Dr. A.N. Grier

Shine on you crazy (King) Diamond.
Heathen – Empire of the Blind [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Heathen – Empire of the Blind [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“Heathen. I’ve got three shirts that say it and nine people that call me that. I liken it to a word like ‘dickhead.’ It’s got great pop and works in all situations. Though it’s maybe more fun to call my mom a ‘dickhead’ rather than a ‘heathen.’ But, I suppose it depends on the day. Speaking of fun, let’s talk about that other Heathen. The one that released Empire of the Blind, and we never got it.” Blind fury.

Them – Return to Hemmersmoor [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Them – Return to Hemmersmoor [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“I can’t believe we never received the promo for Them‘s Return to Hemmersmoor. I mean, seriously, I’m their biggest fan! Even when their first album fell into the hands of an anti-Diamonder, I still hailed the shit out of it. This October, I even asked my kids if they wanted to watch Tim Burton’s Sweet Hollow. That’s how much the band is on my mind.” Themsmoor.

Iron Mask – Master of Masters Review

Iron Mask – Master of Masters Review

“Twenty-twenty has been the year of ore. Iron ore, that is. We’ve seen it extracted from the earth, thrown into the blasting furnace, and molded into steel. From that steel, we’ve seen so many swords forged, that it’s practically raining the motherfuckers. There’s Ironsword and Megatron Sword, Possessed Steel and Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire, to name a few. And it won’t fucking end as long as Steel is fanning the furnace.” Mask ore die.

Yer Metal Is Olde: King Diamond – The Eye

Yer Metal Is Olde: King Diamond – The Eye

“Then there’re examples like Fast Eddie Clarke walking away from Motörhead and the canning of Ozzy Osbourne by Black Sabbath. Anthrax, Exodus, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest lost their vocalists, who psyched everyone out and returned later anyway. In some cases, end-of-era albums are more like transition pieces—bridging the gap between the band of old and the band of new. Arguably Metallica‘s …And Justice For All fits the bill. It was clear that Justice was different, but it wasn’t until Metallica arrived that everyone saw what Justice really was. King Diamond‘s The Eye is also such an album.” Fading eyesight.

Eleine – Dancing in Hell Review

Eleine – Dancing in Hell Review

“Symphonic and power/symphonic metal are so hit-or-miss. Even when it comes to a couple of my favorites, I can love one release and loathe the next. That’s even when the most astute listener thinks the albums sound the same. It has to be the perfect balance of elements to catch my attention and keep me coming back for repeat listens. And, other times, I have to be in the right headspace. When I first heard Eleine‘s new opus, Dancing in Hell, almost all those elements came together.” Hell is a dance-off.

Sodom – Genesis XIX Review

Sodom – Genesis XIX Review

Genesis XIX will be the first time in thirty years Blackfire has recorded a full-length with Sodom. It’ll also be the first time in the band’s storied career to have two guitarists. What will these changes do to the Sodom sound? Obviously, Angelripper sees life coming back to the band. But are four just one too many? And how many more war-themed thrash riffs does Ole Tom have left in him?” Re-Sodomized.

Harlott – Detritus of the Final Age Review

Harlott – Detritus of the Final Age Review

“As I mentioned when I wrote 2017’s Extinction review, Harlott isn’t afraid to show love to their influences. Some might say Harlott isn’t afraid of reaching into that box of thrash classics and taking what they like, as well. At any given time, the riffs transition from Exodus to Slayer to Testament, and the vocals mimic Araya, Petrozza, and Dukes/Souza. The guitars can be acoustic at times but prefer to be heavy. The drums blast and fill with no regard for concrete floors, and the bass rattles hardware off the garage door. Harlott may not have a whole lot in the way of originality, but that doesn’t make their fourth album, Detritus of the Final Age, any less solid and nothing short of nostalgic.” Ramming speed.

October Falls – Syys Review

October Falls – Syys Review

“If you haven’t gone back to the band’s humble beginnings, you’re missing a hell of a lot. And, not in the sense of the classic black metal of old. No, no. You’ve missed one LP (Marras) and two EPs (Tuoni and Sarastus) of acoustic beauty. There’re more acoustic guitars, pianos, and strings in that handful of songs than all the liquidated Guitar Centers combined. That said, don’t expect grandiosity and orchestral pretentiousness. October Falls‘s acoustic discs sound like a couple of guys with guitars sitting around a campfire. A couple of musicians playing simple music for the moon, for the woods, for themselves.” Moon music.

Mors Principium Est – Seven Review

Mors Principium Est – Seven Review

“Some of why I feel this way is because few bands can pack as many riffs into a single album as MPE do. When I listen to their entire discog in an afternoon, it feels like it’s taken ten years off my life. There’re so many riffs—you wonder if there are any left. Twenty years in existence, a dozen members now funneled down to two, and six albums turn Seven. Will Seven be their lucky number?” Number of a beast.