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Lacrimas Profundere – The Grandiose Nowhere Review

Lacrimas Profundere – The Grandiose Nowhere Review

Alright all you self-loathing, gothic creepozoids and lovers of exquisite pain, step right up and get the perfect soundtrack for stalking your ex. Yes, it’s The Grandiose Nowhere by those Germanic gloom meisters Lacrimas Profundere. Album number nine shows these boys up to their usual dark tricks and giving you some hard charging, gloom infested rock n droll with plenty of misery for those who love the cold grip of melancholia. Lest you think that doesn’t sound like fun, I am thrilled to report this is a mighty rocking and rollicking goth-o-thon that makes you nod your head no matter how badly you want to sit and stare at the ground in misery.

Disdain – Leave This World Review

Disdain – Leave This World Review

Those well-versed in the metal arts may see a band named Disdain and expect a dose of brutal death metal or possibly some frostbitten and bitter black metal. In this case however, the name is quite misleading. Disdain’s debut album Leave This World reveals a Swedish troupe bringing a somewhat unique spin to the traditional power metal sound and sounding far more experienced and professional than you might expect. This may owe to the fact that these guys have been in existence since the late 90’s and at one time even included Nightwish’s Anette Olzon on vocals. I can already hear the chorus of power metal bashers out there (you know who you are) screaming about how much crappy power metal is already on the shelves these days and how there isn’t room for any more whether it’s good, bad or ugly. Well, doubters be damned! Disdain has managed a rare feat and rise above most of their peers with this release while managing to avoid the many pitfalls that doom lesser power metal bands.

Wuthering Heights – Salt Review

Wuthering Heights – Salt Review

Well shiver me timbers, it’s a pirate metal concept album! Sure, Running Wild has been doing that since 1987 but can you ever really have enough pirate metal? Yarr, I think not me mateys! So it is with open arms I welcome Salt, the new album by Denmark’s Wuthering Heights. Salt is the band’s fifth release and although they began life in 1997 as a power metal unit, I am not exactly sure how to classify them now. They still have many elements of traditional power metal (fast, galloping rhythms, speedy yet melodic guitar work) but they have evolved into a far more progressive and unorthodox entity over time. So much so in fact, that yours truly couldn’t get into their past two releases because they were just too schizophrenic, scattered and disjointed. I will admit that after my initial few listens to Salt, I had exactly the same problem and was prepared to send this album down to Davey Jones’s Locker with a vicious cannonade along the lines of “ARRRRRR, she blows!!!!” Then slowly, the album’s buccaneer charm began to seep into my head and I started liking it (although at first I only liked parts of it and prepared to say it possessed merely “pieces of great, pieces of great”). However, after two days of soaking in the Salt, I have signed on for this expedition and am ready to pillage and quaff ale right along with Wuthering Heights.

Royal Jester – Night is Young Review

Royal Jester – Night is Young Review

Hate is a very strong word and perhaps it gets thrown around too casually these days. After all, hate is a very ugly, negative emotion and even the angriest of metal guys should strive to avoid it. With that said, I hate Royal Jester’s debut album Night is Young. Maybe that sounds harsh but it’s the sad truth. It isn’t the musical style that brings me to hate it. Royal Jester plays Euro power metal and I really like Euro power metal when it’s done properly. I even like some of what might be called “happy power metal.” In fact, it seems I have become the resident power metal geek around these parts and that’s why this review ended up in my lap. However, after sustained, repeated listens to this album with an open mind, and giving this young band from Sweden every possible benefit of the doubt, there isn’t much good to say about Night is Young.

Avantasia – Angel of Babylon Review

Avantasia – Angel of Babylon Review

Tobias Sammet, the voice of Edguy and mastermind behind Avantasia, clearly doesn’t mess around when it comes to self-confidence and ambition. Few artists would have the sheer cojones to undertake as daunting of a project as a double album with over 2 hours of music featuring no less than 19 guest musician. That however is exactly what he serves up with The Wicked Symphony and this album, Angel of Babylon (being Parts II and III of The Scarecrow trilogy respectively).

Steelwing – Lord of the Wasteland Review

Steelwing – Lord of the Wasteland Review

Steelwing? Never heard of them. I toss in Lord of the Wasteland to see what I am dealing with and POW!! I get punched right in the face by an angry, metal spiked fist from 1982! This Stockholm, Sweden based band may be young and only formed in 2009, but man can they bring the pure, unadulterated NWOBHM power to the party. On this, their debut album, they shamelessly steal the best recipes from Iron Maiden, Saxon, Grim Reaper and Warlord and cook up a surprisingly fresh sounding, if utterly unoriginal metal meatloaf of riffs and attitude with enough cheese coating to choke a mastodon. Steelwing gives you eight fast and furious traditional metal anthems played by musicians who clearly worship at the altar of early 80’s metal and know exactly how that epoch of metal should sound.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony Review

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony Review

So here we have The Wicked Symphony, one of two new albums released this week by Avantasia, the brainchild of one Tobias Sammet (Angel of Babylon being the companion album). Many of you likely know Mr. Sammet as the singer of German power metallers Edguy. Avantasia is his long running mega-sized side project where he collaborates with varied musicians across the metal/hard rock spectrum and experiments with moods and sounds that might not necessarily fit within the paradigm of the more straightforward Edguy. Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon complete the trilogy started by 2008’s Scarecrow album. For an easy point of reference, think of Avantasia as a more metalized and less (but still quite) self-indulgent version of Ayreon.

Kiuas – Lustdriven Review

Kiuas – Lustdriven Review

As a young lad, my dear mother strove to teach me two important things: first, don’t be an angry metal boy/guy, and secondly, never judge others. Well, as an angry metal guy reviewing albums I’d say I’m a major disappointment, but I really can’t say that I’m as big of a disappointment as the meaning of the Finnish band Kiuas’ name. Kiuas is a Finnish word that roughly translates into sauna stove or stove of sauna. So, in essence, this band is called “SAUNA STOVE?” These guys lose Angry Metal Points.

Tarot – Gravity of Light Review

Tarot – Gravity of Light Review

Talk about a long-suffering, unheralded and unsung band! Tarot has been slogging through the metal trenches in relative obscurity outside of their native Finland since 1986. For many non-Finnish folk (myself included), Tarot was an unknown quantity until lead singer and founder Marco Hietala joined up with Nightwish in 2002 for their Century’s Child outing, thereby drawing much needed attention to his primary recording outfit. It has been nearly four years since 2006’s Crows Fly Black, but finally the metal underdogs of Tarot are back in action with their eighth album, Gravity of Light.