Heavy Metal

Dark Forest – Oak, Ash & Thorn Review

Dark Forest – Oak, Ash & Thorn Review

“U.K.’s Dark Forest has been cranking out high quality music since 2009, with a very interesting blend of Euro-power, traditional heavy metal and just enough folk elements to give them a slightly unique sound. Albums like The Awakening and 2016s Beyond the Veil were very good, teetering on the cusp of greatness, borrowing from NWoBHM legends like Iron Maiden while also dipping into the slick songcraft of Avantasia and prime Sonata Arctica. Their compositional and storytelling acumen improved with each release and I just knew they had a truly big release in them dying to burst free.” Really good wood.

Absolva – Side by Side Review

Absolva – Side by Side Review

Absolva, the act entirely composed of the touring band for Blaze Bayley, have returned with their fifth album of slightly modernized NWoBHM. I first stumbled on these gents back in 2017 when their Defiance platter wound up on my desk, and found their style easy to like and as familiar as a favorite pair of socks. This is a crew of seasoned veterans from the U.K. traditional metal scene, and guitarist Luke Appleton even finds time to play bass for Iced Earth when not touring with Blaze.” Blazing new trails.

Spell – Opulent Decay Review

Spell – Opulent Decay Review

“The retro waves never stop crashing ashore, they just shift decades. Beginning around 2000 the metalverse became inundated with 80s throwback acts, and over the past ten or so years there’s been an increasing drive to mine 70s rock for inspiration as well. Canadian act Spell are in on this big dig, incorporating a lot of 70s rock ideas into a slurry containing NWoBHM and goth rock. Opulent Decay is their third attempt to get this tricky recipe right, showcasing an intriguing blend of eras and styles which results in something very old sounding and full of occult auras.” Olden magic.

Lord Vigo – Danse De Noir Review

Lord Vigo – Danse De Noir Review

“I went for a walk on a beautiful day – fifteen degrees Celsius or so – and gave Danse de Noir, the fourth record from German metallers Lord Vigo, its maiden voyage through my ears and mind. Within five minutes, I was reminded why I love this outstanding little genre called metal. Lord Vigo plays trad metal in the vein of Ram but stirs some Candlemass and Angel Witch into the mix for good measure.” Metal appreciation.

Ritual Dictates – Give in to Despair Review

Ritual Dictates – Give in to Despair Review

“When I think of grind as a genre, I think of unrelenting brutality. I think of short, crushingly visceral songs. I think of pounding drums and churning, impenetrable walls of guitar. I think of Napalm Death, of Pig Destroyer and of Nasum. I do not think of Three Inches of Blood – yes, the “kill the orcs, slay the orcs, destroy the orcs,” heavy, power metal Three Inches of Blood. So it was with some surprise that I stumbled across Ritual Dictates, a Canadian grind duo comprising ex-Three Inches of Blood members Ash Pearson, who mans the kit, and Justin Hagberg, who mans everything else.” Despair falls in Middle Earth.

Rämlord – From Dark Waters Review

Rämlord – From Dark Waters Review

“No one expects the Rämlord, nor should they. Formed by members of such wildly diverse acts as Impaled Nazarene, Legenda, and National Napalm Syndicate, Rämlord is a strange new act purpose-built to defy genre boundaries as they explore classic metal styles. On their debut, From Dark Waters they attempt a near herculean amount of genre hoping, dragging in influences from goth rock, hair metal, hard rock, 80s radio rock and a few other odds and sods along the bumpy journey they fashion for the unsuspecting listener.” Rämming speed!

Malokarpatan – Krupinské ohne Review

Malokarpatan – Krupinské ohne Review

“No matter who you are or where you live, everyone is being asked to stay home from a job that they may not get to come back to. Or… living it up with their family in a mansion whose walls sport the fashionable 2020 Vintage Toilet Tissue Wallpaper. Then there’re others of us that push on like nothing is happening. Regardless of your dilemma, this shit has come out of nowhere and I-just-went-in-for-eggs-and-left-after-four-hours-because-only-ten-people-were-allowed-into-the-store-at-one-time is a thing. Everyone’s upset and no one knows what’s gonna happen next. Funny enough, that’s the perfect attitude to have for Malokarpatan‘s newest masterpiece, Krupinské ohne.”

Nite – Darkness Silence Mirror Flame Review

Nite – Darkness Silence Mirror Flame Review

“I’m an old dude and there’s no getting around it. Because of my advanced case of age, I’m much more susceptible to nostalgia-core than those younger than I, and when 80s-flavored fares are hawked, I’ll always elbow my way to the front and sample them lustily. Nite is a brand spanking new project by members of Dawnbringer, Satan’s Wrath and High Spirits, and what they’re cooking here is a rollicking mixture of classic 80s metal with a decidedly blackened edge.” Those glorious 80s Nites.

Solitary Sabred – By Fire & Brimstone Review

Solitary Sabred – By Fire & Brimstone Review

“When Cypriot band Solitary Sabred entered my schedule, I looked back in the site’s archives and saw that their 2014 release Redemption Through Force had not only been covered, but highly recommended. Naturally, I was intrigued and I sampled. What I found was a heavy/power metal concept album with absolutely insane vocals. Sounding like a mixture of Manowar and Sanctuary due in no small part to singer Petros Leptos’ delivery consisting of three parts Eric Adams and one part early Warrel Dane, I immediately fell in love and ordered a physical copy of the release.” Steel thyself.

Badd Kharma – On Fire Review

Badd Kharma – On Fire Review

“We live in a society where people add extra letters (specifically u’s) to words that don’t belong. As well as spelling words purposely (I think?) wrong to give them more emphasis. Or they use words that don’t mean what they think they mean. Who could forget the days of ‘wassup?’ and ‘wazzup?’ I mean, what’s not hip about saying ‘what’s up?’ or ‘what is up? Or remember when people used the word ‘bad’ but actually meant ‘good’? Or when you use ‘cop’ instead of ‘get’ and ‘whip’ instead of ‘car’? What the fuck is going on around here? Now there’re umlauts over consonants and v’s instead of u’s. ‘Lead’ is ‘led,’ ‘funeral fuck’ is ‘fvneral fvkk,’ and ‘rand’ has a ‘5’ in front of it. And now… there’s Badd Kharma.” Fyre is hawt!!