: Club Sabbath - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art - Out now)
BABY STRANGE is a Scottish post punk/indie rock trio, but this song is ready for the dancefloor, so it doesn't exactly rock that much. But it's still very energetic and powerful. So even though it sounds more like pop than rock to me, it's not a bad song.
"Club Sabbath" is taken from their upcoming EP, "Land of Nothing", which will be released on April 30. And it's not about BLACK SABBATH if anybody would think that. This is a tribute to the dancefloor at their own little club, "Club Sabbath".
facebook.com/babystrangemusic   icea.se
Published: Jan. 27

The ROAD: Dead Eyes - Single
(Mighty Music - Out now)
International hard rockers The ROAD has just signed to Danish label Mighty Music. The band features former members from bands such as The HAUNTED and HYPOCRISY, and "Dead Eyes" is the first single from their upcoming album. It was recorded and mixed together with renowned producer Tue Madsen (MESHUGGAH, The HAUNTED, HEAVEN SHALL BURN etc) and shows the most atmospheric and introspective side of the group. It's a very dark song actually, even though it's not bad.
The ROAD was formed as ROAD TO JERUSALEM in 2017, and are based in Copenhagen, Denmark. A self titled debut album was released in 2018 (as ROAD TO JERUSALEM), and now a new one is on the way (as The ROAD).
facebook.com/theroadcph   mightymusic.dk
Published: Jan. 26

REVULSION: Revulsion - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records on Feb. 5)
REVULSION is said to be one of Finland's best kept secrets. And Finland is not a foreign country when it comes to death metal. But REVULSION are not necessarily stuck with the old school sound, but they are just as aggressive, sinister and brutal as any other band in this genre. So, fans of the classic stuff will probably like this band anyway, because I would not say that they are modern either. It's rather like they blend the best parts from all kinds of death metal styles.
Now you have to admit that you are a little curious about this band. And I think that you should give them a try actually. So do that.
Most of these 10 songs are in English, but a few are in Finnish.
revulsion.bandcamp.com   tometal.com
Published: Jan. 26

INSANIDADE: High Speed - Album
(Label and release date unknown)
Well, it's not just the speed that is high here, the energy is also very high. These 12 songs are filled with adrenaline and testosterone. I think of a band like TURBONEGRO (the Hank Von Helvete-era), but faster, when I listen to INSANIDADE. But also a more noisey SEX SEX SEX (Swedish horror punk band that you should check out). So energetic punk rock is probably a good description to this band's music. But fans of so called action rock will like this too.
It's a little funny that I had to use Google to translate the information about this band (and I wasn't even sure what language it was). And when that was done I didn't get much wiser. But it seems like they are 4 guys who speak Portugese anyway. Not that it really matters. As long as it's good and rock like this, that's all I have to know. So simply check this out, no matter if you are a nasty punk rocker or a drunk action rocker.
Published: Jan. 26

BLEACH EVERYTHING: Bound/Cured - EP
(Dark Operative on Jan. 29)
BLEACH EVERYTHING is a Richmond, Virginia/Asheville, North Carolina/San Diego, California-based hardcore/punk quartet. This is their first new recordings since 2019s "RFTCC" split LP with INTEGRITY. 2 very short attacks is what we get here: "Bound" is 1 and a half minutes, and "Cured" is 1:08 minutes. So yes, this is over extremely fast. Almost before you have read this review actually. But during these 2:38 minutes they succeed to deliver what they came for. No unnecessary crap here.
Thematically, "Bound" explores the uncertainty of luck and life and never truly knowing how it can, will, and can still shake out. "Cured" addresses the notion of figuring out how one must come to terms with the truth before death takes care of the task.
This short EP will be available digitally and as an X-ray flexi disc.
bleacheverything.bandcamp.com   darkoperative.myshopify.com
Published: Jan. 25

The HAWKINS: Live in the Woods - EP
(The Sign Records on Jan. 29)
Swedish rock band The HAWKINS released their second album, "Silence Is A Bomb", a few months ago. Now they are already back with a new EP, which was recorded live without any audience. It was partly recorded in the deep Swedish forests, partly recorded in an abandoned barn, and partly recorded at Brasstacks Brewing, who brewed the band's latest craft beer, Olsson Lager. The digital version will have 7 tracks, while the 12" vinyl version will have 8.
The songs are all taken from their latest album, and it's good. No doubt about that. But is it really a useful release? That would probably be if you have never heard The HAWKINS before. Because then this is a good introduction. Otherwise it's just like selling the same songs over again.
But o.k., this is a bit more explosive than the studio versions. But the differance is minimal to my ears.
thehawkinsband.bandcamp.com
Published: Jan. 24

STARCRAZY: Played For Suckers - EP
(Self released on Jan. 29)
This is like a garage band playing big arena rock. It makes me think of both VAN HALEN and the alternative rock scene of the 90s. And this is absolutely not bad at all my friend. But the best song of these 6 tracks must be the second last, "Gimme Back My Stereo". A other highlight is "Long Way Home".
This rockers comes from Sydney, Australia. This is their debut record, where they give us both alternative rock and glam rock/metal, with a sound that will remind you of the 70s and 80s. It's often very catchy and fun to listen to. I can only wish these guys good luck.
facebook.com/starcrazyband
Published: Jan. 24

SPLENDIDULA: Somnus - Album
(Argonauta Records on Jan. 29)
SPLENDIDULA formed in 2008 in Genk, Belgium. A self titled debut album was released in June 2013, and was described as a mix of traditional doom and alternative rock with sludge grooves and psychedelic drones. After some changes in the lineup, the music evolved to a psychedelic mix of post, sludge and doom metal with some additional grunts for a heavier sound. The music is both intense and atmospheric, as well as modern. The songs go forward by heavy riffs, a bewitched female voice and some male harsh screams here and there.
"Somnus" seems to be their third album, and the 6 songs that we get here are really good stuff. This is the kind of album that you just have to check out.
argonautarecords.com
Published: Jan. 24

SLEAFORD MODS: Spare Ribs - Album
(Rough Trade - Out now)
..and now over to something completely different. Yes, as I have said before, this British duo have their own unique sound. It's just as much electronic music as some kind of alternative rock, and everything is serveed with irony and punk attitude.
Let's just say that there's both good and bad tracks here, but mainly it's actually not so bad. For some reason old Swedish punks seems to like SLEAFORD MODS, but it wouldn't surprise me if they have a wide range of people among their fans. Sometimes there's almost a hip hop vibe, sometimes it's electro punk rock, sometimes pop, sometimes rock and so on..
I think it sounds very British somehow. Like those odd bands from the 80s, but with a modern twist.
Best songs: "Short Cummings" and "Nudge It!".
Published: Jan. 24

TRAGEDIAN: Seven Dimensions - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on Jan. 29)
TRAGEDIAN is a multicultural metal band from Hamburg, Germany, with a wide range of influences - from traditional heavy metal to speed metal, via melodic power metal and epic metal, and then some. They simply take their favorite elements from each genre, and make their own thing out of it.
The group formed in 2002, and has released 3 albums before. On this 4th album they have a new lineup. We get 9 new songs and 3 re-recordings. Among the guests are Wade Black (ex-CRIMSON GLORY, LEATHERWOLF), Zak Stevens (ex-SAVATAGE, CIRCLE II CIRCLE) and Dan Palmer (ZEBRA HEAD, DEATH BY STEREO). The CD version also have 2 bonus tracks.
Well, if you want melodic metal with variation, then I guess that this is the perfect band for you. And they have some good songs here, so it could be worth a try.
facebook.com/tragedianhamburg   prideandjoy.de
Published: Jan. 23

PERTICONE: Underdog - Album
(AOR Heaven on Jan. 29)
Martin Perticone, aka Underdog, is an artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He joined the band FONDO BLUES at the age of 13, and has played in the Argentinean under circuits for more than 25 years. But he has also been playing with many different artists all over the world as a hired musician.
Now he wants to put more efforts on his solo career, and "Underdog" is his first solo album, which consist of a mixture of AOR, Southern rock and country. Among the guests are Eric Martin (Mr BIG), Edu Giardina (also producer of the album) and Steve Overland (FM).
This is a very soft and melodic experience, and hardly something for the hardest rocker. I have no problem with this as long as it's AOR or Southern rock, but I'm honestly not so impressed by those even softer country songs (or whatever you should call it?). And fact is that there is not that many hit songs here, so you can actually survive without this album in your collection.
facebook.com/martinperticonemusic   aorheaven.com
Published: Jan. 23

ELEGY OF MADNESS featuring GIOVANE ORCHESTRA JONICA: Live at Fusco Theater - Album, DVD
(Pride & Joy Music on Jan. 29)
ELEGY OF MADNESS is an Italian symphonic metal band founded in 2006, which has released 4 albums. The 6-piece group was amongst the winning projects of the department of culture in their hometown of Taranto. This resulted in the realization and filming of a special show with the talented locally based GOJ Symphony Orchestra directed by Fabio Orlando, and filmed at Fusco Theater on February 7, 2020.
This concert will now be released on DVD, as well as audio download and audio stream. It's a total of 16 tracks and 83 minutes playing time. This might not be the kind of metal that I like, but they are far away from the worst, as long as I do not have to hear opera singing at least. Some songs are actually really good to my surprise.
The music is melodic, and they seems to be very professional musicians. I would guess that fans of bands like NIGHTWISH, WITHIN TEMPTATION, VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, LEAVES' EYES, XANDRIA, SERENITY and similar will like this a lot.
facebook.com/elegyofmadness   prideandjoy.de
Published: Jan. 23

ART OF ILLUSION: X Marks The Spot - Album
(AOR Heaven on Jan. 29)
ART OF ILLUSION is a collaboration between Swedish songwriter/producer Anders Rydholm (GRAND ILLUSION) and singer Lars Säfsund (WORK OF ART). "X Marks The Spot" is the debut album from this partnership.
Their music is best described as melodic rock, and is a homage to bands like QUEEN, GIANT and BIG MONEY. Sometimes they are a little too bombastic though, and it start to sound more like a opera instead, which I'm not impressed by. 1 of those songs, "A Culinary Detour", have very funny lyrics by the way - something like "I need some Ravioli, I could really need some Cannelloni". Is that song really serious?
Most songs are more normal though, and those songs are absolutely worth checking out. So until next time, please skip the pretentious crap guys (funny lyrics that I can laugh at are o.k. though).
facebook.com/aoisweden   aorheaven.com
Published: Jan. 23

SERPENT LORD (GR): The Gospel of Judas - Single
(Self released - Out now)
This is a really good heavy/power metal band from Thessaloniki, Greece, who has existed since January 2016. Their debut album, "Towards the Damned", was released in September 2018. They have since then released 2 singles: "Horned God" in November 2019 and this single in December 2020.
"The Gospel of Judas" presents a different approach on the Judas character, not as a traitor but as Christ's favorite student. Judas executes the Divine Plan, in order to lead Christ to his resurrection. However, Judas hangs himself because he felt guilty, which shows, according to the band, that he was manipulated by God and that's why he is remembered as a traitor and not as a savior, as he should be.
You should absolutely check out this band.
serpentlordgr.com
Published: Jan. 22

MEPHISTO: Pentafixion - Single
(WormHoleDeath Records - Out now)
Is it really supposed to be such a bad sound' There's no punch at all, and it sounds like somebody have put the speakers in the water. In other words a very weak sound for being a black metal band, and also too electronic for my taste. They definitely have their own sound though, no doubt about that. Unfortunately it's not so good, so how much does that help then?
The most interesting with this band is that they are from Cuba.
The song is taken from their new album with the same title as this song, which will be released in late March. But before that we will get 2 more singles.
mephistoband.com
Published: Jan. 22

HELLZ: Salute - Single
(Self released - Out now)
HELLZ, or Lisa Perry who is the queen behind this band, continue to spit out new songs. And this little song has a more sexy twist somehow, even though I think it's about ripping your heart out or something like that (just a wild guess). It's among the better songs that I have heard with her so far anyway, so you should give it a try if you like hard rock with heavy guitar riffs.
houseofhellz.com
Published: Jan. 22

ANGRIFF: Sodomy in the Convent - Album
(Firecum Records on Jan. 25)
This seems to be ANGRIFF's first release in over a decade. And they deliver 10 hot tracks of old school thrash metal. No big surprises here.
ANGRIFF is a duo from Portugal, and "Sodomy in the Convent" is their fifth album. And it's said to be the most ferocious and hostile album from the band. It also features a guest guitar solo by the legendary Chris Holmes (ex-W.A.S.P.).
This is something for fans of old thrashers like KREATOR, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, EXODUS, METALLICA, HEATHEN etc.
angriff.bandcamp.com
Published: Jan. 22

COUNTLESS THOUSANDS: And The Triumph Of Justice - Album
(Self released - Out now)
This album is a wild mixture of very melodic punk rock, singer/songwriter, country, rock and almost pop. The worst crap is when they start to play United State's national anthem on guitar and bass in "Star Spangled Banner on the Moon" and "Solidarity Forever" (which is a faster version of "Glory, Glory Hallelujah"). Which the best track is is hard to tell though, as nothing is exactly brilliant here. My diplomatic opinion is that there's some better tracks, as well as some less good tracks on this album. 16 tracks is always too much anyway.
This is a digital release, but you can easily survive without hearing this album.
countlessthousands.com
Published: Jan. 21

SLEAFORD MODS: Nudge It - Single
(Rough Trade - Out now)
This single was released on the same day as their 6th album, "Spare Ribs" (review later). And this song features a guest apperance all the way from Australia, in form of Amy Taylor of the punk rock band AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS (great band!). I'm not sure if that help so much, but "Nudge It" is at least better than the previous singles from the new album. And that's at least something positive.
In this song (and many of their other songs) they kick against the pricks with unrivalled bite, railing against hypocrisy, inequality and apathy with their inimitable, scabrous sense of humour. This is accompanied by some kind of electro rock with punk attitude.
I might have said it before, but this British duo really have their own unique sound. And if you want to give them a try, maybe you should start with this song.
Published: Jan. 20

SPIRALSEA: Essence - Album reissue
(Awakening Records - Out now)
SPIRALSEA was a Dutch thrash metal band founded in Groningen in 1989. After a 3-track demo in 1991, they felt ready for their album debut in 1993. By that time they had already became more technical and progressive, which can be heard on this re-release of the album. But even though it's technical, it's still pretty raw thrash metal that we get.
This is absolutely not a bad album, and these guys could really play. So if you for some reason think that the traditional old school thrash metal is too simple for you, and want something more advanced, then this could be your kind of album. It's a very long album though, so I get tired of it towards the end.
Published: Jan. 19

BEZERKER: Lost - Album reissue
(Awakening Records - Out now)
BEZERKER came from Adelaide, South Australia, and was founded in 1988. In December 1989 they recorded their debut album, "Lost", which wasn't released until October 1990. This album is now being reissued for its 30th anniversary with some demo recordings and other stuff.
It's said that BEZERKER played progressive thrash metal, but fact is that I think of bands like early ANTHRAX and METALLICA when I listen to this. It's not exactly like them, but something similar. And why call it progressive by the way? Most thrash bands were, and still are, very progressive according to me.
Good stuff anyway. So if you like your thrash the good old way, then this is something that you should try.
facebook.com/Bezerker-601935083233379/
Published: Jan. 19

BETRAYED: The Unbeliever - Album
(ThrashBack Records on Jan. 22)
BETRAYED was formed in late 1987 in Valparaiso, Chile. They released 1 demo and 1 album before they disbanded in 1994. In 2004 Claudio Tapia would begin to reform BETRAYED, but it wasn't until 2015-2016 that all the pieces fell fully into place and the present line-up was fully formed. And in 2017 they recorded some new material, which became the album "The Unbeliever". The album was released through the Chile based label Arataria Records, but it will now also be released in some other parts of the world.
"The Unbeliever" features 12 tracks, and is divided into 2 parts. The first part is new songs, while the second part is "live in the studio" re-recordings of songs from their past.
So, let's talk a little about their music then.. It's simply old school thrash metal - Bay Area meets the East Coast. So any fan of legends like TESTAMENT, EXODUS, FORBIDDEN, OVERKILL and HEATHEN will love this band. And there's actually not much else to add about that.
facebook.com/Betrayedcl
Published: Jan. 18

BLACK MAGIC TREE: Through The Grapevine - Album
(Karma Conspiracy Records on Jan. 22)
BLACK MAGIC TREE is something similar to a band like RIVAL SONS and similar acts. But I can also hear stuff like 70s KISS, The HELLACOPTERS and LED ZEPPELIN for example, even though they add their own twist to it. A blues based kind of vintage rock that is very catchy, but yet heavy. They also have a touch of psych and stoner rock in their little brew. But fans of 70s hard rock should not be dissapointed when they hear this band, because these 7 tracks are really good.
BLACK MAGIC TREE comes from Berlin, Germany, and "Through The Grapevine" is their debut album.
blackmagictree.com   karmaconspiracy.it
Published: Jan. 17

REZET: Truth In Between - Album
(Metalville on Jan. 29)
REZET blend influences from all 4 members, and the result is of course varied. But you could say that in general it's thrash and heavy metal, with lyrics that paint a gloomy picture of the world. Sometimes they are harder and heavier, sometimes more melodic.
The band comes from northern Germany, and this is their fifth studio album, where we get as much as 13 tracks (why so many?). They have some good stuff here, so it could absolutely be worth a try.
Among my favorites are "Jailpit".
metalville.de
Published: Jan. 16

NEUROTOX: Egal Was Kommt - Album
(Metalville on Jan. 29)
German punk rock band NEUROTOX has existed for 6 years, and "Egal Was Kommt" (No Matter What in English) is their fifth studio album. All their lyrics are in German, so I don't understand much (unless I use Google Translate). But it's said that they sing about topics that are close to their hearts and important to them.
Their music is pretty catchy and with much melody, as well as lots of choir singing in the background. And this is not bad at all. I think of both Swedish and American punk rock bands when I hear this. 12 tracks is much though.
If you're into more melodic punk, then this could be something for you.
metalville.de
Published: Jan. 16

HERZLOS: Babylon - Album
(Metalville on Jan. 29)
HERZLOS is said to be one of the hottest bands in Germany right now. All lyrics are in German, and their music is a little bit of everything - rock, punk rock, hard rock and metal. So I guess that most people who like different kinds of harder rock will find something that they like here. It's often catchy and heavy guitars, and most of these 11 songs are pretty good stuff. Nothing is so bad that it sucks anyway.
metalville.de
Published: Jan. 16

20 WATT TOMBSTONE: Year of the Jackalope - Single
(Self released on Jan. 22)
On the A-side we get a cover of "Just Got Paid" by ZZ TOP. So I guess it's not so hard to figure out that this band play blues rock from the American South. The B-side is a bit darker though, and is a cover of Chris Stapleton's "Midnight Train To Memphis".
Well, there's not much to say about this as it's just 2 songs, but it sounds good anyway. So just give it a try.
20watttombstone.bandcamp.com
Published: Jan. 15

HOLY DEATH TRIO: The Killer - Single
(Self released on Jan. 22)
The 2 first singles from these Texas rockers was great, and this song is not so bad either, even though it might not be as great as the first songs. I would describe it as a heavier rocker. It was actually written in the same vein as an old blues song from the early 1900s, and was originally written and performed as a 1-man blues band. But here we get it with a full band, which makes it sound like straight up power trio heavy blues rock-n-roll instead.
I'm still waiting for their full length debut, which should be out soon.
holydeathtrio.com
Published: Jan. 15

SEKUNDERNA: Hjärtat EP - EP
(Luftslott Records on Jan. 22)
Catchy and energetic power pop/punk rock in Swedish. 3 songs is what we get on this EP, and it's definitely not bad at all. So you should check this out of course.
This northern Swedish band released their first EP, "Paradiset EP", in January 2020, and the physical copies sold out fast. Their music has been described as a perfect blend of classic Swedish acts like EBBA GRÖN and modern American garage punk. I don't know if I agree, but it's stable 4-beat anyway, and then you can describe it however you want. The lyrics deal with everyday issues in a capitalist society.
sekunderna.bandcamp.com   luftslottrecords.com
Published: Jan. 13

ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA: Contaminazione 2.0 - Album
(Jolly Roger Records - Out now)
This was a really weird experience.. Some kind of over ambitious, progressive rock opera adventure in Italian. Not really my kind of thing. And I don't think that this is so rock n roll either, as it sounds more like a opera or possibly a musical. It's more or less torture to me to listen to some of the parts here - Like when there's violin or piano for example, and when they play solo or instrumental for way too long. But o.k., I'm not going to lie to you, there are some good parts too here and there, so this is not totally hopeless after all.
jollyrogerstore.com
Published: Jan. 13

GENERATION STEEL: The Eagle Will Rise - Album
(Pure Steel Records on Jan. 22)
Can heavy metal be more true than this? They have the right sound and the right passion. It's powerful and energetic, yet melodic somehow, and they are really good at what they are doing. And that's fuel enough to make a great album like this.
If I should compare them with the veterans, then I would say JUDAS PRIEST in the 80s for example. Simply good old heavy metal as we all know it and love it.
GENERATION STEEL comes from Germany, and was founded in 2019. So this is obviously their debut album, which consist of 13 tracks and almost an hour of music. The band was formed by guitarist Jack The Riffer (ex-DEAD MAN'S HAND, BULLET TRAIN). The other members are Pascal Lorenz (ex-OSCURA, CORBIAN) on lead guitar, Michael Kaspar (ex-SQUEALER) on bass, Martin Winter on drums and Rio Ullrich on vocals.
The album was produced by ACCEPT guitarist Uwe Lulis.
generation-steel.de   puresteel-records.com
Published: Jan. 12

KICKIN VALENTINA: The Revenge Of Rock - Album
(Mighty Music on Jan. 22)
"The Revenge Of Rock" is the third full length album from these American hard rockers. They deliver 9 tracks of loud and dirty rock n roll, often with a party vibe on top of that. They throw in some punk rock here and there too, which gives it even more energy. There is a few more melodic songs too though, so it's not just full speed ahead all the time. This is really good stuff!
KICKIN VALENTINA formed in 2013, and released their first EP in October the same year. In 2015 they signed with the Danish label Mighty Music, who has released 2 albums and 1 EP with the band.
Fans of early GUNS N' ROSES and AC/DC should check this out.
kickinvalentina.com   mightymusic.dk
Published: Jan. 11

CONVICTION: Conviction - Album
(Argonauta Records on Jan. 22)
Heavy boys. We talk doom metal here, and nothing else. They are highly recommended for fans of SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM, COUNT RAVEN and early CATHEDRAL.
CONVICTION is a French band, who formed in 2013. But it's not until now that their first full length album will be released, which consist of 8 massive tracks. And this is hardly something for those of you who are in a hurry. It's slow and heavy, but yet with a melody, and the songs are pretty long pieces (5:28-11:18 minutes). It's absolutely not bad though.
convictiondoom.bandcamp.com   argonautarecords.com
Published: Jan. 10

BLOODLETTER: Funeral Hymns - Album
(Petrichor on Jan. 22)
BLOODLETTER hails from Chicago, Illinois, USA. They have previously released several EPs and a full length.
A album title like "Funeral Hymns" might sound like something really depressing, but what we get here is 11 tracks of furious and raging thrash metal with slight crossover hints. There's also lots of space for melodies. So no, this is absolutely not depressing or any funeral hymns.
BLOODLETTER play a kind of thrash metal that sounds really good to me. I think you might like it too.
facebook.com/bloodletterMetal   hammerheartpetrichor.com
Published: Jan. 10

ALPHA BOYS: Saviours of Rock 'N' Roll - Album
(Sliptrick Records on Jan. 21)
Swedish band ALPHA BOYS sing about drunken adventures and dirty stuff among other things. And some of the lyrics are actually a bit silly. But if it had been something like 20-25 years ago, then I would probably have laughed a lot at this band's lyrics.
They are obviously inspired by TURBONEGRO, and even call their music deathpunk, just like them. The music is not exactly the same as the Norwegians though, as they are also inspired by MOTÖRHEAD. And sure it's not so bad, but on the other hand they don't have that big hit song that they should have if they want to go anywhere.
I guess a song title like "Too Smart To Be Sober" says it all. You don't need that much intelligence to listen to this. Which is o.k. as rock is meant to be fun.
"Saviours of Rock 'N' Roll" is the debut album from these high energy rockers.
facebook.com/alphaboysSWE   sliptrickrecords.com
Published: Jan. 10

SNOW: Skate Fast Die Hard - Single
(Red Garage Records - Out now)
This is a new solo band with Rodrigo Neves (TIGERSHARKS), formed as late as last year during the pandemic. In this band he focus on a mixture of sludge, hardcore/punk and stoner rock, and it sounds like crust core (more or less) to me, possibly with a pinch of thrash. It's a pretty fast and short song.
"Skate Fast Die Hard" is the first single with SNOW, but another single should be out soon. An album with the same title as this song is expected in early 2021.
snowhatesyou.bandcamp.com
Published: Jan. 9

ROYAL HUNT: Dystopia - Album
(NorthPoint Productions/King Records - Out now)
It's a dramatically and ambitious album that these Danish progressive metal veterans has created. I can hear power metal as well as neo-classical metal here. But also some classical/symphonic music, which makes it cinnematic.
This could have been the kind of album that I don't really like. But ROYAL HUNT succeed to make good songs, and are not ambitious just because they can. So this is simply a very good metal album.
"Dystopia" is the band's 15th studio album, and it's also a concept album, which features vocals from people like Mats Leven (PRINS SVART, SKYBLOOD, ex-CANDLEMASS, Yngwie Malmsteen etc etc), Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, RING OF FIRE), Henrik Brockmann (ROYAL HUNT, EVIL MASQUERADE, N'TRIBE), Kenny Lubcke (NARITA, ZOSER MEZ) and Alexandra Andersen (ROYAL HUNT, JSP).
royalhunt.com   northpoint-productions.com
Published: Jan. 9

PINK COCOON: Wasting My Time - Single
(Self released - Out now)
Doom blues is what they call this, and it's said to fit fans of BLACK SABBATH, Jimi Hendrix and ALICE IN CHAINS.
PINK CACOON is a 1-man band with multi-instrumentalist Marc Zolla from Montreal. This song is said to be darker and heavier than "It's No Fun", which was released in August 2020. His sound is described as a mixture of psychedelic riffs, hard rock and pop melodies.
"Wasting My Time" is the second in a series of singles that will eventually form the basis of a new EP, which is due later this year. And this is a really good song that you should check out at once.
pinkcocoonband.com
Published: Jan. 9

SISTER: Scream for Pleasure - Single
(Flick Records - Out now)
Yet another single with these Swedish hard rockers. "Scream for Pleasure" is the fifth single from their upcoming 4th album. So it looks like they have released something like half the album as singles now.
Well, this song is among the better of those that I have heard so far, so it's absolutely worth checking out of course. And why not try the previous singles as well?
The new album, "Vengeance Ignited", will be released in February.
flickagency.se   facebook.com/sisterband
Published: Jan. 8

HERE LIES MAN: Ritual Divination - Album
(RidingEasy Records on Jan. 22)
This is almost like listening to 15 different versions of the same song. The music is heavy/psych rock, and the only "vocals" is background singing. They repeat the same thing over and over again. It's honestly very difficult to listen to. And why did they have to include as much as 15 tracks of this shit?! It makes it last for an eternity.
HERE LIES MAN are based in L.A., and this is their 4th full length album. Their music has been decribed as "if BLACK SABBATH played Afrobeat", which might not be true anymore as "the guitars are heavier and more blues based than before, but the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave remains a constant", as they describe this album.
hereliesman.com   ridingeasyrecs.com
Published: Jan. 6

Joey Diabolic: Through Soundwaves Vol. 3 - EP
(Self released on April 2)
Joey Diabolic is a multi-instrumentalist and solo artist, and this 6-track EP is a tribute to the film "A Nightmare On Elm Street". It features a couple of original songs, but mainly covers of ANTHRAX, SPONGE, STABBING WESTWARD and WHITE ZOMBIE. And to be honest with you, there's not much that is good here, but there's variation at least.
The first track, "Son of a Hundred Maniacs", is just a intro. After that it's more electronic/industrial. "Plowed" is a more normal metal song, and among the few songs here that are o.k. at least. The next track, "I Am The Shadow in Darkness", is a slower piece. And after that comes another electronic/industrial song. The last bite, "Creatures of the Wheel", is a industrial song.
joeydiabolic.bandcamp.com
Published: Jan. 5

MEZMORIA: Scars - Single
(Self released - Out now)
MEZMORIA was first founded in 2006 by Robin Jidhed (Ex-CREYE) together with Eric Wikström (HAGWATER) and Martin Floberg (ENBOUND). But after years of writing and recording, life intervened and the project was put on ice. Until now..
"Scars" is the first release from this Swedish metal project, which also features Eric Skjuttorp (CHUGGER) on drums and David Åkesson (QANTICE) on backing vocals. It's a very melodic metal song, but yet energetic, and very good. This is absolutely worth checking out my friend.
mezmoria.com
Published: Jan. 4

NORSEMAN: Lady In Black - Single
(Inverse Records - Out now)
What we get from this Finnish band is a metal version of URIAH HEEP's classic ballad "Lady In Black". It was recorded as a tribute to the late Ken Hensley (URIAH HEEP among others), and they are doing a pretty good version of it, even though it's a bit harder, faster and heavier than the original version. You should absolutely check it out.
On this song they collaborate with Finnish heavy metal singers Taage Laiho, Maya Liittokivi, Markku Palm and Hannu Leiden. NORSEMAN are currently working on a new album, which will be released later this year.
youtu.be/ah52e4NSEPQ   inverse.fi
Published: Jan. 3

ANGSTKRÍG: Lucifer Kalder - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
"Lucifer Kalder" is the first single with this Danish black metal duo, which also features a guest apperance from Frédéric Leclercq (KREATOR, DRAGONFORCE). Their debut album, "Skyggespil", will be released soon, and this song is a taste of that.
Their music is best described as a powerful mass of energy ready for the doom of the earth, but with a pinch of catchy rock n roll. We can just call it black n roll.
A o.k. song, but honestly not much else.
angstskrig.bandcamp.com   despotz.se
Published: Jan. 3

STASS: Songs of Flesh and Decay - Album
(Emanzipation Productions on Jan. 15)
Here's yet another band with the Swedish death metal legend Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER, RIBSPREADER, REVOLTING, DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN). In this band he has teamed up with vocalist Felix Stass (CREMATORY), and the lineup also features members from APOSTASY. The debut album, "The Darkside", was released in 2017, and now the second album from STASS is finally here.
What we get from these boys is a mixture of old school death metal and melodic death metal. The songs here are both heavy and catchy at the same time. And it will probably remind you of the old Sunlight sound or an old demo from the same era.
facebook.com/stassband   emanzipation.dk
Published: Jan. 2