REVIEWS 2021 - Page 2

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George Tsalikis: Return To Power - Album
(Pure Steel Records on March 26)
American singer George Tsalikis was a member of GOTHIC KNIGHTS in the early to mid-90s, and after that the founding member of ZANDELLE. His first solo album, "The Sacrifice", was released in 2016. And now he return with a new album in the best US metal/power metal style. This will most likely remind you of the sound of the 80s/90s, and it's damned good.
George take care of all vocals, guitars, bass, keyboard and piano, while a Joe (Jofu) Cardillo beat on the drums.
Published: March 22

DISTANT PAST: The Final Stage - Album
(Pure Steel Publishing on March 26)
DISTANT PAST was first active as a studio project between 2002-2016, and comes from Switzerland. Somewhere along the way it became a real band (I guess?), even though with different members now and then. Founders and leaders Adriano (bass and conception) and Jvo (vocals) - both from EMERALD - have always been there though, and they have previously released 3 albums.
Now they are here again with yet another lineup and a new album, "The Final Stage". What we get is a pretty traditional, but catchy, kind of heavy metal. And this is not bad. Fans of NWOBHM and similar stuff from the 80s should be happy to hear this.
Published: March 22

Devin Townsend: Devolution Series #1 - Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds - Album
(InsideOut Music - Out now)
Well, that must be one of the most boring and lengthy intros. So useless, so boring. But Devin Townsend is obviously not like everybody else, so I'm not surprised. And being different isn't always something negative. This intro is still very useless though.
Usually it gets better after the intro. But in this case it's hard to tell when the intro is over, as the whole album sounds like an eternal intro. That's how soft and laidback this is. But I guess it works fine as an alternative lullaby. Well, as long as his playing anyway. Because when he is talking he always try to be funny, and then you will hardly fall asleep (and he actually is funny once in a while). It also happens that his crazy side comes alive, like in "Love?" for example.
This is absolutely something different from what I'm used to hear from this man. It use to be wild and unexpected. But not here. He just play gently on his guitar and sing very softly, with very few exceptions. Somehow it's not bad, but it makes me tired.
So, the story behind this album is that former STRAPPING YOUNG LAD guitarist Devin Townsend will release a series of live and quarantine albums during 2021 and 2022, where he will give us "oddities and interesting material" as he call it himself. And the first one out is a remixed and remastered version of "Live in Leeds", which was originally on the "Empath" Ultimate Edition (2020). The concert was recorded in April 2019.
Published: March 21

ZITTER: Tick Tock - Album
(Vulture Nest Productions - Out now)
I actually think that I have reviewed this Swedish hard rockers before many years ago. I could not find those CDs (yes, that long ago) though, so I guess that speak for itself. Then it was a plastic and trapped sound, and the songs was not that good either. Now it's much better though, both sound and songs. Sure, it might not be any super hits this time either, but some of these songs are to my surprise really good, so I will actually keep this.
How do I describe their sound then? Maybe something like fuzzy guitars and heavy bass mixed with instruments from computer software. Powerful and catchy hard rock, sometimes with a touch of punk. They definitely have their own unique sound, that's for sure.
This album was released last year, and was their second release in 2020.
Published: March 21

CELESTIAL SANCTUARY: Soul Diminished - Album
(Redefining Darkness Records in North America/Church Road Records in Europe on March 26)
This is a pretty new death metal band from London, UK, who formed in late 2019. The band is named after a song by BOLT THROWER, but see themselves as leaders of the New Wave Of British Death Metal (NWOBDM). CELESTIAL SANCTUARY are a feral, primal and modern death metal band with their own message about the destructive nature of humankind. But there is of course influences of the old school too.
"Soul Diminished" is an o.k. album, but not much else. They are heavier than the death bands that I like. I want more energy! Sure, they have their faster parts too here and there, but those are too few for me. That doesn't mean that you won't like them, so give them a try if you want to.
Published: March 21

BYRON: The Omega Evangelion - Album
(Goatmancer Records on March 26)
BYRON was founded in Finland in 2019 as a 1-man studio project. But it has now grown to a full band, who mix their melodic heavy metal with influences from various genres, such as occult rock and doom for example. The lineup features former members of CHURCH OF VOID, HORNA and BATTLELORE.
Well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with these 8 tracks. They are simply doing a great job, and the songs are really good. The female singer is giving it all she got, and add that extra touch to it. But there's also some male vocals here and there, which add variation.
Published: March 21

WINDING ROAD: Winding Road - Album
(AOR Heaven on March 26)
The story of WINDING ROAD began in 2018, when Magnus Åkerlund (BLENDER) and Jan Hedlund (COASTLINE, EAGLE DOWN) met up to write some music together. Both had played in numerous bands and different genres through the years. But their true passion was melodic rock and AOR. So they started to work on some songs in that style, and was soon joined by Jan's old friend Jonas Tyskhage (INCARDINE, SOXITY, YO MOTHERFUCKER, BITCHES BREW) on vocals. They also asked Jonas childhood friend Fredrik Folkare (UNLEASHED, FIRESPAWN, NECROPHOBIC, ECLIPSE) to do some guest guitar, and he did solos on 2 of the songs.
What these guys created was guitar-driven melodic rock with plenty of synths and a strong focus on the melodies. And the result can be found on this self titled debut album, which is just as great as any other album in this genre. Check out!
Published: March 20

STRANGER VISION: Poetica - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on March 26)
More power metal from Pride & Joy Music. And sure, it's good. But 15 tracks? Way too much at once.
STRANGER VISION is a pretty new band, who was founded in May 2019. Their vision is a sound that have a strong focus on melodies and harmonies, plus a powerful and rich sound. Their influences comes from melodic and symphonic power metal. And on this debut album they have guests like singer Fabio Dessi (ARTHEMIS, HOLLOW HAZE), singer Alessia Scolletti (TEMPERANCE), guitarist Guido Benedetti (TRICK OR TREAT), singer Alessandro Conti (TRICK OR TREAT, TWILIGHT FORCE, Luca Turilli's RHAPSODY) and Zak Stevens (SAVATAGE, TSO, CIRCLE II CIRCLE).
Even though they have a little too many tracks on this record, it's absolutely not crap. Most songs are great here, so I can just wish them good luck in the future.
Published: March 20

Stephen Crane: Kicks - Album reissue
(AOR Heaven on March 26)
This sounds so 80s that it's almost silly. It has the exact same sound that they had back then, when it comes to melodic rock anyway, which this man is playing. And this is actually a re-release of Stephen Crane's (ex-BABY) solo debut from 1984. So no wonder that it sounds like it do. It's not bad at all though. This is very good stuff. He also succeed to have a variated material, with both softer and harder songs. This is absolutely worth checking out.
The album was produced by Jai Winding (LA ROUX, MOLLY HATCHET, CHEAP TRICK, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT), who also played keys, and Steve Lukather (TOTO). Fact is that all members of TOTO were involved here, including Jeff Porcaro on drums. Among the other players are Richard Page (MR. MISTER, PAGES) and Tom Kelly (I-TEN, Van Stephenson, SURVIVOR, Madonna, Whitney Houston) on backing vocals, as well as session guitar players like Duane Sciacqua (Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey), Joey Brasier and Ray Pannell. Crane himself take care of both bass and vocals.
This is mainly a guitar driven album, but with a radio friendly sound. That I have never heard of this album before is a mystery. Another mystery to me is why they will just make 500 CDs of this fantastic album.
Published: March 20

SILENT WINTER: Empire of Sins - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on March 26)
Oh shit, this was really good! Classic power metal that reminds me of the happy 80s and classic acts like IRON MAIDEN and HELLOWEEN for example. Yes, it all start so good that it could have been highest point here. But then they end the whole thing with a cover of a pop song by Belinda Carlisle, "Leave A Light On". Not the most useless pop song that's been made, but they lose at least 1 point by doing that song. Which isen't the whole wide world. This is still an extremely strong album.
SILENT WINTER was originally formed in the mid-90s, in a city called Volos in central Greece. They released 2 demo tapes and did some gigs before they became silent. But in 2018 the group was reformed with some new members, and they released a 5-track EP, which was followed by their debut album, "The Circles of Hell", in May 2019.
For their second full length, "Empire of Sins", they have signed with Pride & Joy Music, and are ready for the world.
Published: March 20

PARIS: 50/50 - Album
(AOR Heaven on March 26)
PARIS is 2 guys who have been best friends since they were kids. Both started to play guitar at the age of 15, influenced by 80s bands like SCORPIONS, IRON MAIDEN and DEF LEPPARD. A few years later, one of them switch to keyboard instead.
Their first album as PARIS came out in 2013, and was followed by another album in 2016.
Their new album, "50/50", is a candy bag of melodic rock/AOR, which should please everyone with a taste for that. Think of acts like CREYE, FIND ME, NEWMAN, TOTO, JOURNEY and WORK OF ART for example - That's the sound of PARIS.
Published: March 20

MEZMORIA: Oily Halls - Single
(Self released - Out now)
"Oily Halls" is the second single from Swedish metal project MEZMORIA. The band was first founded back in 2006 though, but after years of writing and recording life intervened, and the project was put on ice.
The members comes from various bands like CREYE, HAGWATER, ENBOUND, CHUGGER and QANTICE. Their music is best described as melodic progressive metal. And this is something that you really should check out, because this sounds damned good.
Published: March 20

SLAVES TO FASHION: The History of Heavy Metal - Album
(Self released - Out now)
Yes, this Norwegian band have actually made an album with just what the title says: "The History of Heavy Metal". Well, when it comes to the music at least. They start in 1970, go through New Wave of British Heavy Metal, thrash metal, doom metal and black metal to alternative rock/grunge, progressive metal, power metal, NU metal and different kinds of modern metal. And this is not a covers album, but their own original material.
A funny concept, but the songs are not so bad either. Extreme metal and modern metal is probably not what they use to play though. But among the better songs here are "1970", "The Priest of Maidenhead", "Sex, Drugs & Rock 'N' Roll", "Thrash of the Titans", "Garden of Chains" and "The Power of Metal". So around half of the songs then.
SLAVES TO FASHION comes from Haugesund in Norway, and released their first album, "Crossing Over", in 2007 under the name P.O.B. In 2011 they released a progressive metal album, "Artistic Differences", as SLAVES TO FASHION. After that they released 2 singles of modern metal, before they went on hiatus in 2014. Now they are back again, obviously, to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of heavy metal.
Published: March 19

SKOLD: Dies Irae - Album
(Cleopatra Records - Out now)
Tim Skold with Doctor Midnight And The Mercy Cult at Getaway Rock in 2011
Tim Sköld comes from Sweden, but has been living in the States for many years (or maybe both Sweden and USA?). He has been a member of bands like MARILYN MANSON, KMFDM, SHOTGUN MESSIAH and the short lived Hank Von Hell project DOCTOR MIDNIGHT & THE MERCY CULT. He has also produced MARILYN MANSON and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE.
In his better moments he reminds me of a time when his old band mate Marilyn Manson still was good. So some kind of industrial goth metal/rock is my description to this. And it's actually not so bad at all. Some songs are even really good after a few listenings. Because this is not just industrial noise, but actually pretty catchy metal songs. It's often dark, but sometimes it's also emotional. You have to give it a try!
Now I have not heard any of his previous albums, so I can't compare this one with any of them. But it's said that this is his most aggressive album to date.
Published: March 19

SKARLETT RIOT: Stronger - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
"Stronger" is the third and last single from their upcoming new album, "Invicta", which will be released on May 7. And they continue to deliver powerful riffs and catchy melodies, which they top with attitude. This is a modern metal band that have nothing to be ashamed of, because this is a very good song with a strong chorus.
Published: March 19

SAGA: Symmetry - Album
(earMUSIC - Out now)
In 2012 Canadian progressive rock veterans SAGA reunited with their original singer Michael Sadler, and this is their 23rd album, which is an all acoustic story.
I remember that this band was a little famous in the 80s, but after listening to these acoustic versions of their songs I'm actually not really sure why. And I should at least reconize 1 or 2 of the songs, but nothing sounds familiar here. To me it's more or less the same melodic and progressive stew all the time. There's nothing that stands out.
I'm pretty sure that old fans of the band will like this though. But people who like progressive rock seems to be a little different.
Published: March 19

INIQUITY: Five Across The Eyes - Album reissue
(Emanzipation Productions on March 26)
"Five Across The Eyes" is the second album from Copenhagen, Denmark based death metallers INIQUITY. It was originally released in 1999, but will now be re-released.
The band formed already in 1989. They released 2 demo tapes and participated on several compilations before their debut album, "Serenadium", was released in 1996. It was followed by a MCD, "The Hidden Lore", in 1998. It's said that when their second album was released, it "shocked, amazed and scared the entire death metal scene with its amazingly brutal grinding parts, its gloomy mood and its technical approach".
Well, this is not yet another old school album in the traditional Swedish way, but a brutal and technical experience instead.
The band split up in 2003, but reunited in 2012.
Published: March 18

ELECTRIC BOYS: Tumblin' Dominoes - Single
(Mighty Music on March 19)
Electric Boys at Holmens Rock
A new album with Swedish hard rockers ELECTRIC BOYS will be released on April 30, and that's where this song comes from. "Tumblin' Dominoes" is among the better songs from a middle album (more about that in April). It's a softer, yet catchy rock song. Absolutely worth listening to.
Not much else to add there..
Published: March 18

NORTHMAAN: Northmaan - Album
(Devfire Entertainment on March 26)
This is the debut album from NORTHMAAN, which was recorded, produced and mixed by solo artist Jayce Lewis, who comes from the most northern part of UK. He has previously written and worked with such various artists as QUEEN, Gary Numan, ACID REIGN, Robyn and FEAR FACTORY. He is also a member of former FEAR FACTORY frontman Burton C. Bell's ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS.
NORTHMAAN's blend of industrial, doom and goth culminates in a dark metal frustration. It's hard and heavy, but without losing the sense of the melody. Most of these 6 tracks are really good stuff.
Published: March 18

AZIOLA CRY: The Ironic Divide - Album
(Sensory on March 26)
AZIOLA CRY is an instrumental trio from Illinois. Their debut album, "Ellipsis", was released in 2005, and was followed by "Ghost Conversations" in 2007. Since then it has been silent, but now they are back again with a new record. And it's said to be their heaviest and most intricate work yet.
4 songs that last between 6:39-21:06 minutes is what we get here. Not so funny, but on the other hand not the worst instrumental band. The music is best described as heavy/psych rock I guess. So if you like that and have nothing against no vocals, then you can always give this a chance to see (or hear) if you might like it.
Published: March 18

HOUND: I Know My Enemies - Album
(Metalville Records on March 26)
HOUND formed in 2014 to breath new life into the sound of old school hard rock. After 2 EPs they released their debut album, "Settle Your Scores", in 2018.
The new album, "I Know My Enemies", is said to be their catchiest and at the same time most versatile work to date. Classic hard rock is combined with elements of funk, blues, punk and psych. And that might sound like a mess, but if you listen before you judge, then you will hear that this is mainly a hard rock album that friends of the sound of the 70s should like.
Not bad at all..
Published: March 16

KÄRBHOLZ: Kontra. - Album
(Metalville on March 26)
KÄRBHOLZ is said to be one of the most successful German speaking rock bands of the last 10 years. The band was formed in 2003 by 4 guys from the tranquil Ruppichteroth (a small town near Cologne), and their music contains influences from rock, punk and indie. The band and their fans call it full throttle rock n roll.
The songs on this album are more untamed, riff heavier and louder than their previous album, "Herz & Verstand" (2019). But they also go back to their early albums, which was more punk rock (if I got it right). So many of these songs are actually punk rock according to me.
They have many good songs here, but 13 tracks is a little too much (as always).
Published: March 16

VARDE: Asgaardsreien - Album reissue
(Nordvis Produktion on March 26)
Norwegian trio VARDE was founded in 2017, and made their first mark on the world with the self released EP "Asgaardsreien". Now these 2 songs in 23 minutes will be re-released.
The title track is as long as 17:24 minutes, while the second is 5:37. They are mainly inspired by the local bands from the 90s, but spice it with some folk music too. It's mainly a powerful and icy sound though, so it's more black than folk.
The song "Asgaardsreien" is o.k., but I think it's too long. I like "Koll Med Bilen (Del II)" better.
Published: March 16

The QUILL: Earthrise - Album
(Metalville Records on March 26)
This is the 9th studio album from this Swedish heavy rock band, and the first since 2017s "Born From Fire". The band was really on fire this time, with almost 20 songs completed and recorded. Out of those songs we get 9 tracks on this album.
The music is hard and heavy, but yet extremely catchy and energetic. There's also room for melodies. The influences comes from all kinds of places though, and the quality is very high here. You should not get bored when you listen to this masterpiece.
Today's lineup of the band features original singer Magnus Ekwall (AYREON, MOUNTAIN OF POWER), drummer Jolle Atlagic (ELECTRIC BOYS, HANOI ROCKS, FIREBIRD), guitarist Christian Carlsson (CIRCUS PRÜTZ) and bassist Roger Nilsson (SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, FIREBIRD, ARCH ENEMY).
Fans of heavy hard rock, stoner rock and similar genres should absolutely check this out.
Published: March 16

GRORR: Ddulden's Last Fight - Album
(ViciSolum Productions on March 26)
After something like almost half a minute there's some sounds at last. But what we get is some silent Celtic/medieval stuff, which last for another 2 minutes. And after that they start to play for real. Not that that help much as their music is very boring. Simply because it's just too much for my brain.
GRORR is a French band, formed in 2005. Their music is a mess of progressive, math, rock and metal, which features traditional instruments from all around the world. They released a EP and 3 albums between 2008-2014. In 2020 they were back again with the 2-track release "II", and now a new album is here, which is a concept album paying homage to the classics of adventure movies' original soundtracks.
This is mainly a pretty calm album, even though there is electric guitars and all that. But the music is very complicated, and pretty difficult to grasp. So if you like advanced music, then try this. Otherwise avoid.
Published: March 16

Christian Liljegren: Melodic Passion - Album
(Melodic Passion Records on March 26)
When you can't play with the boys but still want to rock, then you can always go solo like this man, who is most well-known from bands like NARNIA, DIVINEFIRE, The WAYMAKER, AUDIOVISION and GOLDEN RESURRECTION, to name a few of them all. He has 35 years of experience as a hard rock and metal singer, and has been involved in nearly 40 albums.
He has also done a couple of albums in Swedish under his own name, but on this album he sing in English though, and get some help from people like Stephen Carlson (BROTTHOGG, TALES, The RISE, Gil Edwards), Olov Andersson (AUDIOVISION, GRAND STAND, VENI DOMINE), Andreas Johansson (NARNIA, ROYAL HUNT, AVATARIUM, DOOMSDAY KINGDOM, Rob Rock), Per Schelander (HOUSE OF SHAKIRA, ASTRAKHAN, ROYAL HUNT, PAIN OF SALVATION).
"Melodic Passion" is just what the title says, an album filled with passion for melodic hard rock and metal. Everybody is doing a great job here, and the songs are just as good as anything from the bands that Christian has been working with through the years. So in other words a top album and a must in your collection.
Published: March 16

ILDSKÆR: Paa Dækket Kalder De Døde - EP
(Wolfspell Records on March 22)
This is a new black metal project from Denmark, founded in 2020 to bring you tales of Danish conflicts and mournful losses throughout times.
These 3 songs are between 7 and a half to 10 and a half minutes long, so this is almost a full length actually. But if they want it to be an EP, I won't stop them.
"Paa Dækket Kalder De Døde" continues the story from their previous release. It covers the dire situation which Denmark-Norway found itself in the wake of the British theft of the Dano-Norwegian fleet, the grueling subsequent Gunboat war and the tragic fate of the last ship-of-the-line, "Prinds Christian Frederik".
The music is fast and raw, just like black metal should be. They might not be the best band on this planet, but far away from the worst crap. So I guess that this is not so bad anyway.
The release date, March 22, is the 213th anniversary of the battle of Sjællands Odde (Sealand Point).
Published: March 15

Femte Vinylen: Straight Outta Rockholm - Compilation
(Mats Andersson Communication - Out now)
This double CD is full of all kinds of rock from the Swedish small town Katrineholm, where the rock association Drag Utan Drog was started in 1980. Bands were started, concerts were booked with bands from all over Sweden, as well as some foreign artists. The town got the nickname "Rockholm". Drag Utan Drog also released 4 compilation LPs: "Första Vinylen", "Andra Vinylen", "3:an" and "Quattro".
Now it's time for the 40-year anniversary, and they have found some previously unreleased recordings with the bands, which they have collected on 2 CDs (there's also a LP with some of the songs). A total of 41 tracks spread over a wide range of genres, mainly some kind of rock though. Some songs were recorded in a studio, while others were recorded live to a tape recorder, and some of the material is re-recordings.
An interesting dive into the music of the 80s, and most of all a time capsule. Some of this material is just crap, but most of it is actually pretty good stuff. I would guess that many others won't be as kind as me though, and will probably think that this is just a bunch of amateurs. Well, then this is not for you.
Published: March 15

SHINY DAGGERS: Devil Inside - EP
(Emanzipation Productions on March 19)
Really fast boys. It reminds me a little of the only album I have with DARKTHRONE, "The Cult Is Alive", even though this is not so punk and much faster. The sound is something similar at least, and this is just as good as that album.
These songs are ice cold and raw as the bloody winter. Simply brutal as fuck. But yet the most interesting black metal band in a long time.
I don't know much about this band, but this 2-track EP will be released on 12" vinyl at least.
Published: March 14

MartYriuM: Lamia Satanica - Album
(Art Gates Records on March 19)
This is a extreme metal band from Malta, who was formed back in 1999. They have their own little mixture, as they blend black and death metal with sinister orchestrations and industrial elements. This gives them their own unique sound, which is aggressive and theatrical, as well as dark and occult. The songs are fast and symphonic at the same time, and are constantly moving forward. It's also extremely hard and brutal.
With this album they introduce the new singer Sandra Misanthrope. Now I'm not sure if I have heard this band before, so I can't compare her with their previous singer. But Sandra is doing a great job here, no doubt about that.
Published: March 14

DAWN AHEAD: Fallen Anthems - Album
(Art Gates Records on March 19)
DAWN AHEAD was founded between 2012-2014. Their first self titled 5-track EP was released in April 2014. 4 years later, the 6-track EP "A Trip Of Violence" was released, which was much more aggressive than the first EP. And now they felt that they were ready for their first full length album, "Fallen Anthems".
The vocals is both clean and harsh, while the music have elements of classic thrash metal and modern metal. But they also throw in a pinch of progressive metal and some death metal. This album has a little bit of everything. It's hard and heavy, fast and brutal, yet catchy and almost melodic too. I'm actually not really sure if I should call it thrash metal or just metal.
Published: March 14

RONIN: Ronin - Album
(Self released - Out now)
RONIN comes from New York, and consist of 4 guys who grew up in the 90s/early 2000s. They wanted to rock hard, and were tired of soft and weak, pop-infused rock from that time. So they formed a band called RONIN, and now their debut album is here.
What we get is 8 tracks of some kind of modern/alternative hard rock/metal. Which they deliver with energy and enthusiasm. It's hard and heavy, yet melodic. Not bad.
A wild guess is that fans of 90s METALLICA and possibly a more modern act like VOLBEAT could like this (they are not as melodic and whining as I think VOLBEAT are though).
Published: March 13

OLDE: Pilgrimage - Album
(Seeing Red Records in North America/Sludgelord Records in Europe on March 19)
Hard and heavy. I think of ENTOMBED during their so called death n roll-era, but with more groove metal and heaviness. This Canadian band play sludge/doom though, and neither death n roll or groove metal. There's no doubt that they are heavy though. But there's also some melodies and rock n roll in the brew.
"Pilgrimage" is OLDE's third album, which consist of 8 tracks. We also get guest solos from "Chewy" Daniel Mongrain (VOIVOD) and Nichol S. Robertson.
This is a really good album that everybody who like it heavy should check out.
Published: March 13

24/7 DIVA HEAVEN: Stress - Album
(Noisolution on March 19)
24/7 DIVA HEAVEN comes from Berlin, Germany, but sounds like they would be from USA during the 90s. It's a mixture of Riot Grrrl, punk and grunge. Or alternative rock with lots of punk attitude, if you prefer that description instead. Think of American bands like HOLE and L7 for example, but with their own twist. Fuzzy and heavy riffs are backed up by catchy hooks and melodies. Some songs are wild and loud, while others are more calm. It also happens that we get both sides in the same song.
Feminism, inequality, homophobia, racism, xenophobia and ecological problems are important issues to the band, but never without a good dose of having fun.
24/7 DIVA HEAVEN has previously released a EP, "Superslide", in 2018 (which was good). "Stress" is their full length debut. And these 3 women have made a great album with lots of variation. Absolutely worth checking out!
Published: March 12

COSMIC REAPER: Cosmic Reaper - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records on March 19)
Yet another really heavy band. COSMIC REAPER comes from Charlotte, North Carolina, and this is their debut album, where we get a mixture of 70s psych, prog and modern doom. This is topped with sci-fi oriented lyrics.
Heavy and fuzzy harmonies are mixed with crushing riffs - All on highest volume (of course). Sometimes there's long instrumental parts and too much of the same thing over and over again.
People who like everything that is heavy will probably love this.
Published: March 12

The BOTTLE DOOM LAZY BAND: 2005-2020 Doom Over The Years - Album
(Sleeping Church Records on March 19)
When you can' play live you can either start working on a new album or release some old material (live recording, best of, demo collection) again. You can also make a covers album like SAXON for example. The BOTTLE DOOM LAZY BAND choose to release an album with live songs, recorded over the past 15 years at several gigs.
This French band is really heavy! Think about the legendary doom bands and add some extra lead. It's loud and low-tuned, yet epic somehow and absolutely not bad at all. Finally a heavy band that doesn't suck!
The group has released 3 records during 15 years, which they have picked 10 songs from for this live album.
Published: March 12

MIDNITE CITY: Atomic - Single
(Roulette Media - Out now)
MIDNITE CITY is a British band playing what is called hair metal, which in this case is a catchy and melodic kind of sleaze/glam hard rock, and not so much metal. On May 28 they will release their third album, "Itch You Can't Scratch". And that's where this song comes from, which is the second out of 3 singles that will be released before the album is released.
This is a very good party anthem that you should check out at once.
Published: March 11

(Revenge of Eve Records - Out now)
Why is it suddenly called HELLZ ABYSS instead of just HELLZ, as it was called before? Because this is the exact same elegant lady who released singles as HELLZ. Well, it seems like it was when she met musician/writer/producer Daryl "Abyss" Holden that it became HELLZ ABYSS instead of just HELLZ. And the debut album "N1FG" is the result of their co-operation.
This album is something different from those singles somehow. This has some kind of dark and heavy element of industrial in many of the songs, which I find hard to like. An exception is "Faith", "Waste of Time" and a couple more, which is more like good old hard rock and the singles I was talking about. Much better.
Lisa Perry, aka Hellz, left her home in Sydney, Australia 2 years ago, and ended up in Ohio, USA with a producer who promised her the whole wide world. But things didn't really go as planned, so the dream became a nightmare instead. She returned back home, and started to write some new songs already on the flight. When she came home she met Daryl, and they started to co-operate.
Published: March 11

DEAD SUN: Night Terrors - Album
(Xtreem Music on March 16)
DEAD SUN was formed in 1996 by members of TERMINAL GRIP (later renamed to PAGANIZER), and released 4 demos until 2005. This is actually one of the first bands with the legendary Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER, PUTREVORE, REVOLTING, The GROTESQUERY, RIBSPREADER etc etc). In 2013 the band woke up from its sleep, and released their debut album. A few more records has been released since then.
This band play death metal, but with a dose of groove, melody and almost dark goth like cathiness at times. It's said to be similar to FURBOWL's debut, and among the other influences are EDGE OF SANITY, ENTOMBED, early AMORPHIS and early CEMETARY.
Well, one thing is for sure: If you like old school death metal, then you should like DEAD SUN too. Because even though they have their own twist, the main ingredient is the good old stuff.
Published: March 11

(Flyktsoda/Phobia Records/Dark Elk/Talk With Your Boots on March 12, Digital via Cramada on March 26)
2 Swedish hardcore/punk bands deliver 3 songs each. DENY is a band that I have heard a few times before, while CHØRNOBYL was a new band to me. Both bands are doing a really good job here, there's no doubt about that. So this is really worth checking out if you're into d-beat, crust etc. You won't regret it.
This actually makes me think of the sound of the 90s, when there were lots of these bands here in Sweden.
DENY sing in English, while CHØRNOBYL sing in Swedish.
Published: March 11

ENFORCED: Kill Grid - Album
(Century Media on March 12)
ENFORCED was formed in Richmond, Virginia in 2017 out of shreds of disbanded hardcore and punk bands. In this band it's crossover that is the music though, or "pure crossover death" as they call it themselves. More precisely a mixture of thrash metal, punk, death metal and hardcore. They have previously released 2 demos and 1 album.
This mixture is of course in the extreme league, but is probably something that can unite both metal heads and punks in a wild moshpit. And these 9 tracks are not so bad, so I think you should give them a try.
Published: March 10

AMAMMOTH: The Fire Above - Album
(Electric Valley Records on March 19)
Well, you think that you have downloaded something interesting for review, and then it turns out that it's just another shit heavy band who play the same damned thing all the time. And the "singer" is not much of a singer. In the first track he just scream something here and there, and then it's instrumental again - Totally useless! The songs last for 4:10 to 7:39 minutes.
In the other songs the singer is singing some more though, with a harsh voice (no beauty singing here). The music is just as heavy though, but just a little bit better than that first track.
AMAMMOTH is a sludge/stoner metal band from Sydney, Australia. They have been active for a couple of years, and this is their debut LP.
Published: March 10

ANGSTSKRIG feat. Attila Vörös: Skyggespil - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
Danish black metallers ANGSTSKRIG has released their second single, which features a guest apperance from Attila Vörös (SATYRICON, NEVERMORE). "Skyggespil" is not just the title of this song, but also the title of their upcoming debut album, which will be released on May 28.
This is a raw song, but actually not so fast. Not really heavy either, but brutal enough to be black metal anyway. Maybe not the most interesting song, but not bad. I don't know if that gives you any idea of their sound..
Published: March 10

STORMWIND: Reflections - Album reissue
(Black Lodge Records on March 19)
It's already 20 years since this album was originally released in 2001. The album features members that are or have been active in acts like THERION, Yngwie Malmsteen, CANDLEMASS, ROYAL HUNT, DIONYSOS, W.A.S.P. etc. This new edition also includes 2 bonus tracks, and will also be available on vinyl for the first time.
Swedish band STORMWIND released 7 albums between 1996 to 2004. Their music is a melodic kind of power metal that fans of Yngwie Malmsteen should like a lot. They really had taste for good melodies and how to make fantastic songs, no doubt about that.
Published: March 9

TERRORENTIAL: Visions - Album
(Self released on March 15)
TERRORENTIAL comes from Sydney, Australia, and was formed in 2010 by 2 high school friends. For years they would jam songs by CHILDREN OF BODOM, METALLICA and CARCASS, before they finally started to write their own material. They have through the years released several EPs, but now it's time for their first full length.
The music that these guys deliver is a fat doze of thrash/death metal. And they have obviously done their homework, because most of these 11 tracks are really good stuff. They are good musicians, and there's variation. It's hard and aggressive, yet there's melodies.
Published: March 8

THORIUM: Ocean of Blasphemy - Album reissue
(Emanzipation Productions on March 12)
This debut album was recorded at Grieghallen Studios in Bergen, Norway in the summer of 1999, and released in early 2000 by Danish label Diehard Records. 20 years later it will be re-released with exclusive bonus tracks (2 demo recordings from 1998).
THORIUM is a Scandinavian death metal band in the old school, who wanted to mix the Swedish and Floridian styles. They were inspired by ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER, AT THE GATES, DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL and BRUTALITY. But I would describe a song like "Betrayed by God" as melodic death metal actually, while a song like "Crest for War" is more raw. So it's a good mixture here.
It seems like the band is still around, but nowadays with mainly Danish members, even though there have been a few Swedish members as well. A new album will be recorded this year.
Well, this is a really good album, so you should absolutely check this out.
Published: March 8

WITCHTIT: Intoxicating Lethargy - Album
(Self released on March 12)
After a split release with ETIOLATED, the Raleigh, North Carolina doom band WITCHTIT try their own wings on their first full length album. They also have a new vocalist, called Reign, "whose delivery hits the wailing tones of Messiah Marcolin (ex-CANDLEMASS) crossed with a young Iggy Pop in his STOOGES days", as the press release says. So yes, she can really sing. But the other guys are also doing a good job here.
This is dark and heavy of course, but yet with a catchy melody somehow. Sometimes I can also hear influences of NWOBHM for example. And this is really good stuff that you have to check out if you're a fan of doom metal.
Published: March 8

YAWNING MAN: Live at Maximum Festival - Album reissue
(Go Down Records on March 12)
I'm actually not sure when this album was originally released, but it was recorded in Italy in 2013 anyway, and now it will be re-released as a Deluxe Edition on both LP and CD.
The music that this vibrating powertrio deliver is instrumental desert rock. 1 or 2 tracks is o.k. of that, but 7 (like we have here) is a little too much at once for me. It's not bad though. It sounds like something from an old Western movie.
At the time when this was recorded, it was the original lineup of the band: Mario Lalli on bass, Gary Arce on guitar and Alfredo Hernandez (ex-KYUSS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) on drums.
Published: March 7

PhallaX: Lex Concordia - Album
(Metalapolis Records on March 12)
PhallaX was founded in Schwäbisch Gmünd (near Stuttgart), Germany in 2004. They started like so many others as a cover band, but soon found out that creating their own songs was much more fun. So in 2008 they started to work on their debut album, "The Chandlers Passion". After a EP and another full length they started to work on a new album in the end of 2016, which was supposed to be released in 2017. But that didn't happen. Just a few days after they started the recordings, singer Jogi was elected as the mayor in their hometown. Therefor the release of "Lex Concordia" has been delayed until now.
The most easy way to describe this band's music is to simply call it metal. But that doesn't say much about their sound, which is both powerful and melodic at the same time. They seems to have many different influences, both from the old and the new school of hard rock and metal, because there's lots of variation in this material.
A stable album quite simply.
Published: Matrch 7

IRON MAN: Hail to the Riff - Album
(Argonauta Records - Out now)
Many live albums lately. I guess there's nothing better to do these days when you're not allowed to play live infront of an audience (I have not been to a concert since the end of February 2020).
I guess that the band name, and most of all the title of this album, says a lot about what kind of music this band is playing. And yes, it's doom metal and the holy riff for all the money here, performed with heavy, distorted and probably down-tuned guitars. Something for fans of bands like CATHEDRAL, SAINT VITUS and PENTAGRAM.
This album features 13 tracks from their performance at the Castle of Doom Festival in Pagazzano, Italy in 2014, and 1 previously unreleased studio song. The group disbanded in 2018 after the passing of their founding member and guitarist, Alfred Morris III.
Published: March 7

BLACK DIAMONDS: No-Tell Hotel - Album
(Metalapolis Records on March 12)
This band sounds like a nicer version of HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and CRASHDÏET. Still party, but not as loud. Or however I should explain it? Damned good anyway! No doubt about that. But the last song, "Outlaw", sounds a little like the 90s pop band REDNEX trying to play hard rock. The chorus is good though.
BLACK DIAMONDS was founded in 2004, and this is their 4th album, which is also the first record with their new guitarist Chris Johnson. And it seems like they aim at the international audience this time, so I can only wish them good luck.
If you like the sound of Sunset Strip in something like 1986, then this is something for you.
Published: March 7

HOOTENANNY FREAKS: Girl On Fire - Single
(Inverse Records - Out now)
"Girl On Fire" is the second single from their upcoming album. It's a hot hard rocker that you just can't say no to. It has a special drive and catchiness that I really like. Not really sure how to explain it any better than that. But you simply check it out, and that's it!
HOOTENANNY FREAKS is a Finnish hard rock band in the traditional school. They have previously released 2 EPs and 1 album, plus a few singles.
Published: March 6

HOLY MONITOR: Southern Lights - Album
(Blackspin Records/Primitive Music - Out now)
HOLY MONITOR is a psychedelic rock quintet from Athens, Greek. They incorporate elements of krautrock, space rock and ambient music to their sound. And even though this album is mainly pretty laidback, it's a pulsating and hypnotic soundscape that we get here - Like a journey to a other planet.
This is an album that I really like. I guess it will work perfect for a sunny day in the grass, but it works very good at home too.
Published: March 6

ARCHITECTS: For Those That Wish To Exist - Album
(Epitaph Records - Out now)
O.k., this sounds just as modern as I expected it to. If I'm not totally wrong, I think I "slaughtered" their last album. And this album is not much better either. It just isn't my kind of music. And 15 tracks makes it last for an eternity.
And the music is according to me some kind of hybrid of modern, progressive metal and hardcore with soft melodic parts. But some of these songs sounds more like pop instead. I guess we can just call it modern soft metal or something like that?
This is the 9th album from this British band. Among the guest musicians are Winston McCall (PARKWAY DRIVE) and Simon Neil (BIFFY CLYRO).
Published: March 6

DAYEATER: Sweet Earth - Single
(Self released on March 5)
DAYEATER originates from Austin, Texas and formed in the spring of 2014. Their music is built around the riffs of BLACK SABBATH, the harmonies of The ZOMBIES, and Jimi Hendrix inspired guitars. A true powertrio in the old school coming up from the underground to give us all a new single.
They have previously released 2 albums, in 2016 and 2018. The band have a new album ready to go, and plan to release 1 single at a time and through a sustained promotional effort break through to the right audience and explode.
This is a really good hard rock song that is very catchy. But it also have a element of the heavy 70s. And towards the end it's a bit psychedelic. An interesting song you could say. And every heavy rocker should check it out.
Published: March 5

HALLUCINATION: Hallucination - Demo reissue
(Sentient Ruin Laboratories on March 5)
This is the debut demo from Philly-based d-beat hardcore/punks HALLUCINATION, which was first self released in 2020. It will now be released again on cassette and digital.
The sound of HALLUCINATION is raw and noisey. I think of stuff like DISORDER and the Japanese bands in this genre when I listen to this recording. So people who like that should check this out of course.
They deliver 5 tracks in just under 8 and a half minutes. Just about enough for me.
Published: March 5

(Intelligent Music on March 5)
This is the 6th album from INTELLIGENT MUSIC PROJECT, which is the brainchild of the Bulgarian businessman, philanthropist and patron of arts Milen Vrabevski. And what we get is more of what the previous albums has given us - melodic rock/hard rock with top singers like Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore's RAINBOW, MSG, VANDENBERG, LORDS OF BLACK), John Payne (ex-ASIA), Carl Sentance (NAZARETH) and Richard Grisman (RIVER HOUNDS). And on drums we find 2 new faces, Bobby Rondinelli (Ritchie Blackmore's RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH) and Todd Sucherman (STYX).
"The Creation" is an album with variation. We get everything from melodic rock to hard rock, as well as almost progressive or symphonic songs. High quality straight through more or less, except for a couple of slow songs then. So this is not so much to think about - Just get it!
The last album, "Life Motion", was released last summer, so it seems like Milan is a very productive man.
Published: March 5

IVY GOLD: Six Dusty Winds - Album
(A1 Records/Golden Ivy Records on March 12)
IVY GOLD play a bluesy and funky kind of hard rock that is not so hard. Or contemporary blues rock as they describe it themselves. Which means that this is not just another retro band.
The group is fronted by female vocalist Manou, which gives us all kinds of vocals here - emotional, rough, sensual, melancholy, wild etc. She is backed up by Tal Bergman (Joe Bonamassa, Billy Idol, B.B. King, Roger Daltrey, SIMPLE MINDS, Sammy Hagar, LL Cool J. etc.), Sebastian Eder (AVALON), Kevin Moore (The PERSUADERS, Jennifer Rush etc.) and Anders Olinder (Glenn Hughes, Peter Gabriel, Amy Winehouse etc.) - All experienced musicians.
The music is just like the vocals a wild mixture of different emotions, so there's lots of variation here. Some songs have more energy, some are heavier, while others are deeper and more laidback.
Published: March 5

Jason Ringenberg: Rhinestoned - Album
(Courageous Chicken on March 5)
O.k., when they say it's supposed to be rock, then I don't really think about a soft dude like this. I would not really say that it's bad though. He has his bright moments, and the album grow the more I listen to it. And there is at least a few songs that rock a little bit more.
They say that Jason since the beginning of the 80s has combined his love for the traditional American roots with the attribute of rock and the attitude of punk. But I hear some kind of roots/folk music and country here. It sure ain't rocking like STATUS QUO, if we put it that way. This is more adult music.
Published: March 3

WITHERFALL: Curse of Autumn - Album
(Century Media on March 5)
WITHERFALL is a dark melodic heavy metal band from Los Angeles, and "Curse of Autumn" is their third album. The band features members of SANCTUARY, ICED EARTH, CHON and The ARISTOCRATS, which might give you an idea about their sound.
Let's just say that they are very skilled musicians, and there's clearly a progressive nerve in their music. The songs are really good though, even if some of them are a little too long - 1 is as long as 15 and a half minutes. But skilled as they are they succeed to keep even the long songs alive, so there's no dead moments. And yes there's some short pieces too, in case you wonder. But most of these songs are of a normal length.
If you want more adult heavy metal (or whatever I should call it?), then this is something for you.
Published: March 3

STARMEN: By The Grace Of Rock 'N' Roll - Album
(Melodic Passion Records on March 12)
Swedish hard rockers STARMEN formed in 2018, and released their debut album, "Welcome To My World", in February 2020. Already in July the same year they released their second album, "Kiss The Sky", and now their third album, "By The Grace Of Rock 'N' Roll", is ready to be released. That's what I call passion! Not many bands have worked that hard since the 70s.
Those of you who liked the 2 first albums won't be dissapointed when you hear this album, because they have once again created a masterpiece. The music is the same brilliant mixture of melodic and heavier hard rock, plus some melodic rock/AOR. Fans of the big bands of the 80s should absolutely check this out.
Published: March 3

SISTER: Vengeance Ignited - Album
(Flick Records - Out now)
I have previously compared this band with Swedish party hard rockers like HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and CRASHDÏET. But now that I have heard the whole album, I can tell you that this is something different than that. SISTER are much harder, heavier, darker and more aggressive, and maybe not exactly what I would call a party band. But they deliver their songs with style and powerful choruses, so don't be afraid that it would be too hard or too dark.
Their music is some kind of hard rock/metal with punk attitude. Most of these 10 tracks are good stuff.
Published: March 3

DINOSAUR JR: I Ran Away - Single
(Jagjaguwar - Out now)
New single with these veterans. This song is taken from their upcoming album, "Sweep It Into Space", which will be released on April 23. It will be their first new album since 2016.
It's a pretty soft pop/rock song that we get here. You could say that they take the ingredients of rock, but turn it into pop music with their melodies. In the 90s they called this indie pop or indie rock, but I don't think anybody use that term anymore. Possibly alternative rock then, which can be more or less just about anything actually.
But enough of my bullshit. If you want a nice little song, then check this out.
Published: March 2

The DARK OVERLORDS: I Am The Dark Overlords - EP
(UPRISING! Records - Out now)
3 tracks of Scandinavian black metal, that is said to fit fans of ANAAL NATHRAKH, IMMORTAL, ENSLAVED and BEHEMOTH. There's not much information about this mysterious trio, but the music kicks arse anyway. Melodic guitars is mixed with hard and heavy guitars, and sometimes the riffs reminds me more of melodic death metal (in the first song at least). The harsh vocals is raw and brutal screaming on the border to growl. Very catchy for being so brutal you could say, but damned good.
Published: March 2

DANGEROUS TIMES FOR THE DEAD: Queen of the Night - Single
(Self released - Out now)
Oh, this was really good! A catchy and melodic heavy metal song with both a good verse and a good chorus. This is a band that I would like to hear more from. You have to check them out!
DANGEROUS TIMES FOR THE DEAD is a Dutch band, who sounds like they would be a forgotten treasure from the 80s. In other words a classic sound, but yet part of the new wave.
"Queen of the Night" is about the misfits and misunderstood; those who dare to be different (or just are different). Those who don't fit in, or don't want to.
Published: March 2

(Self released - Out now)
Dirty hard rock n roll from France is what we get here. And this is a guitar-driven tribute to all things that are rock n roll.
I don't know much about this band, but most of these 12 tracks sounds good anyway, and that's actually all I need to know. But even though it's pretty good, I don't think that they will get any bigger succees. They will probably be the underground band playing at dark bars and release an album once in a while. But that's better than nothing, and people will like them when they hear them. Step by step more and more people will listen to them, but never any bigger audience.
Well, they play rock anyway, and that's a damned good thing to do of course.
Published: March 2

BUTTERFLY: Doorways of Time - Album
(Petrichor on March 5)
BUTTERFLY features 4 veteran musicians, who share a broad background of influences and experiences. And with "Doorways of Time" they serve us a wild mixture of hard rock and heavy metal, as well as rock and psychedelic elements. It sounds a lot like the 70s and 80s, with a steady rythm section, twin guitars and good vocals. Among the influences are NWOBHM as well as classic acts like KISS, AC/DC and LED ZEPPELIN.
I don't really know what I should compare them with, but they have many great songs among these 9 tracks, so you should absolutely give them a try.
Published: March 1

Alice Cooper: Detroit Stories - Album
(earMUSIC - Out now)
Alice Cooper with doll at Getaway Festival
Well, this might not be the best album that Alice Cooper (73 years old) have made through the years, but it sure ain't bad. Most songs are good here, and nothing is so bad that it sucks. Except for some original songs, he is also doing covers of VELVET UNDERGROUND, OUTRAGEOUS CHERRY, MC5 etc.
In 1970 the band ALICE COOPER moved from L.A. to Detroit, where their guitar-driven hard rock sound fit much better. They met producer Bob Ezrin and got their big breakthrough. The time in Detroit made such a big impact that Alice now presents a hommage to the motor city and its music. And he has invited the surviving members of the original band to the party - Dennis Dunaway (bass), Neal Smith (drums) and Michael Bruce (guitar), as well as some local people like Wayne Kramer (MC5), Johnny "Bee" Badanjek (DETROIT WHEELS) and MOTOR CITY HORNS. The album is of course produced by Bob Ezrin and recorded in Detroit.
Now I'm not really sure what version I got of the album, because there's as much as 15 tracks here, which without a doubt is 5-6 songs too many. "Detroit Stories" is actually available in as much as 5 different editions.
Published: March 1

ACID MAMMOTH: Caravan - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records on March 5)
This is the third full length album from ACID MAMMOTH. It's a heavy and dark journey into the unknown, that will definitely leave an imprint on you. These 5 songs are between 5-11 minutes long, which normally is a bit too much. But for some reason it actually works here. The music is like a riff-based thunder storm.
Fans of doom metal and sludge should be interested in this album.
ACID MAMMOTH comes from Athens, Greece, and was formed in 2015.
Published: March 1

SPELLJAMMER: Abyssal Trip - Album
(RidingEasy Records on March 5)
SPELLJAMMER is a Stockholm, Sweden based sludge trio. They have had a 5-year break since their last album, "Ancient Of Days", but are now back to entertain your ears. And it's said that this album "bridges the band's earlier desert rock leanings and their later massive, slow-burning riffs".
We get 6 songs in 44 minutes. Some of them are around 6-7 minutes, while others are as long as 10 to 10:39 minutes. 1 track is just 2:22, and can be seen as an intro to the last song, or a soft piece before the next attack if you prefer that description instead.
This is very heavy and played so loud that the speakers are shaking. So if that sounds like something for you, then you really should give this album a try.
Published: Feb. 28

TERROR: Trapped In A World - Album
(Self released on March 5)
On this album long-running L.A. hardcore outfit TERROR revisit their first 2 records - "Lowest Of The Low" (2003) and "One With The Underdogs" (2004) - together with their former guitarist Todd Jones (NAILS), who will also be producing the band's next album. Now I have not heard those 2 albums, but to me these re-recordings sounds really good. It's hard and heavy, as well as metallic and angry. In other words, just the way hardcore is supposed to be nowadays.
We get 12 tracks brutally delivered in less than 24 minutes. The album will be available on 12" vinyl and digital.
Published: Feb. 28

WARSIDE: The Enemy Inside - EP
(Self released - Out now)
WARSIDE comes from Lyon, France, and has existed for 2 years. Their first EP, "The Enemy Inside", was released in December 2020, and features 6 brutal death metal songs. Influences comes from both death metal - ABORTED, MISERY INDEX, VOMITORY etc. - and grindcore - ROTTEN SOUND, MUMAKILL etc.
This is a raw in your face product without any excuses. They deliver their songs with lots of energy and aggression. So if you like it hard and fast, then this is the perfect record for you.
The members have experience from several other bands in the French extreme metal scene.
Published: Feb. 28

REINA NEGRA: Aquelarre - Album
(Fighter Records - Out now)
REINA NEGRA was founded in Palafrugell (Girona/Spain) back in 1981. They recorded 2 demos, and split up in 1987. Some members continued with other bands, such as FUCK OFF, KIRLIAN, INVASIÓN, BARBARIAN, HAMLET and LOS RODRÍGUEZ. Bassist Dani "Pato" Zamora died on November 29, 2007.
This album is obviously a collection of those old demo recordings from the 80s, as well as some live recordings (only on CD). And the sound is raw, but they had a good taste for melodies and catchy songs. All lyrics are in Spanish, but I would guess that they were inspired by the NWOBHM bands. So if you like classic heavy metal from the 80s, then this is something that you really should check out. But couldn't they have cut all the crap in the live tracks? It's definitely not funny to listen to some drunk bullshit like "". Totally useless and just irritating.
Published: Feb. 27

GOLGOTHA: Remembering the Past, Writing the Future - Album
(Xtreem Music on March 2)
"Remembering the Past - Writing the Future" is GOLGOTHA's first release after the addition of Samuel Morales (ex-HELEVORN) on second guitar, and features the new song "Don't Waste Your Life", plus 4 re-recorded tracks from previous works, where they have been given a more current touch. Really good doom metal with a dark atmosphere, and a touch of extreme metal once in a while. So it's a good mixture of soft and hard parts. And the vocals is varied too.
GOLGOTHA is a band from Palma de Mallorca, Spain. They existed between 1992-2005, and in 2014 they were back again.
Published: Feb. 27

CAPTAIN NAYSAYER: Captain Naysayer - EP
(Self released - Out now)
This Belgian band was born when Daan and Evert, both from the rock band The DeVILLES, wanted to play 70s inspired rock n roll. They soon found some other guys who shared the same interest, and the vocalist came all the way from Brazil to join the band. Now their debut record is here.
CAPTAIN NAYSAYER play a bluesy kind of hard rock n roll, sometimes with a psychedelic element. And this is absolutely something for those of you who like rock from the late 60s/early 70s. Because this band is hardly aiming at a modern sound.
A good debut that you should give a try.
Published: Feb. 26

CANCERVO: 1 - Album
(Electric Valley Records on Feb. 26)
Why don't we just play the same thing over and over again for something like 7 minutes? And no vocals at all, that's overrated! And then we continue with a couple of songs that are around 6 minutes, before we give the bastards a 7:42-minute adventure that they never will forget. Then we can end the party with a song that is 5 and a half minutes and 1 that is just 4 minutes. Yeah, and let's make it sound more or less the same all the way. And absolutely no vocals at all!
Great idea, huh? No, honestly not such a good idea at all as I'm actually getting a bit tired of all these heavy bands who think they are so cool and hip. Can any of them make a real song at all? I mean something catchy that kicks arse. Because this sure ain't kicking arse.
CANCERVO is an Italian band, who play heavy psych/prog. This is their debut album.
Published: Feb. 26

BAEST: Necro Sapiens - Album
(Century Media on March 5)
Healthy and alert boys with lots of energy.
BAEST comes from Aarhus, Denmark, and formed in 2015. They are said to be one of the country's most promising metal acts. Their music is deeply rooted in classic death metal without any bullshit, think of legends like DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED, MORBID ANGEL, DEATH and BOLT THROWER, but with a modern production. They have previously released 2 albums: "Danse Macabre" (2018) and "Venenum" (2019).
Even though their influences are classic death metal, this is not just another old school band. They add their own touch, and make it sound modern, but not too modern (if you get that). And the result is a varied death metal album of the best kind.
This is much more interesting than all these progressive and/or heavy bands that we seems to have too many of nowadays. I think that what we need is more action. And you can start with BAEST for example.
Published: Feb. 25

TROUBLE: Psalm 9 / The Skull / Trouble / Manic Frustration - Album reissues
(Hammerheart Records - Out now)
TROUBLE have never reached any bigger succees from a commercial point of wiew. But they were, and still are, very important to the metal underground scene. The band played an interesting kind of doom metal that you absolutely should not miss. All of these albums are really good stuff, so it's nice that they have been re-released (during last year as far as I can understand).
"Psalm 9" is the debut album, which was released in 1984. It's said to be a doom metal classic. This band did not necessarily go the same way as other doom bands did. They had their own sound somehow, even though it's familiar anyway (nowadays at least). They have a really good combination of slow and fast parts here, and throw out riff after riff. The songs are constantly on the move.
Their second album, "The Skull", was released in 1985, and is another important album for fans of doom and anything heavy. On this album TROUBLE "emerged from a NWOBHM/thrash doom cocoon and blossoming into a soul destroying depressive machine", as the press release says. Simply more of the first album, but a bit heavier, you could say.
The 1990 self titled album is said to be a pinnacle of their career. 6 years after their debut they had developed. This is their most mature album. But it's still the riffs that makes the songs, topped with Eric Wagner's vocals of course. This album is more catchy than the second album was. Fans of Ozzy-era BLACK SABBATH should like this a lot, even though it's not exactly the same thing.
It's said that "Manic Frustration" from 1992 was another pinnacle with its combination of BLACK SABBATH meets The BEATLES. At this time in their career they jumped from Metal Blade to Rick Rubin's American Recordings. This album might not sound as heavy as doom use to do, but is more like catchy hard rock with heavy guitars.
As far as I can remember I had not heard TROUBLE before, so this was an interesting adventure to get through. And it looks like there's more reissues on the way..
Published: Feb. 24

PARASITE: Deep Into The Dark - Album
(Rising Nemesis Records on Feb. 26)
PARASITE are fast and brutal, but can at the same time just as well be hard and heavy. It's luckily not too much of anything, so their songs are good, even though I have heard better. 15 tracks of this is way too much though. 8-10 would have been better.
It seems like this German band has been around for 10 years already, and "Deep Into The Dark" is their third full length album. It's a concept album that "deals with the idiosyncrasies, mysteries, abysses and threats of the omnipresent internet, especially the deep web and the dark net". Their music is brutal death metal, but also technical. This is combined with lots of groove and slam, as well as breakdowns and blastbeats.
Published: Feb. 23

3.2: Third Impression - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Yet another progressive band. This little group is built around Robert Berry, and is a continuation of a band called 3, which Mr. Berry had together with Carl Palmer and the late Keith Emerson. "Third Impression" is despite the title the second album from 3.2 (but I guess they count the album as 3 as album number 1).
This is said to be something for fans of the legendary keyboard player Keith Emerson. It's an re-energized and updated version of his style, which also includes some melodic rock/AOR. Very epic stuff for the progressive nerds.
Published: Feb. 22

SIMULACRUM: Genesis - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Another progressive metal band. Another adventure. Another band who doesn't take the easy way to get through a song. This just makes me tired. It's way too advanced for me, yet they're pretty o.k. somehow. I guess that this should just be consumed in small parts, like 1 or 2 songs at the time. But I don't have the time and energy for that, so I guess I have to continue being tired of the whole progressive genre.
As you might have figured out by yourself, this is very good musicians. Maybe a little too good for me, but don't let that little problem stop you. Their songs are melodic, with heavy guitars. If you're a fan of progressive metal, then you give these guys a try. O.k.?
Published: Feb. 22

The NOVA HAWKS: Redemption - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Oh, this was something different from Frontiers Music. A British blues rock n roll band, which is centered around vocalist Heather Leoni and guitarist Rex Roulette. And it seems like this debut album was written between London, the West Midlands, New York, and Los Angeles. Where they found their musical path by binding the styles of each unique location where they wrote, adding the roots of British rock, the desert sounds of California, the rawkus leads of New York City, the smokey ambience of London, and then spiced up the mixture by looking to the gospel roots of the blues.
"Redemption" is a very good album that could be something for fans of Janis Joplin and BLUES PILLS for example, as well as any kind of blues rock act of course. It sounds like they focus more on emotions than energy, but it seems to be done with lots of passion.
Published: Feb. 22

KREEK: Kreek - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
KREEK is a new band fronted by former BIGFOOT frontman Antony Ellis, who formed the band in the summer of 2019 after he had parted ways with BIGFOOT, who would eventually disband. He soon found a group of musicians in Nick Clarke (guitar), Lee Andrews (bass), and Seb Sweet (drums) who were ready to join him, and KREEK was born.
This self titled debut is deeply rooted in the UK hard rock scene. The heavy guitars and the melodic vocals gives them a powerful sound. And most of these 10 songs are pretty good, so I think you should give it a try.
Published: Feb. 22

Joel Hoekstra's 13: Running Games - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Joel Hoekstra is best known as the guitarist for WHITESNAKE and TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, as well as NIGHT RANGER and the Broadway show Rock Of Ages. But he also have this solo project called Joel Hoekstra's 13, where he deliver classic 70s/80s hard rock, even though it's with modern technology. And this sounds really good to me. This is an excellent album! Well, except for the last song, the title track, which is a slow half ballad (or however I should describe it).
"Running Games" features an all-star cast of musicians, including Russell Allen (vocals - SYMPHONY X, ADRENALINE MOB), Tony Franklin (bass - ex-The FIRM, BLUE MURDER), Vinny Appice (drums - ex-BLACK SABBATH, DIO), and Derek Sherinian (keyboards - SONS OF APOLLO, DREAM THEATER, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION). And just if that wasn't enough, Jeff Scott Soto (SONS OF APOLLO, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, ex- Yngwie Malmsteen) also lends a helping hand with background vocals.
Published: Feb. 22

INGLORIOUS: We Will Rise - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
"We Will Rise" is the 4th album from British hard rockers INGLORIOUS. It's also their first official recording with new members guitarists Danny Dela Cruz and Dan Stevens, and bassist Vinnie Colla, who join original members vocalist Nathan James and drummer Phil Beaver. That has not affected the music that much though, as it's still really good stuff that they give us here. Classic hard rock with melody and soul.
I would say that more or less everything is good here, but there is a few slow moments here and there that doesn't really impress me. I'm a rocker, not a pop fan.
Published: Feb. 22

DURBIN: The Beast Awakens - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
American singer/songwriter/guitarist James Durbin is most well-known for fronting QUIET RIOT for a few years, and maybe also his apperance on Season 10 of American Idol. But he also have a solo career.
This album is very heavy metal! There's no doubt about that. He goes all in for 80s heavy metal, and among his influences are JUDAS PRIEST ("British Steel" to "Defenders Of The Faith"), early DIO, 80s BLACK SABBATH and classic US metal. And who can say no to that and still be my friend? This is really good stuff!
Published: Feb. 22

ARC OF LIFE: Arc Of Life - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
I guess that I'm really getting tired of progressive rock. Because sometimes when I listen to this I just wonder "What are they doing?". It reminds me of the stuff with GENESIS and some of their solo adventures that a "friend" has played for me (against my will of course). Good musicians, sure, but not much of interest to me. Even though there is a few exceptions from that hard rule. But ARC OF LIFE is not 1 of them.
ARC OF LIFE is a new supergroup, which features 3 members of the current YES line-up: vocalist Jon Davison bassist/vocalist Billy Sherwood, and drummer Jay Schellen. Completing the lineup are Dave Kerzner (ex-SOUND OF CONTACT) on keyboards and Jimmy Haun (also featured on YES albums in the past) on guitars.
People who like YES, GENESIS and similar crap will probably love this.
Published: Feb. 22

ONE AND A HALF DOG: Falling Down - Single
(Self released on Feb 26)
This Norwegian hard rockers say that they have tried to lay down a 70s glam rock feeling, like SLADE and SWEET, and mixed that with more modern choruses, like GREEN DAY and FOO FIGHTERS. But I don't know if this song sounds like any of that. Not the songs that I have heard with those bands anyway. I hear more of a dark blues vibe instead. A very special song anyway, but not so bad.
Published: Feb. 21

The ROAD: John Henry - Single
(Mighty Music on Feb. 26)
"John Henry" is the second single from this international hard rock band's upcoming album, which will be released later this year. The band is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was formed in 2017 by Per Møller Jensen (ex-The HAUNTED, ex-INVOCATOR, ex-KOKHRA), Michael Skovbakke (ex-KONKHRA), Andreas Holma (ex-HYPOCRISY, ex-SCAR SYMMETRY, former session live musician for SOILWORK and PAIN) and Josh Tyree. Their self titled debut album was released in 2018 under the band name ROAD TO JERUSALEM.
The decision to change the band name to simply The ROAD was taken in 2019 and, after a quiet period, the band resurfaced in 2020, announcing a record deal with Danish label Mighty Music.
"John Henry" is a heavy hard rocker that reminds me of the 70s, but with a modern sound. It's a very good song that you should check out. Simple as that!
Published: Feb. 21

The AGE OF ORE: Trying Times - EP
(Self released - Out now)
The AGE OF ORE is a young heavy metal trio from the Philadelphia area. The band was formed in 2016, and the members are 13-16 years old. Their influences comes from legends like IRON MAIDEN, Jimi Hendrix and DIO, as well as more modern acts like ALICE IN CAINS, TOOL and SYSTEM OF A DOWN.
These 3 tracks are powerful and heavy compositions. And just like their influences says there's 1 foot in the old and 1 foot in the new. Check it out.
Published: Feb. 20

GRIZZLE: Fly You Fat Bastard - Album
(Dead Games Records on Feb. 26)
Funny album title!
Back in the 90s 2 guys from New Jersey and New York City formed a punk and metallic inspired hardcore band. This is the only album that came out with that band, through long defunct label J-bird Records. Now it will be re-released on digital platforms with the help of Dead Games Records.
The music is actually pretty slow for being hardcore, but very heavy instead, which makes it sound more like metal. Not bad though. Well, maybe not fantastic either, but absolutely good enough to listen to.
I don't really know what else there is to say about this, but give it a try at least.
Published: Feb. 20

COFFIN MULCH: Septic Funeral - Mini Album
(Redefining Darkness Records on Feb. 26)
These Scottish death metallers released a self titled demo 2 years ago. Now it's time for their debut mini-LP, "Septic Funeral". And if you like it the good old way, and have nothing against a few heavier songs, then this is absoluteley something for you. There's no doubt about that. And I don't think that I have to tell you what they sound like, because you have probably already a pretty good idea.
It looks like the band self released this album in September last year, but now it will be released on both CD and LP in both North America and UK/Europe.
Published: Feb. 20

The VEITH RICARDO PROJECT: Storm Warning - Album
(Pure Steel Records on Feb. 26)
It looks like the story of this project started back in 2005, when singer Juan Ricardo (DARK ARENA, RITUAL, SUNLESS SKY, WRETCH, ATTAXE) and keyboardist Vincent Veith (GHOST SHIP, VELVET VOYAGE) thought that they needed yet another project in their lives. They were joined by guitarist Neil Zaza, bassist Doug Johns, drummer Chris Ceja and Jerry Brightman on pedal steel (why?). The music was based on an American prog rock and metal sound, with much keyboards. But the material they recorded was left incomplete as a demo, and it wasn't until 2020 and the shutdown due to the pandemic that Vincent and Juan finally had the time to go back to the studio and finish what they started 15 years earlier.
Now you might know that I'm not always such a big fan of progressive music, but I have actually wrote some positive reviews about it through the years. And this is actually not so bad, even though nothing is exactly excellent either. But why did they have to destroy it with those stupid piano ballads? It's just irritating! The only time that piano is o.k. according to me is when you play good old rock n roll. Fans of progressive rock and metal will probably like this a lot though, so if you are one of those then give this a try.
By the way, "The Green Tractor" must be the most funny song title so far this year.
Published: Feb. 19

ATTIKA: Metal Lands - Album
(Pure Steel Records on Feb. 26)
ATTIKA comes from Melbourne, Florida, USA. They were active from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, and released 2 full length albums during that time.
Now they are back again with a brand new album, where they deliver classic US metal that is hard as steel. It's a fine mix of hard and heavy, as well as powerful melodies. Simply damned good heavy metal with many ingredients, like it should be.
Not that this is exactly the same, but I think you should give this album a try if you like bands like IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST. Because I'm sure that you will like what you hear.
Published: Feb. 19

WEHRMACHT: Shark Attack / Biermächt - Re-issues
(Hammerheart Records on Feb. 26)
WEHRMACHT was a crossover/thrash band from Portland, Oregon, who existed between 1985-1991, and 2008-2019. Now their 2 full length albums will be re-released through Hammerheart Records.
The debut album, "Shark Attack", was originally released in 1987. It's said that it was way ahead of its time and has been highly regarded as the release that influenced many bands in the grindcore and black metal genres. Fact is that with this album they were actually considered the fastest heavy metal band in the underground. Yet they play extremely tight and precise. Why they had to include the sound of somebody puking is a big mystery though. It's not funny at all. But otherwise it's a really good album, and I actually think that this could be something for fans of faster punk (hardcore, crust etc) as well, and not just metal fans.
The CD version of "Shark Attack" gives you a extra disc with the "Thrash Metal" demo and live tracks from 1986. It's also available as LP and cassette (with 1 bonus track).
"Biermächt" was the second album, and it was originally released in mid-1988 (1989 according to Metal Archives). It has a slightly cleaner production than the debut album, but also something they describe as "funny bit songs", which I think is total crap. But I guess that this was one of those young party bands, who just wanted to have fun. Well, the more normal songs are absolutely worth listening to though, as they are very good at what they are doing here. Fans of a band like D.R.I. and similar, as well as the American thrash bands from the 80s, should enjoy this a lot.
And if you get the CD version of "Biermächt" you will get a second disc with the "Beermacht" demo, a rehearsal from 1986 and some live tracks from 1989. It's also available as LP and cassette.
Published: Feb. 18

MICROLAXX: Världens Bästa Magmedicin - EP
(Grönpeppar Records - Out now)
This is a new and very young Swedish punk band. Their songs are short, mainly half a minute to 1 and a half. The last song is 2 and a half though, but it's a cover of CHARTA 77. The music is fast and raw, and the recording is cheap and raw, like it was here in Sweden in the early 80s. It actually sounds like they have recorded this in their rehearsal room, which is very punk of course.
This could be something for those of you who want young and angry punk. And it's absolutely not bad at all.
These 6 tracks are available both at Bandcamp and as CD.
Published: Feb. 18

STATE OF MIND: State Of Mind - EP
(Misanthropik Records - Out now)
The story of this Texas band goes all the way back to 1994, when 4 friends decided to start a band. Their influences were old school metal like DIO, JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, QUEENSRŸCHE, IRON MAIDEN, PANTERA, LED ZEPPELIN etc. Their first recording was a 6-song cassette in 1995, and their latest recording came out in 2019.
Now I'm actually not sure if this EP is those first 6 songs from 1995 or new songs (that kind of info was probably too much to ask for, so it should be new songs I suppose). But even though their influences was the classic acts in the beginning, this sounds more like a product of the 90s with a touch of METALLICA around the black album, "Load" and "Re-load". But you could say that they mix the old with the new.
It's good stuff anyway, so check them out.
Published: Feb. 17

PRESSURE: What You See - Single
(Self released on Feb. 19)
New single from this Stockholm, Sweden based trio. But this time it's not a Christmas song, but something that is more in the way that they use to sound. And that sound is some kind of heavy metal with their own twist. Or story metal as they call it themselves, which is a combination of traditional heavy metal and elements of melodic metal, with a lot of focus on the vocals. Add some heavy guitars to that and you might have an idea about their sound.
"What You See" is taken from their upcoming album, which will be released sometime in late April/early May. Check it out!
Published: Feb. 17

The NORSEMAN COMPANY: The Coming of the Chord - Album
(Perris Records - Out now)
The first song sounds like DEF LEPPARD in the 80s, the next like DIO around the same era. And it continue like that, sometimes more melodic, sometimes heavier, but always some kind of hard rock anyway.
The man behind this group is Norwegian drummer/songwriter/manager Geir Arne Dale (HUMBUCKER). Many musicians and vocalists were brought in for this project, like Aage Sten Nilsen (WIG WAM, AMMUNITION), Rowan Robertson (ex-DIO), Martin Steene (IRON FIRE) and Tor Erik Myhre (Jorn Lande), to name some of them. And the album was mixed and mastered by legendary producer Beau Hill (WARRANT, RATT, WINGER, EUROPE, Alice Cooper etc.).
This is absolutely something for fans of 80s hard rock of the catchy and melodic kind, because that is mainly what we get here.
Published: Feb. 17

Mike Tramp: Everything Is Alright - Single
(Target Records - Out now)
On March 6 the former WHITE LION and FREAK OF NATURE frontman Mike Tramp will participate in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix (the Danish contest that gives access to Eurovision Song Contest) with this song. And it sounds just as he use to - melodic soft rock that should fit perfect for that kind of audience. So if you like his previous solo works, then you will enjoy this little song too.
Published: Feb. 17


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