Heavy Metal

Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity Review

Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity Review

“Look up “prolific” in the dictionary, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Nate Garrett’s name somewhere in there. Besides spending time in doom/death merchants Gatecreeper, Garrett’s also tirelessly spent energy and time with his main project, Spirit Adrift, having released three acclaimed albums in the span of four years. However, with 2020 being the year that it is, Garrett felt the need to do some massive soul-searching, choosing to focus on the more positive aspects in ourselves, and decided a massive upheaval was necessary in order to survive, let alone succeed. In doing so, he’s stepped down from the ‘creeper and put all of his energy back into his main gig. With renewed focus and a change of attitude, Enlightened in Eternity, the fourth album in five years, is upon us.” Enlighten the dark.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell

Yer Metal Is Olde: Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell

“Hello, controversy! In all of metal, one of the most controversial topics is Black Sabbath with and without Ozzy. Passions are inflamed and regrettable words are spewed in both directions any time this debate comes up. Being a human completely lacking in emotion or empathy, I don’t care about it. I want good albums period, and let’s be honest, this record’s predecessor was Never Say Die!, undoubtedly one of the band’s least finest moments, with or without their infamous leading man. No matter what came next, it was a low bar.” Vintage evil.

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.