REVIEWS 2021 - Page 3

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Transcending Obscurity Records/FYC Records on May 14 - 7" vinyl, CD, Cassette
2 tracks with a Greek black metal duo. Their sound is raw, intense and primitive. It has that dark and cold atmosphere over it, which is important when it comes to this genre. Very old school, and not bad at all.
It seems like this release is combined with a full length album in a brand new 12-panel digipak packaging for the CD, while the vinyl will see a standalone 7" edition, with the band's own label FYC Records handling the combined tape edition.
Published: May 3

Black Lodge Records on May 14 - CD, LP
This band is a little funny. Most of the songs are thrash/death metal. But suddenly there's a song that is more like folk metal/punk or the Swedish genre trallpunk (think DiaPSALMA, BARBARAS GRANNAR for example). 1 song is almost crust punk with a touch of death metal, which is followed by an acoustic, instrumental piece. Sometimes there's also some black metal influences. So you can hardly complain about lack of variation here. But whatever they go into, they still manage to row it ashore. So it's still not a too fragmented impression they give. I like most of it. But that last instrumental track that sounds like a church organ was not so interesting to hear.
SINIESTRO formed in 2012, and is a Swedish duo. These 2, who call themselves Commander and The Machine, comes from bands like DOGMA, XIIX, VALKYRJA, JÄRNBLOD and TERMINAL PROSPECT. They have previously released 1 album and 2 EPs.
This second full length features a guest apperance from Erik Gravsiö (MÅNEGARM) and Jens Järvinen (JÄRNBLOD) on the track "Blod Eld Död". The lyrics are both in English and Swedish.
Published: May 3

Sensory on May 14 - LP
Until recently SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE was considered a cult studio project for fine taste followers (a other way to describe progressive nerds?). But they have during the last 2 years transformed into a live act, mixing the traditions of heavy metal together with the aesthetics of world music performance, spiritual punk and pure rock n roll.
On the 4th album from this Israeli collective we get a soup of progressive oriental metal, which they spice up with everything from African and Balkan brass sections to Arabic violins and extended vocal techniques. We get radio friendly hooks, heavy riffs and polychromatic arrangements. And then I guess that I have just told you half of it all.
This is of course like a wet dream for any fan of progressive rock and metal. But for me, who are not always so impressed by these bands, it's not so bad. I have absolutely heard a lot worse than this.
Published: May 3

ÅSKOG: Varþnaþer
Corrupted Flesh Records/Grind to Death Records/Leviaphonic Records on May 12 - CD, Digital
This is the debut album from this Swedish black metal duo, which was formed as late as last summer when their previous band MURDRYCK came to an end. A demo, "Varg", was released in October 2020, and the cassette edition quickly sould out (it has since then been reissued on CD, and will be reissued on cassette later this year).
ÅSKOG blend in heavy, doom and death metal in their raw music. And the result is a really good album. It's not too extreme, and not atmospheric or symphonic. Just pure black metal as it's supposed to be according to me. In other words no bullshit.
There's also room for variation here. Some songs are fast and some mid-tempo, while some are almost doom heavy.
Published: May 2

ACID'S TRIP: Strings Of Souls
Heavy Psych Sounds Records on May 7 - LP, CD, Digital
Acid with Honeymoon Disease
HONEYMOON DISEASE was a damned good rock band from Göteborg, Sweden (aka Gothenburg). That band just seemed to dissapeared, which was sad. But then we got 2 new great bands instead: HOT BREATH and ACID'S TRIP.
The name of this band might sound like it would be a doom or psych rock band, but it's absolutely not. This is energetic rock n roll that makes me think of early KISS for example (one of the songs is actually called "The Kiss Riff"). But there's also elements of THIN LIZZY, LYNYRD SKYNYRD and The HELLACOPTERS.
This album simply kicks ass! It has a little bit of everything you could say. It has soul and can be emotional, but is yet raw and have attitude. Then they top that with melodies and a lot of energy. This is so explosive that it will blow you away!
ACID'S TRIP has previously released the 12" maxi vinyl "Rock'n'Roll Speedball", but "Strings Of Souls" is their first full length album.
Published: May 2

IMMORTAL SŸNN: Force of Habit
Self released on May 7 - Digital
IMMORTAL SŸNN melt together heavy metal and thrash metal to a old school metal hybrid. They are from Colorado, and this is their first full length album since 2017's "Machine Men".
"Force of Habit" gives us mixed styles - We have pure thrash and heavy metal, as well as some less serious tongue-in-cheek stuff, and even more melodic songs. So this is a band with many different faces. But it's never unevenly. You can always hear that it's IMMORTAL SŸNN.
This album also marks the full-length debut of vocalist Duel Shape, who joined the band in March 2020.
This is a digital release. So look for it on streaming sites or They also plan a physical release on CD, vinyl and even cassette, and each format will have its own bonus track(s) in addition to the main album.
Published: April 30

METHADONE SKIES: Retrofuture Caveman
Haywire Records on May 7 - LP, CD, Cassette
Watch out for The Methadone Skies, because it ain't much rock n roll. Just some instrumental harrowing without direction. The usual repeat the same thing over and over again before we repeat something else over and over again. Might be good to do some Yoga or Qi Gong to, but boring when you actually want to listen to the music.
METHADONE SKIES is a psychedelic rock group from Timisoara, Romania, who has been active since 2009. They have previously released 4 full lengths with its own musical direction, but often leaning into stoner, post rock and doom metal territories. On "Retrofuture Caveman" we can also add some progressive elements to the brew.
The short version is atmospheric, psychedelic, progressive and instrumental.
Published: April 30

LAST AGONY: The Imminent Slaughter
Sentient Ruin Laboratories on May 7 - LP, Cassette, Digital
This is a really raw and intense experience. Fast crust punk with a singer who scream out all his anger. But somehow it's also heavy. In other words as it's supposed to be when it comes to this kind of music. Sometimes they are almost a little too chaotic for me though. But those moments are short and few, so it's not such a big problem.
If you like it brutal and extreme, then this is something for you. And even though you might not use to listen to crust punk, you should try it anyway if you like death metal, grindcore or black metal. Extreme music for extreme people you know.
LAST AGONY was formed in Toronto, Canada in 2017. Among their influences are LÄRM, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, PROTESBENGT, ELECTRO HIPPIES, ANTI CIMEX, DOOM, NAPALM DEATH, REPULSION and TERRORIZER. "The Imminent Slaughter" is their full length debut.
Published: April 30

HUMAN FAILURE: Crown on the Head of a King of Mud
Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Caligari Records on May 7 - 10" LP, Cassette, Digital
HUMAN FAILURE is a solo project by the American artists D. Cornejo (member of several bands). The music is a very raw and extreme mixture of hardcore/punk, death metal and pure noise. He is obviously not here to make beautiful songs, but rather to torture your ears. This is getting on my nerves! I actually get a headache, and can't concentrate when I listen to this crap. But maybe that was the whole idea?
The most sick thing is that not just 1 label, but 2, actually want to release this shit. And not just digital, as it will be available on vinyl and cassette too. Yes, humans are sick..
Published: April 30

PRISON CITY BRIGADE: Rough Skeletons - Album
(Self released? - Out now)
This band formed in 2013, and released their first EP, "The Corner Of Debauchery and Nowhere", in 2015. In March 2017 their first full length, "War On Boredom", was released, which included re-recordings of the EP as well as new songs. A second album, "Trials Of Survival", came out in August 2018. And it seems like their third full length, "Rough Skeletons", was released in February 2020.
Some songs are some kind of alternative rock or possibly post punk, while some are more like punk rock or pop punk. Sing-along choirs are nothing unusual in these 9 songs. And they have some good stuff here, even though everything isn't so interesting. I like some of the punk songs.
Published: April 29

PRESSURE: Path Of A Shadow - Album
(Self released on May 7)
They begin with a track that is as long as 11:40 minutes, and then they continue with 14 more songs. Why? Can't you understand that it's insane to do like that? And that first track is absolutely not good either, so nobody wants to hear it. And I find it hard to believe that too many wants to hear as much as 15 tracks of this band.
PRESSURE comes from Sweden, and they mix Swedish, English and German lyrics. And another thing that might not be to their advantage, is that those Swedish songs are sung in a dialect that sounds funny somehow.
But even though I complain a little, they have some good stuff among all these tracks. And the reason why there is as much as 15 tracks is simply because some of the songs are available in both Swedish and English. So o.k. then.. But just this time boys.
"Path Of A Shadow" is not just the debut album from this trio, it's also a concept album based on life. But then they call their music story metal.
Published: April 29

MISTRESS: Resurrected - Album
(Blasphemous Records on May 7)
MISTRESS was born in Poland on the Walpurgis night of 2011, and their first offspring, the album "Vampire's Dirty Pleasures", came out on November 1 the same year. They released 2 EPs and 1 more album before the band went into a coma in 2015.
In 2020 MISTRESS woke up again, and recorded the new album "Resurrected".
This band is lurking around in the shock rock/horror glam genre, and is said to be something for fans of MURDERDOLLS and Wednesday 13. And to me, this kind of stuff need hit potential, which this band doesn't really have. It's a good try though, I can't deny that. They should work some more on the production as well, because this sounds a little too much like a cheap demo recording.
Published: April 29

Kitchener-Waterloo Metal Compilation - Compilation
(Self released on May 7)
What do you do when you can't play live and just want to play with your friends? Well, you can always do like these Canadians, and team up for a metal jam. That's exactly what the metal bands INVICTA, ÆPOCH, CATHARTIC DEMISE, RAIDER, RIPPR'D and STOLOS did. The result is 7 covers of JUDAS PRIEST, MEGADETH, EXODUS, IRON MAIDEN, DEMOLITION HAMMER, DEATH and VENOM.
The genres is from thrash to black metal, and anything in between. And this might honestly not be the most interesting release on the planet, but they hopefully had a lot of fun when they recorded this. No song is total crap though.
Published: April 28

SOLSTICE: Casting The Die - Album
(Emanzipation Productions on May 7)
SOLSTICE was formed back in 1990 in Miami, Florida, and was one of the bands who established the nowadays classic Florida death/thrash sound. Soon after their first demo was released, they signed with German label Steamhammer/SPV, who released 2 albums with SOLSTICE. But some members were busy with other bands, like CANNIBAL CORPSE, MALEVOLENT CREATION and DEMOLITION HAMMER, so the band went into a long hiatus. But in 2009 a new album finally came out. And now in 2021, with some new members in the band, they give us yet another album.
"Casting To Die" is faithful to the sound of the 90s, with equal parts of intensity and speed, technical ability, and sheer fury. Simply a force to be reckoned with in these hard times.
Their first self titled album (1992) and their second album, "Pray" (1993), as well as their first demo (1991) will be reissued on both CD and vinyl.
Published: April 28

SKARLETT RIOT: Invicta - Album
(Despotz Records on May 7)
SKARLETT RIOT deliver a modern and melodic kind of metal. Heavy riffs are mixed with female pop vocals and melodies. Sometimes there's some harsh screaming here and there, but otherwise it's pretty kind music with all kinds of emotions. A good way to make your pop friends listen to metal maybe? This is really good though, so there's no reason to look down on them.
This UK quartet made succees with their second album, "Regenerate". "Invicta" is the follow-up to that album, and this should not dissapoint the fans.
Published: April 28

JORDFÄST: Hädanefter - Album
(Nordvis Produktion on May 7)
2 extremely long songs - 18:16 and 14:40 minutes - is what we get from this Swedish black metal trio's debut album. The vocals is harsh, and the sound is icy and atmospheric, a bit gloomy. Long instrumental parts is nothing unusual here.
This is o.k., but honestly not much else. I would prefer shorter songs, and they should work some more on the variation between each song. But that's just my opinion of course. Fans of Scandinavian black metal should at least give it a try to see what they think about JORDFÄST.
Published: April 27

(Self released - Out now)
ANCIENT SETTLERS is a pretty new band, who were founded in 2020 to explore modern melodic death metal. Lyrically they were inspired by the recent tragedies that affect the earth and the human race. Their discography so far include a single and this EP, both released earlier this year. They are currently preparing their first full-length album.
Well, the intro doesn't say much about their sound, so don't let that scare you away. The 3 other tracks are more interesting though. That's where they show us what they can do. And modern melodic death metal is exactly what this is, and they do it really good. So give them a chance, o.k.?
Published: April 27

THERE WERE WIRES: Somnambulists - Vinyl reissue
(Iodine Records/TorJohnson Records - Out now)
THERE WERE WIRES formed in 1999 in the underground punk/hardcore scene of the New England area. They self released a demo cassette and a self titled full length CD, before they signed to Iodine Records in 2002, who re-released the album. Then they entered the studio in March 2003 to start recording their second album, "Somnambulists". By this time they had developed their sound, but disbanded shortly after Iodine Records folded in 2003. The members moved on to bands like DISAPPEARER, DOOMRIDERS and NO FLOWERS.
Now they re-release the album on vinyl, remastered with all new artwork and design. And what can I say? This is an adventure to listen to. Sometimes it's pure hardcore, but suddenly there's a song that's 10 and a half minutes long. There's also some heavier songs here, and what we can call progressive adventures. Mainly hard and heavy with a singer who is screaming though. I guess that doom/metalcore is a good label for this.
Published: April 26

FEMALE SPECIES: Tale Of My Lost Love - Album
(Numero Group on April 30)
O.k., this is not the usual stuff that I use to review. Because how often do you get something with a female band from the 60s?
Vicki and Ronni Gossett launched their musical career as teenagers in Whittier, California in 1966. They called themselves The FEMALE SPECIES. Members came and went, and their base of operations moved to Las Vegas, back to L.A., and over to Nashville. Along the way their sound transformed from garage rock to lounge to country-pop. In the 1980s they became staff songwriters for music publishing companies in the hit-making business.
After 55 years they have finally menaged to get their first album released. Now I don't really know when this was recorded, but it doesn't sound like it have been recorded by some old ladies today, but rather back in the 60s to the 80s when they still were young.
Most of these songs doesn't rock that much to be honest with you. It's pretty cool stuff though, so I like some of it, even though there's a little too many of those soft songs. We get a wild mixture of soft rock, pop and country etc. So there's definitely variation here. But maybe too much variation.
On the other hand we have as much as 17 tracks too pick the best candy from. And the songs that I would recomend are the 3-4 first songs. After that it's not much for the Christmas tree, even though there's a good song here and there.
Published: April 26

TEMPLE BALLS: Pyromide - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
TEMPLE BALLS is a Finnish band playing energetic but yet melodic hard rock. It's very catchy stuff that you just have to like. This album is full of great songs. It's almost like every song was meant to be an anthem to sing along to.
In September 2016 the band released their first single, which was followed by their debut album in February 2017. The next album came out in March 2019, and "Pyromide" is their third album. It was produced by Jonna Tee (H.E.A.T).
Published: April 24

ICON OF SIN: Icon Of Sin - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Well, there's no doubt that this man sounds a lot like Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN, ex-SAMSON). Brazilian vocalist Raphael Mendes has become a very popular figure in the Youtube world due to his jaw dropping vocal covers. And he became even more famous in 2020 when a video series called "What if Bruce Dickinson sang in other bands" was launched.
ICON OF SIN is yet another project created, overseen and directed by Serafino Perugino, President and A&R director of Frontiers Music. Serafino wanted to pair Raphael with 2 musicians of the Curitiba metal scene, both of whom have already unveiled their musical talents through the label: Sergio Mazul (singer of SEMBLANT) and Marcelo Gelbcke (guitarist of LANDFALL).
What these gentlemen have created here is an album full of classic heavy metal, backed up by very powerful vocals. Fans of IRON MAIDEN and other classic bands should absolutely check this out.
Published: April 23

WARISH: Next To Pay - Album
(RidingEasy Records on April 30)
WARISH is a noisey punk/metal trio from San Diego, who deliver their 13 songs with a raw energy and a raw sound. They are said to mix early AmRep skronk, dark horror rock and budget doom antipathy. And on this album it's been taken to a new level. This is darker and more bitingly vicious than ever before. Among their influences are early NIRVANA, MISFITS, The SPITS and "Master of Reality"-era BLACK SABBATH. The guitars are heavy and powerful, while the singer is screaming like Kurt Cobain (NIRVANA).
They are also doing a cover of GRAY MATTER's "Burn No Bridges".
Published: April 22

DISCARDED SELF: Discarded Self - Album
(Sarcophagus Recordings on April 30)
During the quarantine in 2020, Jarret Beach from Alberta, Canada formed his 1-man sludge band DISCARDED SELF. His influences came from ACID BATH, GRAVES AT SEA, FISTULA, THOU, BEHEMOTH, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, MGLA and CROWBAR. Its lyrical content incorporates the various forms of destruction in life, not solely the more evident variants that can be perceived by one's eyes. Toxic behaviors, drug abuse, and impetuousness are a few such examples of the calamitous inspirations. The project's moniker is actually a reflection of the subject matter.
This is not just pure sludge though. There's also black and death metal in his music, and possibly some hardcore, which makes it sound more extreme. This is not for everyone. But if you like it hard, heavy and extreme, then you could always give this a try or 2. I can't say that I'm so impressed though.
Published: April 22

BLOODY HELL: The Bloodening - Album
(Rockshots Records on April 30)
Finnish heavy metal band BLOODY HELL released 2 EPs - "Hangover Riders" (2010) and "What The Hell" (2003) - before their self titled debut album was released in 2015. But it's not until now that their second album is ready to be released. And these guys has obviously been listening a lot to ACCEPT and JUDAS PRIEST. There's no doubt about that when I hear this album.
The first 7 songs on this record sounds really good. But the 5 last are a little bit weaker. Maybe they should have done a EP instead? That would have been much better. Still a good album though, and absolutely worth checking out.
Published: April 22

The TREATMENT: Waiting For Good Luck - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
The one who wait for good luck always wait too long. But maybe these guys are more lucky?
Anyway.. On this fifth album from The TREATMENT they are rocking hard and energetic like AC/DC, but they have their own sound somehow as they seems to blend it with some other band (not really sure what band though). They fire away one good song after the other. I don't have anything to complain about when it comes to this British band. It's like they have tried to make a modern classic with this album.
I guess that fans of a band like KROKUS would like this.
Published: April 21

SWEET OBLIVION featuring Geoff Tate: Relentless - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
I guess it wasn't just me who was happy to hear the self titled debut album from SWEET OBLIVION, as it reminded me of vocalist Geoff Tate's former band QUEENSRŸCHE, and especially their early albums, which I really like.
Now their second album is here. And while production and main songwriting on the first album was handled by Simone Mularoni (DGM), the production on this new album was handled by Aldo Lonobile (SECRET SPHERE, Timo Tolkki's AVALON, ARCHON ANGEL) instead. But this time Mr. Tate was more involved in the songwriting. And we also get a special song from Aldo, in Italian.
Well, this is absolutely not bad at all. They have succeeded to make another great album, just as I wanted them to. These songs are really strong, and once again in the good old QUEENSRŸCHE tradition.
Published: April 21

ScreaMachine: ScreaMachine - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
ScreaMachine is a heavy metal band from Rome, Italy. They are inspired by famous acts like JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, ICED EARTH, SAVATAGE and ACCEPT. So yes, there's a touch of the 80s, even though they are not living in the past. The old meets the new you could say, as their goal is to deliver an aggressive and traditional heavy metal sound blended with a modern production and songwriting. The members comes from bands like STORMLORD, KALEDON and LUNARSEA. So they are experienced men, even though this is the debut as ScreaMachine.
This is a heavy and powerful metal monster that every fan of heavy metal should check out. It might not be a future classic, but they do it very good anyway. No doubt about that!
Published: April 21

INFINITE & DIVINE: Silver Lining - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
INFINITE & DIVINE is a Swedish collaboration between musician/songwriter/producer Jan Åkesson (StoneLake, SHADOW RAIN) and vocalist Tezzi (aka Terese Persson, EPYSODE), who met each other in the summer of 2019 and soon decided to join forces for a new project. The result of that is this debut album, "Silver Lining", who combine heavy guitars with melodic but powerful vocals.
The music is melodic rock, but not really like other bands in that genre, who often have a 80s sound. This is more modern somehow. These 11 tracks sounds really good though, so it can definitely be worth a try.
Published: April 21

FM: Tough It Out Live - Double Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
How do they menage to play for so damn long? I have heard enough before the first disc is over. And then there's one more with the exact same kind of music. I would not recomend you to listen to everything at once, unless you're a big fan then.
But that's what we call a luxury problem, because that doesn't mean that this sucks. Oh no. It just means that it's too many songs at once for me. But in general I would say that they are a very good band.
In 2019 melodic rock legends FM celebrated the 30th anniversary of their second album, "Tough It Out", with 2 shows in UK and Germany, where they played the entire album. And in addition to the tracks from the "Tough It Out" album, this live release is complemented by a number of tracks which FM have rarely performed live.
Published: April 21

The END MACHINE: Phase2 - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
I don't know man.. What did I write last time about this band? "You could be a little nasty here and say that this is more or less a new DOKKEN album, but with a singer who can still sing the songs." HaHa, that was a little funny. What else? Seems like I liked the self titled album from 2019.. Hm, that was interesting. Because this time it sounds just like any other band who play melodic hard rock. But I guess that if you like the classic albums with DOKKEN, then you should probably like this too. A little at least. Because it's not bad.
The members from the classic DOKKEN lineup is George Lynch and Jeff Pilson. Singer is Robert Mason (WARRANT, LYNCH MOB). Classic DOKKEN drummer Mick Brown played drums on the first album, but is now retired, so in his place behind the drum kit is his brother Steve Brown.
Published: April 21

KNIFVEN: Skivspill Och Rester - Cassette
(Gaphals Records on April 23)
Swedish punk band KNIFVEN celebrate their 10-year anniversary with a cassette, which consist of 9 songs recorded between 2011-2020. Some are demo recordings, others are studio recordings that never made it to any release. And after listening to this you can of course ask yourself why these songs didn't make it. Because it's very good songs. On the other hand, now they get their revenge.
Their punk rock have both melody and energy, and there's variation between each song. Even though it's not something totally unique, they have somehow found their own sound.
I read on Facebook that this cassette is just available in 50 copies from the band themselves, so act fast if you want 1. Otherwise it will also be available on digital platforms like Spotify etc.
Published: April 20

ELECTRIC BOYS: Ups!de Down - Album
(Mighty Music on April 30)
Electric Boys at Holmens Rock
The latest albums with this Swedish hard rock veterans have been really good. And sure, this album is not so bad either, but it's not of the high caliber as their last album, "The Ghost Ward Diaries" (2018), which was fantastic.
They start the album with an instrumental song that is over 7 minutes long. Why? How were they thinking there? Otherwise it's a mixture of The BEATLES in a rock costume and different kinds of hard rock, with a pinch of all and nothing from the 1950s until today. Some songs are good, while some are less good. In general a middle album in their discography.
"Ups!de Down" is their 7th album, which was once again co-produced with David Castillo. It also introduce their new guitarist "Slim" Martin Thomander. Jolle Atlagic (also in The QUILL, who released a new album in March that is really good) play all drums as original drummer Niclas Sigevall could not leave L.A. due to the pandemic.
Published: April 20

RENEGADE ANGEL: Forevermore - Single
(Self released on April 23)
This song has a metal ballad feeling, "paying homage to nostalgic chord progressions that pull at the heartstrings with their sense of familiarity", as they describe it in the press release. In other words pretty soft, but I think it's o.k. at least. Not much else though. They have to make stronger songs that this if they really want to impress.
Published: April 19

REACH: The Promise of a Life - Album
(Icons Creating Evil Art on April 23)
This would probably fit perfect for the Swedish outtakes to Eurovision Song Contest. So I call it schlager rock. It's a mixture of rock guitars and pop melodies. But they are not afraid to spice it with all kinds of unexpected (at least for a rocker) genres. And these genres are neither rock or pop, but sounds more like cabare music to me. It's a funny little thing with this band that makes them interesting and unique. But they don't add that little touch to every song though, just a few.
They succeed to do something good once in a while, and their strongest card is the choruses, which are very hit friendly. I guess that fans of modern rock with melody could like this band. Or fans of the adventures of a band like QUEEN for example.
REACH is a Swedish trio founded in 2012.
Published: April 19

POVERTY'S NO CRIME: A Secret To Hide - Album
(Metalville Records on April 30)
This German band celebrate their 30th anniversary, and it's 5 years since their last album was released. "A Secret To Hide" is their 8th album, which is a progressive metal and rock adventure in 8 acts. The songs are around 6-10 minutes long.
Now progressive metal and rock might not tell you that much about their sound, so if I'm going to be more specific I would say that it's hard melodic rock music. Sometimes more rock, sometimes more metal, but always catchy and melodic. They are not too complicated. It simply sounds like real songs and not just a technical mess. And I like what I hear here. This is one of few progressive albums that are worth listening to.
Due to the lockdown, the members recorded their parts in their own bedroom, kitchen or living room. That's nothing that you can hear though.
Published: April 18

NINKHARSAG: The Dread March Of Solemn Gods - Album
(Vendetta Records on April 30)
NINKHARSAG formed in 2009 to create cold and majestic black metal in the good old way, with inspiration from legends like MERCYFUL FATE, BATHORY and METALLICA, as well as Scandinavian 90s acts like EMPEROR, DESSECTION and MAYHEM. Their debut album, "The Blood of Celestial Kings", was released in 2015. And now it's time for their second attack.
Vocals and drums are violently aggressive, while the guitars produce beautiful melodies. It's almost like a mix of black metal and heavy metal. And that makes this band a little extra good according to me. I really like this album!
Not that I have any greater knowledge of the British black metal scene of today, but to me this is one of the most interesting bands in this genre from UK right now.
Published: April 18

MOTHER ROAD: Drive - Album reissue
(Metalapolis Records - New release date: May 14)
MOTHER ROAD was born out of the ashes of SOUL DOCTOR (from Germany) and STEELHOUSE LANE (from USA), to create a modern version of 70s bands like FREE, BAD COMPANY and early WHITESNAKE. Their debut album, "Drive", was released in May 2014, and is nowadays almost sold out. But when their latest album, "II", was released a few months ago, people started to ask for that first album. So the record company, Metalapolis Records, got the idea to re-release the debut.
Said and done, and now it's here. And this sounds really good to me, as it really sounds like one of those bluesy hard rock bands from the 70s. So this is something that you really should check out.
Published: April 18

CONCLAVE: Dawn Of Days - Album
(Argonauta Records on April 23)
This might be something for those of you who like it heavy.
CONCLAVE is a doom metal band from Massachusetts, USA. Their last album, "Sins Of The Elders", came out in 2016. But now a new album is finally ready to be released.
This album is filled with heavy riffs and hypnotic guitars. Sometimes it's melancholy and acoustic, and sometimes they just crush. We get 5 songs, and they are between 6:39 to as long as 13:34 minutes.
Published: April 18

ESCAPE: Fire in the Sky - Album
(AOR Heaven on April 30)
After decades of silence, AOR/melodic rock band ESCAPE are reborn with a new lineup and ready to release their third album, "Fire in the Sky". It actually seems like all these songs are taken from previous Vince O'Regan releases, and some of them are over 30 years old. But everything has been re-recorded with the technology of today, which gives the material a big and fresh sound.
This is a great album with fantastic songs, so it's a must for every fan of AOR and melodic rock. Well, even fans of melodic hard rock, as it's actually on the border to that.
Any song that I don't like here? No, everything is delicious!
Published: April 17

Brian Island: Brian Island - Album reissue
(AOR Heaven on April 30)
Funky soul music? Well, that's what I think the first song sounds like anyway. Not really something for this website. But the rest of the songs are AOR, so o.k. then.
Brian Island's real name is Brian Cowieson, and he's a Canadian bass player and vocalist. He has played with many local acts, written songs for other artists and scores for movies and TV shows. He was part of the AOR band PROTOTYPE, which released an album back in 1983.
This self titled debut seems to be his one and only solo album, where he teamed up with his old mate from PROTOTYPE, guitarist and producer Dan Lowe. It was originally released in 1989, and has a typical sound from that time that they call hi-tech AOR, with lots of (too much according to me) adult pop. It reminds me of Peter Gabriel or something. But if you want something soft and melodic, then I won't stop you from listening to this.
This album was initially only released in Canada, and is extremely rare to find nowadays. But now a limited edition of 500 copies, with 1 bonus track, is available in the end of April.
Published: April 17

AXEWITCH: Out of the Ashes Into the Darkness - Album
(Pure Steel Records on April 30)
This Swedish heavy metal band existed back in the 80s already, and released 2 demos, 2 EPs and 3 albums between 1982-1986. Now, after an eternity, they are back again with a new album. And what we get is true European heavy metal in the good old 80s style. So in other words really good stuff for every true fan of old school metal.
I don't really know what else I can say about this. But on the other hand I guess that's enough.
Published: April 17

STORMWIND: Rising Symphony - Album reissue
(Black Lodge Records on April 30)
Another great album from STORMWIND, who released 7 albums between 1996-2004. And this is how melodic metal is supposed to be done! Melodic but yet powerful, and most of all fantastic songs. It once again makes me think of the neo-classical stuff that Yngwie Malmsteen did in the 80s, but there's more influences than that of course. I would guess that power metal as well as Dio-era and Tony Martin-era BLACK SABBATH is another influence.
Now it's not any amateurs involved here. Except for mainman Thomas Wolf, we had people like Thomas Vikström (THERION, CANDLEMASS), David Wallin (HAMMERFALL), Andreas Olsson (ROYAL HUNT) and Kaspar Dahlqvist (DIONYSUS).
"Rising Symphony" was orginally released in 2003, but have now been re-mastered, and will also be available on vinyl for the first time.
Published: April 16

WITCH HUNT: Rock n' Roll Possession - Album
(Dead Center Productions on April 23)
WITCH HUNT is a speed metal band from Bogotá, Colombia. They were first active between 2006-2009. But in 2016 they were back again. Main influences are 80s acts like ONSLAUGHT, VENOM, CELTIC FROST, SLAYER, STEELER (Germany), MERCYFUL FATE and many others of the same era.
During the first years of existance they released a single and participated on a couple of South American compilations. In 2019-2020 they finally recorded their first full length album, "Rock n' Roll Possession". And if I got it right, this album was released on cassette and CD in the end of 2020, but will now also be available digitally for most of the world.
The songs here are pretty fast, but not extremely fast. They succeed to blend in some melody here and there as well, which I like. Yes, these songs are good, and I don't have much else to say..
Published: April 15

VITTRA: Wardens - EP
(Emrinc Records on April 23)
VITTRA is part of the new wave of Swedish death metal, and this is their debut EP.
But the story began in mid-2017, and in 2018 the lineup was complete. Inspiration came from bands like DISSECTION, early IN FLAMES, MEGADETH, AT THE GATES and similar thrash and melodic death metal acts.
Their music is powerful and full of melodies and hard riffs. These 4 guys know how it's supposed to be done.
This is just a digital release.
Published: April 15

BLACK RHENO: Battle Ready - Single
(Dead Set Records - Out now)
A big fat groovy slice of sludge is what we get from this Australian band. It's also described as brutal stoner groove. Any of those descriptions works for this, because they blend stoner, sludge and even grindcore, and then they add some groove to that. This is really hard and heavy. No doubt about that.
An interesting thing is that this trio consist of just a drummer, a guitarist and a singer. Because their sound is so fat that you would think that there would be a bass too, or even a second guitar. But no.
BLACK RHENO released their debut album, "Noise Smasher", in late 2019.
Published: April 15

SEVEN DOORS: The Gates Of Hell - Demo
(Redefining Darkness Records on April 16)
This is a 1-man death metal project from Cornwall, UK, created by Ryan Wills and focused on themes based around 70s and 80s horror movies. Among his influences are early GORGUTS, ASPHYX, early DEATH, and SKELETAL REMAINS.
This is really old school. So people who have a love for old demo tapes should give this guy a try, because it's absolutely not bad at all.
This demo is available as cassette and digital.
Published: April 14

(InsideOut Music on April 16)
Well, these guys waste no time. They put my stress level on the top at once. This is really a playground for adults. But what can you expect from prog stars like Mike Portnoy (TRANSATLANTIC, SONS OF APOLLO, DREAM THEATER), John Petrucci (DREAM THEATER), Jordan Rudess (DREAM THEATER), and Tony Levin (KING CRIMSON, Peter Gabriel)? This is something for those of you who are into more adventurous prog rock. The songs seems to be built on improvised jam sessions, and the whole album is instrumental - no vocals at all!
The story about this band started back in 1997, and can therfor be seen as one of the first supergroups in the prog rock genre (nowadays we have lots of them as you may know). A self titled debut album was released in 1998, and followed by "LTE2" in 1999. But after that Petrucci and Portnoy invited Rudess to join them in DREAM THEATER, which became the end of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. There have been a few reunions through the years though. And then came a pandemic who forced people to sit at home in quarantine, so suddenly they felt that they had the time to record a new album after more than 20 years.
Well, if you're into this kind of stuff, then you have to check this out, because you will probably love it.
Published: April 13

The JEFF CARLSON BAND: Yesterday's Gone - Album
(RFL Records on April 23)
In 2001 Jeff Carlson was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, as well as Crohn's disease. He had fallen ill, and was rushed to the hospital to have emergency surgery, where he actually died for almost 3 minutes on the operating table. He then underwent 4 more surgeries, and still continues to deal with both of these diseases today. "This new record was written for everybody out there who is faced with challenges that life throws at you, and you keep going", as he says. The major theme of the record is hope in a world that need more light instead of darkness.
The JEFF CARLSON BAND comes from Las Vegas, Nevada, and they play melodic hard rock that can be both catchy and heavy at the same time, but often with a strong chorus. "Yesterday's Gone" is their debut album, which have plenty of good songs. This is simply something that I recomend you to check out.
Published: April 13

EXTINGUISH: Extinguish - EP
(Creator-Destructor Records on April 23)
EXTINGUISH formed in 2017, and hailing from Sacramento. Now their debut EP is ready to be released, which is an aggressive hardcore attack. Their goal seems to be to achieve the darkest/hardest sound they can, merging elements of death metal with the classic 90s hardcore sound. Their sound is somewhere between death metallers OBITUARY and GRAVE, and hardcore bands NEXT STEP UP and GUT INSTINCT.
When the world is like it is today, these guys hardly hold back with what they think about things. Typical punk lyrics you could say, but yet important matters. And they are really angry, which you can hear when you listen to these 6 tracks.
The metal elements makes the sound heavy, but as they play hardcore it's hardly slow. This is totally o.k. to me.
Published: April 13

DISFUNERAL: Disfuneral - Demo reissue
(Redefining Darkness Records - Out now)
The band name DISFUNERAL might makes you think of a d-beat hardcore/punk band from the 90s worshiping DISCHARGE, and beginning their band name with DIS. But this is a French death metal band, who formed in 2015. Their only release thus far has been a self titled EP, that came out in 2017. But they are currently working on their first full length album.
This demo is a re-release of a demo EP, which has now been released on cassette and digital. And it sounds really good to me. Simply old school death metal and no bullshit. So if that's what you like, then you should absolutely give this band a chance.
Published: April 13

LEACH: D.O.D - Single
(Brutal Records on April 16)
Brutal Records has signed Swedish band LEACH, and their adventure together start with this single, which features vocals from Björn "Speed" Strid (SOILWORK, The NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA). A full length album, titled ",Lovely Light of Life", will be released on May 21.
This band has their own little blend of thrash, hardcore, metal, punk and even a bit of traditional rock and roll. But if we want to make it easy for ourselves (as many want to nowadays), we can just call it thrash n roll. It's energetic, catchy and powerful at the same time.
Published: April 12

CRYPTS OF DESPAIR: All Light Swallowed - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records on April 23)
Much noise from this Lithuanian band. But then it's the more brutal kind of death metal that they play. It sounds like they have let a beast come out to ravage. The sound is raw, extreme and very violent. It's mainly fast and intense. But once in a while they slow down and become almost atmospheric. But that's just to catch the breath before the next attack.
I guess it's not so bad, but I have definitely heard better in my life.
Published: April 12

MY REFUGE: The Anger Is Never Over - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on April 23)
MY REFUGE is an Italian power/heavy metal band, formed in 2010 by guitarist Mauro Paietta. The band released 2 self produced EPs in 2010 and 2012, before they signed a record deal for their full length debut, "A Matter of Supremacy", in 2015. In 2020 the band became an international project instead, involving musicians from as much as 14 countries and 4 continents. The new album, "The Anger Is Never Over", is the result of this new lineup.
This is a melodic album, but yet powerful. Most songs are good stuff, so there's not much to complain about here. In other words, absolutely worth checking out.
Published: April 12

BACKWOOD SPIRIT: Fresh From The Can - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on April 23)
BACKWOOD SPIRIT were founded in Örebro, Sweden in 2014 by guitarist and songwriter Kent Engström. On vocals we find the legendary Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, KHARMA, KARMAKANIC, X-SAVIOUR, TALISMAN, SWEDISH EROTICA, MÅRRAN etc). Their first self titled album was released in 2017. And since then they have been working on their next album, "Fresh From The Can".
Their influences comes from classic rock and bluesy hard rock. I would like to add a pinch of Americana too, as I hear a touch of country rock in some of the songs. Really good stuff anyway. No doubt abaout that. I would guess that this is the kind of album that could be interesting for many different kinds of rock fans.
Published: April 12

ASTRAKHAN: A Slow Ride Towards Death - Album
(Melodic Passion Records on April 23)
Yes, a slow ride it is, and very emotional and dark too. I don't really know what I should think about this band. They might not be totally useless, but they are not that much fun either. I guess it's supposed to be some kind of progressive soup in the more melodic league. But as you might know by now, that's not always my kind of soup. In their better moments they reminds me of EVERGREY though, which is not so bad after all.
ASTRAKHAN comes from Stockholm, Sweden, and was formed by members of PAIN OF SALVATION, ROYAL HUNT, HOUSE OF SHAKIRA etc. in 2013. Their debut album, "Retrospective", was released the same year, and followed by "Adrenaline Kiss" in 2016. In 2020 they released an album filled with music from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar", which was much more interesting to me than this album. Their music is described as "dark cinematic progressive rock".
Published: April 11

GIOTOPIA: Trinity Of Evil - Album
(Self released on April 16)
I don't know, but this sounds cheap somehow. They try to be so epic and dramatic, but just fail as they doesn't seems to be professional enough. And then there's that false laughing here and there that just sounds stupid. What is so damned funny? And sometimes it sounds like they have let a drunk man that they found on the way to the studio sing. The first track, "A New Saga", is just talk and talk for 2 and a half minutes. But sure, there is a few tracks that are good, like the title track for example. It could have been great though with better musicians.
The music that they play is heavy/power/fantasy metal, and this is these Belgian's third album. We get both female and male vocals from several different people. I'm sorry that I have to complain so much when they have been so ambitious and and all. But if it's of any comfort, it's just my opinion.
Published: April 11

MONARCH: Future Shock - Album
(Self released on April 16)
MONARCH is a heavy metal band from San Diego, consisting of Matt Smith on vocals and guitar (NIHILIST, DAMCYAN), Casey Trask on guitar (The THREE TREMORS, CAGE), Gabe Mendez on bass (SUPRA SUMMUS), and Adam West on drums. The band formed in 2007, and released their debut album, "Go Forth... Slaughter", 10 years later, which was a raw thrash metal album.
Now their second album, "Future Shock", is here. And this time the music is more heavy metal and possibly speed metal, even though there's some thrash metal too. Very good stuff that you should give a try.
Published: April 11

The MIGHTY ONE: Torch of Rock and Roll - Single
(S.A.O.L Music - Out now)
Canadian hard rockers The MIGHTY ONE released their new album, "The Torch Of Rock And Roll", on March 26. And that's where this song comes from, which is a heavy rocker about the life of a true rocker.
This is a song that is both heavy and melodic at the same time, and it also has a good chorus. This is absolutely worth checking out.
Not much else to add..
Published: April 11

BUSHIDO CODE: The Ronin - Album
(Upstate Records on April 16)
BUSHIDO CODE comes from Pennsylvania, and consist of scene veterans. They blend death metal influences like DEATH and OBITUARY with thrash influences like TESTAMENT and METALLICA, then add some hardcore like ALL OUT WAR, AGNOSTIC FRONT and BURIED ALIVE.
Their roots go deep into the Pennsylvania hardcore scene, and this band was formed in 2017. They have previously released 2 albums.
Well, this album is hard and heavy stuff. That doesn't mean that they are slow though, which their influences should reveal. Pretty o.k. for a while, but hardly a future classic in my collection.
Published: April 10

Brown Acid: The Twelfth Trip - Compilation
(RidingEasy Records on April 20)
It's amazing how much great stuff there still is to discover from the 60s and 70s that never really got the chance. But you could say that this collection is their little revenge. 12 volumes now, and you could think that the material that they find would be weaker. But no, this is just as strong as the other volumes. This whole compilation (all volumes included) is (according to me) without a doubt the crown jewel among the RidinEasy releases.
This time we get the chance to get familiar with the sound of The WATERS, VILLAGE S.T.O.P, WHITE LIGHTNING, Shane, ACE SONG SERVICE (or A.S.S.), OPUS EST, MOPPTOPS, ARTIST, STAGEFRIGHT and DICKENS.
The music is as usual heavy rock, hard rock, heavy psych, proto-metal and similar. All tracks are long-lost, rare and/or previously unreleased songs.
Published: April 10

BONGZILLA: Weedsconsin - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records on April 20)
BONGZILLA was formed in Wisconsin, USA in 1995. They released a dozen songs on EPs and split singles during their first 3 years, before they signed to Relapse Records in 1998. They released 4 albums between 1998 to 2005, but remained active until 2009, when they took a quietly hiatus.
But in 2015 they were back again, and have been playing live since then. But no new record has been released though. But in 2020 they started to record some new songs for several releases, and 1 of them is this new album, titled "Weedsconsin" (they like their marijuana a lot I might add). They are nowadays a trio, as Cooter Brown had to retire due to health and family reasons. So today's lineup is: Muleboy (bass, vocals), Spanky (guitar), and Magma (drums).
I can imagine this band standing on a stage filled with so much smoke that you hardly can see them. But you will definitely hear them, as they play on highest volume. This band is really heavy, but yet catchy somehow - A mixture of crushing stoner doom and psychedelic space rock you could say. This album is full of heavy riffs and psychedelic jams. There's actually more instrumental parts than vocals here.
Published: April 10

23 TILL: Ännu Ekar Ropen - Single
(Beat Butchers - Out now)
Swedish veterans 23 TILL return with a new single. And this is the first taste of something new from them since their 2019 album "Shake It Baby!". On this song they have co-operated with members of the Swedish reggae legends KALLE BAAH, so you can expect a mixture of that and the 23 TILL sound here. It's actually a pretty soft song for sunny summer days, but it sounds good to me anyway. Maybe a little unnecessarily long though with its 5:35 minutes.
Published: April 9

DINOSAUR JR.: Garden - Single
(Jagjaguwar - Out now)
Their new album, "Sweep It Into Space", will be released on April 23. "Garden" is the second single from that album. Another nice, soft and catchy little piece that hardly rock that hard. It's almost a little too nice actually, so I have decided that this is probably not a band for me after all.
Published: April 9

ALTZI: Point Of No Return - Single
(RA Music - Out now)
Hard pop as a friend called it in the 80s. Very melodic hard rock with a pop twist is another good description to this. A very good song anyway. And that's the most important thing.
We get the song both in English and Spanish, but ALTZI comes from Sweden. This is their first single out of 4, which will result in a EP later this year. Their debut album, "All Eyes On Me", will be released in early 2022.
Published: April 9

SHADOWSPAWN: The Biology of Disbelief - Album
(Emanzipation Productions on April 16)
This is the third release from these Danish death metallers. And it's a powerful mixture of heavy and groovy riffs that we get here. They are hardly the fastest death band, but far away from doom heavy. It's something for fans of BENEDICTION, ASPHYX and ILLDISPOSED they say. It sounds good to me anyway, so I think that you should give this a try.
I don't really know what else I should say about this..
Published: April 8

WARTOOTH: Programmed Dichotomy - LP
(Self released on April 9)
It seems like WARTOOTH wants to show us all how thrash metal is supposed to be done. So they deliver their 8 tracks with speed, anger and lots of energy. And the result sounds like they would be influenced by several legendary bands from the old school - Both American and European.
WARTOOTH comes from Brisbane, Australia, and consist of the 2 Knappstein brothers Andy and Wally. "Programmed Dichotomy" was actually released a year ago, but will now also be available on vinyl (as the modern people call it, I say LP).
This is a damned good thrash album!
Published: April 7

THRONE: Pestilent Dawn - Album
(Redefining Darkness Records on April 9)
"Pestilent Dawn" is the debut album from this Michigan band. And this is really hard and brutal black/death metal in the old school. Except for some short pieces here and there, it's full speed ahead from the first to the last second. A very fast and intense experience actually. So be prepeared to get blown to pieces if you want to listen to this band.
Even though this is a bit noisey, it's hardly any chaos. They succeed to arrange some kind of melody, which drives the songs forward. But I would not recomend this for people with a weak heart or bad nerves.
Published: April 7

PHLEBOTOMIZED: Pain, Resistance, Suffering - Mini Album
(Petrichor on April 9)
PHLEBOTOMIZED were formed back in 1989, but formally changed their name to the current one in 1990. During the 90s they released several demos, EPs and full length albums. The band split up in 1997, but reformed in 2013. A comeback album, "Deformation Of Humanity", was released in 2019.
"Pain, Resistance, Suffering" is a new 7-track mini album (too short to be a full length, but a little too long to be a EP, I suppose?). The music is a mixture of melodic death metal and doom metal. It's brutal yet melodic, but also heavy (not extremely heavy though). And this is not bad at all. They have their own little sound somehow, which they spice with keyboards and violins.
Published: April 6

Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA: Spirit Of Alchemy - Album
(Metalville Records on April 9)
This sounds like a hard rock/heavy metal album from the 80s. Which I guess is the whole idea. But at the same time it's said to be their heaviest album to date. These 9 tracks are really good anyway, so it's of course worth listening to.
Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA is the brainchild of Swedish drummer Johan Kihlberg, who formed the band in 2011 after over 30 years of performing with members from legendary bands like KISS, THIN LIZZY, EUROPE, RAINBOW and MÖTLEY CRÜE. After 5 albums as IMPERA, he decided to go in a heavier direction, and Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA was born.
On each album Johan has invited friends from the rock and metal community to add that extra touch to the songs. This time the musicians are bassist Johan Levén (EUROPE), multi-musician Snowy Shaw (KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, SABATON, DREAM EVIL etc etc) on drums, vocals by Jonny Lindkvist (NOCTURNAL RITES) and guitars by Lars Chriss (LION'S SHARE). But the album also features people like Mats Vassfjord (220 VOLT) - bass on "Lost Your Life To Rock'n'Roll" - and Pontus Engberg (KING DIAMOND etc) - bass on "In Heaven".
We get an album with lots of variation. It's mainly heavy and melodic, but the last track, "Battle", sounds like a soundtrack to an adventure movie.
Published: April 6

EXTERMINATED: The Genesis of Genocide - Album
(Comatose Music on April 9)
Couldn't the drummer afford to buy a whole drum kit? Because it sounds like he's beating on a tin or something. Same irritating sound, fast as fuck, all the time. It really destroy the experience. On the other hand I don't think that I would have liked this anyway. Some kind of ultra fast grindcore/death metal that sounds chaotic. Not really my thing, sir. This is just a hell of a noise!
EXTERMINATED is a Philippine duo with Ace Estandian (ANAL FISSURE, GUILLOTINED) on guitar and drum programming and Myke Pardo (ANAL FISSURE) on vocals.
Rubbish! Rubbish! Rubbish! As the old man said.
Published: April 6

NIGHTRAGE: Abyss Rising - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
Greek/Swedish melodic death metal veterans NIGHTRAGE return with the first single from their upcoming new album, "Abyss Rising", which will be released in the fall (so you can expect some more singles before that). And it's a true ass kicker. This is just as good as anything that they have released during the last years. So there's no chance that you will be dissapointed when you hear this.
I don't think that I have to say much more than that. I already look forward to hear some more..
Published: April 2

APHRODITE: Orgasmic Glory - Album
(Figther Records - Out now)
This Canadian trio released their debut album, "Lust And War", in 2019, and it was a really good album. This second album, "Orgasmic Glory", is more of what we got on the debut, and actually not much of a development. So in other words speed metal with female clean vocals and not much screaming. Pretty simple but effective.
It actually happens that she scream a little once in a while, but it's mainly more or less in the same tone all the time, so some more variation and some more action in her voice would not have hurt. She has a vocal melody at least, so it's not extremely monotonous. But that's all I can complain about, because the songs are great on this album too.
Published: April 2

SUNSTORM: Afterlife - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
SUNSTORM was previously fronted by Joe Lynn Turner (RAINBOW, Yngwie Malmsteen, DEEP PURPLE etc), but has now been replaced by another RAINBOW singer: Ronnie Romero (LORDS OF BLACK etc etc). They are still a really good band though, and Ronnie is also a really good singer, so this is absolutely worth buying.
The songs are just as strong and melodic as anything from the good old hard rock bands from the 70s and 80s, even though this has a more modern sound and production.
Not much else to add..
Published: April 1

SECRET SPHERE: Lifeblood - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Italian band SECRET SPHERE has been around for nearly 25 years. They are well-known for creating epic European metal of the powerful and progressive kind. This new album marks the return of vocalist Roberto Messina, who fronted the band between 1997-2012. And with him they are said to go back to their classic sound, but with more energy, bombastic arrangements, and memorable choruses.
I don't know if I have to add much more than that, because it probably gives you a pretty good picture of this band's sound. But I would guess that this is more for fans of power and heavy metal than fans of nerdy prog metal. They sounds really good to me anyway.
Published: April 1

Ronnie Atkins: One Shot - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
About a year ago Danish singer Ronnie Atkins (PRETTY MAIDS, NORDIC UNION) was diagnosed with Stage 4-cancer, which is incurable. But that didn't stop him from making a solo album. And this is something that I would put in the feel good rock section. It's a softer side of melodic rock, and there's many really good songs here. The lyrics are, due to his situation, more personal and melancholy.
The album was produced by his PRETTY MAIDS bandmate Chris Laney (who also play on the album) and mixed by Jacob Hansen. Among the other musicians are: Allan Sørensen, Morten Sandager, Pontus Egberg, Anders Ringman, Pontus Norgren, Kee Marcello, Olliver Hartmann, John Berg, Linnea Vikström Egg, and Björn Strid.
Published: April 1

HEART HEALER: The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
HEART HEALER is yet another project created, overseen and directed by Serafino Perugino, President and A&R director of Frontiers Music. And it's yet another project with Swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson (PRIMAL FEAR, Magnus Kalsson's FREE FALL, The FERRYMEN, LAST TRIBE, Allen/Lande, Kiske/Somerville etc). This is more ambitious than ever though, as it's an epic metal opera with a whole orchestra and only female singers. And these singers are both up and coming as well as established: Adrienne Cowan (SEVEN SPIRES, Sascha Paeth's MASTERS OF CEREMONY, AVANTASIA), Netta Laurenne (SMACKBOUND, Laurenne/Louhimo), Youmna Jreissati (OSTURA), Ailyn (HER CHARIOT AWAITS, ex-SERENIA), Noora Louhimo (BATTLE BEAST), Margarita Monet (EDGE OF PARADISE), and Anette Olzon (The DARK ELEMENT, ex-NIGHTWISH).
The opera is about The Heart Healer, who wakes up with no memory and does not know who she is. She soon finds out that she can heal people with just a touch of her hand, but every time she does, she gets weaker. On her journey to find out who she really is, she meets new characters who want to help her, those who want her help, and those who are scared of her and start to hunt her.
No, this is hardly the first or last symphonic metal opera, but it's absolutely among the better ones that I have heard. And as you might know, I'm not always such a big fan of the more ambitious and symphonic stuff. But once in a while there's something good even there.
Published: April 1

HEAVY FEATHER: Mountain of Sugar - Album
(The Sign Records on April 9)
All classics has already been made, and it's not much of all the material that comes out today that I think will change that. But that doesn't mean that there's nothing good to listen to anymore. And if this album would have been released in the 1960s or 70s, then it's not impossible that at least 1 of the songs could have been a classic. Because this album is full of great songs.
Their music is, as you probably have figured out already, blues-based heavy rock, or what we nowadays call retro rock. And the singer reminds me a little of Janis Joplin, but less hoarse.
Fans of Swedish retro rockers like SPIDERS and BLUES PILLS should absolutely check this out.
Published: March 31

SEA OF SNAKES: World of Fire - EP
(Metal Assault on April 2)
Debut EP from a California heavy metal band, who play in the dirty and heavy league, but yet pretty catchy and energetic. Their influences includes CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, MOTÖRHEAD, The DOORS, METAL CHURCH and DOWN. And those influences are spread all over these 5 tracks.
This is a really good debut. Now I just need some beer too, and then this on highest volume. That would almost be a party you know..
Published: March 31

KARMA TO BURN: The Rabbit Hole - 12" vinyl
(H42 Records on April 2)
Most instrumental bands are really boring to listen to. But there's at least a few that are listenable. And I would say that KARMA TO BURN is one of those last bands. They deliver their heavy rock with energy, and it's pretty catchy, which makes it more fun to listen to than some Yngwie Malmsteen wannabe or the same riffs over and over again. But suddenly there is vocals in the 3 last songs - What a surprise! I really didn't expect that.
This album is a collection of B-sides, including their first demo and rare early recordings with vocals. So this is something really special for the fans.
KARMA TO BURN recorded their first demo in 1993, but it seems like it wasn't until 1995 that they finally released a 4-track demo tape. In 1997 their self titled debut album was released through Roadrunner Records. At that time they actually had a singer, Jason Jarosz, but shortly after the album was released they went seperate ways, and the band became an instrumental group instead. Jason didn't sing on the demo though, because at that time the singer was Jim Davison.
Published: March 30

MAVERICK: Ethereality - Album
(Metalapolis Records on April 1)
MAVERICK was founded in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2012 by the Balfour brothers Ryan and David. "Ethereality" is their 4th album, where they have taken the best parts from their previous albums and added that extra touch. The result is an album full of great melodic hard rock songs, that are full of heavy guitars, but yet catchy as hell. This is simply a must for fans of Swedish bands like ECLIPSE, EUROPE, CRASHDÏET and similar stuff. In other words the finest kind of melodic hard rock there is.
Published: March 30

TURBULENCE: Frontal - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Yeah, talk about turbulence.. In my brain! This progressive mess makes it feel like there's a whole amusement park in my head. And these 8 songs last for an eternity.
But even though I don't like it that much, it sounds like they are very good at what they are doing (but I guess that's pretty obvious for this kind of genre).
TURBULENCE is a progressive rock/metal band from Lebanon, founded in 2013. "Frontal" is their second album, which "incorporate compelling musical storytelling with a modern sound that fuses a bit of everything", as the band says.
Fans of prog will probably love this.
Published: March 28

Issa: Queen of the Broken Hearts - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
"Queen of the Broken Hearts" is the 6th album from Norwegian melodic rock singer Issa Oversveen, who has once again partnered with Alessandro Del Vecchio and an all-star team of musicans, like Simone Mularoni (DGM) on guitar, Andrea ToWer Torricini (VISION DIVINE) on bass, Marco Di Salvia (HARDLINE) on drums, and Del Vecchio on keys.
Well, this is not so bad. They have many good songs here, and Issa is a really good singer. I guess that with less guitars this could have been pop songs instead, but now it's not really that. Fans of melodic rock should absolutely check this out though. And who knows, maybe your pop friends (if you have any) will like this too?
Published: March 28

Gary Hughes: Waterside - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Plink, plink on the piano and lalala vocals. That beginning is a little too soft for me actually. But after about a minute it's at least a bit more action, or rather more instruments I should say. Because it's absolutely not going any faster.
British singer Gary Hughes has done 14 albums with TEN and 1 rock opera (in 2 parts). His sound has been rooted in UFO, WHITESNAKE and RAINBOW. But his solo material is more melodic, with its roots in 80s AOR and melodic rock. And this album is something in the softer league of that, but pretty o.k. (for a little while at least).
On "Waterside" (his first solo album in over a decade) he get help from his TEN bandmates Dann Rosingana (guitars) and Darrel Treece-Birch (drums), with David Rosingana appearing on bass and Karen Fell and Scott Hughes helping on background vocals.
Published: March 28

Chez Kane: Chez Kane - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
The music that this woman gives us sounds a lot like I remember it from the 80s. Very catchy and melodic rock with strong pop choruses. Every song seems to be made to be a radio friendly hit song in the mid-80s. So those of you who miss those days and the music of that time should be happy to hear this solo debut.
The young British woman Chez Kane front the band KANE'D with her 2 sisters. But here she goes solo, thanks to Danny Rexon of the Swedish hard rockers CRAZY LIXX, who has not just produced this album but also written and arranged all the songs.
And if you want some of that hit potential I was talking about, then give songs like "Rocket On The Radio", "Too Late For Love" and "Ball N' Chain" a try.
Published: March 28

T.U.R.N.: The United Rock Nations - Album
(Self released and out now)
This sounds like something American from the 80s. A little like an early GUNS N' ROSES for example. But they also take inspiration from bands like SCORPIONS, SKID ROW, DEF LEPPARD and VAN HALEN. They might not have the same hit potential, but it's damned good anyway. This is a really strong debut album!
T.U.R.N. is a international band - bassist Hammer Head, guitarist DES Samita and drummer Spencer Langley are from USA, vocalist Daniel Valberg from Sweden, and Graham Lane on guitar/keyboards comes from England. Each member has recoded their parts in seperate locations around the world, and it took 3 years to write this album.
I have already told you how good this is, so now it's time for you to check them out, o.k.?
Published: March 27

SickWalt: Shove n' Love - Album
(X-Ray Records/Golden Robot - Out now)
SickWalt comes from Astoria, Queens, New York, and formed in 2014. Mr SickWalt himself, frontman Walt Novak, has been backed by various NYC veteran musicians, such as legendary NYHC drummer Eric Arce (MISFITS, MURPHY'S LAW, SKARHEAD, MAXIMUM PENALTY), Rob Buckley (CRO-MAGS, URBAN SUN, M-16) and his band co-founder, Max Capshaw (SICK OF IT ALL, MURPHY'S LAW, H2O).
"Shove n' Love" is their first full length album, which was released last month. And these guys play an explosive and punky rock n roll mix of early AC/DC, MC5 and The STOOGES. But I can also hear DANKO JONES in some of the songs. And that just can't be bad according to me. They deliver their songs with much energy and passion, but can also take a step back once in a while. And the result is an album with variation and lots of good songs.
They know their roots, and "Punk Almighty" for example is a tribute to all the punk legends.
Published: March 27

(Contra Records/Death Exclamations Records on March 30)
Why do they begin the album with a opera cunt singing the 4 seasons? Very stupid!
But after that it's punk for all the money that you got. Or rather classic British Oi! punk with all the typical ingredients, like harsh vocals and beer choirs. But even though they sound very British to me, this band is actually from Houston, TX. And the main goal doesn't seems to be standard Oi!. They add some hardcore and rock n roll in some of the songs, which gives them their own little sound somehow.
Well, for some reason I didn't really like them the first times I heard this album. But now that I have heard it a few times, it's actually not so bad at all. So maybe you should give it a try. 14 tracks is a little too much though.
Published: March 27

THYRFING: Döp Dem i Eld - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
Swedish metal band THYRFING came to life in the constantly growing underground scene in the early 90s. They have so far released 7 albums, and are an important act in the sub-genre viking/pagan metal.
It's now 8 years since their last album was released, but now they are ready to release a new album again, which is called "Vanagandr", and will be released on August 27. And as you might have figured out, this is the first single from that album.
"Döp Dem i Eld" (Baptize Them In Fire) got all kinds of ingredients - it's powerful, heavy, aggressive, groovy and melodic. This is far away from the Finnish ompa-ompa metal that a band like FINNTROLL is playing. This is simply metal. And it's pretty good too.
Published: March 26

WHEEL: Resident Human - Album
(OMN Label Services on March 26)
WHEEL is rolling out progressive metal to alleviate your boredom. Some songs are very long - 10 and a half to 12 minutes - while others are more normal - around 4 and a half minutes. The vocals is melodic, while the guitars blend melodies and heavy riffs.
This is a typical album for fans of progressive music. But I guess that anybody who like nice melodies and vocals could like this, because it's a very kind album. However, be prepared for a musical adventure when you listen to this.
Not much else to add there..
Published: March 25

SANGUISUGABOGG: Tortured Whole - Album
(Century Media on March 26)
The good thing with a band name like that is that it's very unlikely that anybody else will have the same name. The bad thing though is that nobody will remember it, especially when the "logo" is totally unreadable. On the other hand this is not much to remember anyway.
SANGUISUGABOGG is said to mean blood sucking toilet. And some of the lyrical themes are gore, disgust and perversity among other things, often inspired by classic b-movies in the splatter genre. How this band have succeeded to get signed by a big label like Century Media Records is a mystery to me (I have read that the A&R hated them first, but for some weird reason he changed his mind).
What about the sound then' Sludgy death metal or down-tuned drug death as they call it. Sometimes blast beat fast, sometimes doom heavy. I don't like that tin sound on one of the drums, and I'm not such a big fan of that cookie monster vocals. So most of these songs are actually not so good.
I would guess that a band like this doesn't have the most intelligent people among their fans. So I guess it's important to say that this is done just for fun, and should not be taken too seriously. It's just 4 guys with sick humor that like to play extreme metal.
The band comes from Ohio, and is said to be a MUNICIPAL WASTE of death metal. They have previously released a EP, "Pornographic Seizures", in 2019.
Published: March 25

CRYPTOSIS: Bionic Swarm - Album
(Century Media on March 26)
This Dutch trio was formerly know as old school thrashers DISTILLATOR in the European underground scene. Now they have decided to start all over again with the new name CRYPTOSIS. Why you might ask? Well, I guess they thought that the sound of these new songs was so different from what they did before, so they simply wanted a new fresh start.
And then your next question is if it actually is that different? Yeah, it's hardly the classic old school thrash sound that we get here. They have rather created their own wild sound, with a blend of blackened death, progressive thrash and symphonic metal. If I should try to compare them with a other group, then I would say TRIBULATION. Not that this is the same, but it might give you a better idea at least.
Then comes your third question I suppose: Is it any good then? Well, I would say that it's actually not so bad. The main ingredient still seems to be thrash metal, but in a new and different way. You should give it a try.
Published: March 25

OXIDIZE: Dark Confessions - Album
(WormHoleDeath Records - Out now)
Swedish band OXIDIZE was started in the spring of 2017. The members have experience from other bands, like ARCTIC VOID, WINGS OF DESTINY, CRYSTAL EYES, BRASSMONKEY etc. I think they are from the same area, or near, where I live (Borås), but I actually don't know much else about them. This seems to be their debut album as OXIDIZE anyway.
What they deliver is a powerful but yet melodic kind of heavy metal, and I really like what I hear on this album. Yes, all 12 tracks are fantastic! So you simply have to ckeck this out.
Published: March 24

IRIDESCENT DUNE: Kingdom Of Me - Single
(Self released - Out now)
IRIDESCENT DUNE is a 1-man band with Charlie Murphy, who follow his own path when it comes to metal music. This is mainly thrash metal though, but with elements of all and nothing. It would surprise me a lot if this song suddenly would become a hit in the metal underground, becuse it's actually so odd that I don't really know how to describe it. Not totally bad though.
So if you want to know what this song really sounds like, then you better listen for yourself.
Published: March 24

CORPORATE CONTROL: Whatever It Takes - Album
(Perris Records - Out now)
The German Marcus Boeltz formed CORPORATE CONTROL in 2019 together with the Americans Paul Sabu (Alice Cooper, John Walte) and Barry Sparks (Yngwie Malmsteen, SCORPIONS, DOKKEN). Now their debut album is here, which gives us a healthy dose of AOR/melodic rock. You can hear the past, even though the sound is modern. They also use some unusual instruments for the genre, like sitar, madolin and cello.
The songs are catchy and good, so this is something that you should try. And I just don't know what else I should say.
Published: March 24

ALTA REIGN: Mother's Day - Album
(Rat Pak Records - Out now)
Drummer Jeff Plate (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA (aka TSO), SAVATAGE, ex-METAL CHURCH) has teamed up with keybordist Jane Mangini (TSO) and some other people. Their debut album, "Mother's Day", was released in January this year, and is the end result of 30 years of writing, listening, learning, planning and waiting for the right moment to put this all together.
The music that we get is an interesting combination of melodic, progressive, hard rock and straight up metal. And this is performed by very good musicians. Most of these 13 tracks are good, so there's not much to complain about.
Published: March 24

1782: From The Graveyard - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records on March 26)
"From The Graveyard" is the second full length of the occult doom trio 1782, where they give us 8 tracks in 43 minutes. It's slow and dark, but with a powerful sound. A big minus is that they sometimes repeat the same riffs for way too long. But otherwise they are pretty o.k.
1782 formed in December 2018. The name of the group was taken in honor of all the "witches" murdered by the bigoted minds of many generations. It didn't take long before they entered the studio (Jan. 2019) to record their first single. And already next month they recorded their first full length album, which was released in May 2019. A split album with ACID MAMMOTH was released in 2020.
Published: March 23

MARASMUS: Necrotic Overlord - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records on March 26)
MARASMUS are hardly doing anything wrong here, but they are neither the best or the worst death metal band that I have heard. They are just lurking around somewhere in the middle. Some people will probably love this though.
The band features members of UNMERCIFUL, and they play US death metal (they are from Kansas City). It's a lot of riffing and intense drumming. The vocals is harsh and raw. It reminds me of a bulldozer which crushes everything in its way. Yet there's some kind of melody in all the noise, so it's not just chaos.
If you like it fast and brutal, then give this a try. It will probably make you bang your head so hard that you will get a whiplash.
Published: March 23

GRILLIJONO K.O.: Napalmia Korville - Album
(Inverse Records/Secret Entertainment on March 26)
This Finnish band is playing energetic rock while the singer is screaming like he would have been a member of some classic Finnish hardcore/punk band from the 80s. Result: Turborock. That's what they call their music anyway. But I think it sounds like punk rock in the same style as TURBONEGRO's classic album "Ass Cobra". They might not have the same hit potential as the Norwegians used to have, but this is absolutely not bad anyway.
If I should describe their sound a bit closer, then you could say that it's a combination of different elements of punk rock and metal, and even some melodic pop music. Bands like KVELERTAK, The HELLACOPTERS, GLUECIFER and SLAYER have all had an impact on their sound. All lyrics are in Finnish.
GRILLIJONO K.O. has previously released a EP and some singles, but "Napalmia Korville" is their first full length album.
Published: March 23

GRANDE ROYALE: Carry On - Album
(The Sign Records on March 26)
The first song reminds me of TURBONEGRO in the late 90s, but it's mainly The HELLACOPTERS around the same time that the other songs reminds me of. In other words really good stuff if you ask me (which you do as you read this). The songs are filled with adrenaline, and at the same time damned catchy. More or less every song out of these 11 tracks are great, so there's not much to doubt when it comes to this album. Just get it!
"Carry On" is the fifth full length from these Swedish rockers. We also get guest vocals from Dregen (BACKYARD BABIES, The HELLACOPTERS) on "Just as Bad as You".
Published: March 23

IRONBOURNE: Ironbourne - Album
(Pure Steel Records on March 26)
The members of IRONBOURNE are from Ludvika, Sweden, and have been playing in various bands through the years. Since 2019 it's IRONBOURNE that is the band, and this is their debut album.
The years of playing in other bands can be heard, and it's most of all the early heavy metal and NWOBHM that you can hear here. So fans of that should be interested, because this is really good. All 9 songs are really strong.
A song that stand out from the rest is "Varsel", which is the only song in Swedish. Would be nice with some more songs in Swedish in the future.
Published: March 22


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