Heavy Metal

Dawnbringer – Nucleus Review

Dawnbringer – Nucleus Review

Interesting release we have right here folks. For those unaware, Dawnbringer is a project band of sorts for Chris Black (Pharaoh, Nachtmystium, Superchrist) and his guitar playing buddies and together they create something like a mix of NWOBHM, straight up American metal, black metal, thrash and doom (there’s even moments of quasi-southern rock). Tell me that doesn’t sound intriguing, I dare you! Nucleus is their fourth full-length and yep, it’s one humdinger of a rickety metal contraption. At times sounding like a weird mash-up of Iron Maiden, Slough Feg, Motorhead and Black Sabbath, this thing rumbles and rambles all over the place and always seems ready to come unhinged but it just screams METAL! From the production, riffs and vocals, there’s an ever present rough and tough vibe and despite the myriad of styles and influences Dawnbringer tries to squish together, they somehow managed to craft some great metal songs that will stick in your head for a long time.

Fejd – Eifur Review

Fejd – Eifur Review

Last year I received Swedish folk-metallers Fejd’s Napalm Records debut with great excitement. I had been listening to the band for a long time and was really impressed with their material in general. Their earlier demos I en tid som var and Huldran had both been constantly on my playlist since I downloaded them (and with good reason). But while I was not disappointed with Storm, the material didn’t blow me away as much as the earlier demos had. Maybe this was a “slump” or something, but it didn’t quite live up to those standards.

Things You May Have Missed 2010: Triosphere – The Road Less Travelled

Things You May Have Missed 2010: Triosphere – The Road Less Travelled

Triosphere is a Norwegian progressive/power metal band that has gotten a little bit of play among fans of the genre, but isn’t actually super well known or discussed widely. Released on AFM, the band’s second full length The Road Less Travelled is a surprisingly interesting and fresh sounding power metal record in a genre filled with tired, tired, tired bands playing tired, tired, tired music. Instead, the band seems to have carved out a fairly unique place, partially due to the androgynous vocals of Ida Haukland. This isn’t an insult to her by any means, it’s just that I couldn’t tell if this was a male vocalist or a female vocalist and she’s one of the few female vocalists in power metal that I’ve ever heard that really do metal voice convincingly, instead of donning a dress and pretending she’s a diva. To the contrary, with solid backing from a band that can go between Dream Theater-flavored solos and Dragonforce-flavored blasts, she nails the presence the album needs to be convincing and unique at the same time.

Slough Feg – The Animal Spirits Review

Slough Feg – The Animal Spirits Review

Slough Feg (formerly The Lord Weird Slough Feg) have always existed in their own little musical bubble (technically called a “sloubble”). Inside their little sloubble, they remain happily oblivious to musical styles, trends and changing tastes in metal. To them it’s always sometime between 1978 and 1983, where their odd amalgam of NWOBHM, Thin Lizzy and Celtic folk/pub rock would seem timely and current. Here on album eight The Animal Spirits, the sloubble remains intact as Slough Feg churns out more of their unique, oddball proto-metal for a small but loyal cult following. If you’ve followed this San Francisco based unit, you know what to expect. If not, well, it’s strange but fun and truly a love or hate type proposition.

Virgin Steele – The Black Light Bacchanalia Review

Virgin Steele – The Black Light Bacchanalia Review

OK, what the hell is going on here? Why are metal’s elder statesmen forgetting to include metal on their metal albums? First Halford and now this? Virgin Steele has been around since forever (1982), and singer, keyboardist, pianist, composer David DeFeis is a near legendary figure in the metal scene who happens to hail from my neck of the woods in New York. Growing up, I always considered Virgin Steele a poor man’s Manowar (and I think these guys felt the same way). Although I was never a die-hard fan, they had some good early albums and DeFeis is a talented musician and truly gifted and versatile vocalist. However, on album twelve, the pompously titled The Black Light Bacchanalia, DeFeis and company have opted to create nearly ninety minutes of what can best be described as Manowar meets chamber music meets Vegas lounge music. Conceptually, easy listening/lounge Manowar is the equal of other such self defeating ideas as room temperature fire and Shakespeare performed by mimes. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Allen/Lande – The Showdown Review

Allen/Lande – The Showdown Review

Regular readers of the Angry Metal Guy’s mighty webpage will have noticed that I consider Sir Russell Allen (Symphony X, Star One, Avantasia) and Jorn Lande (Jorn, Masterplan, Avantasia, Ark) two of the very best metal vocalists in operation today. It was only last week I was ranting and raving about Allen’s performance on the new Star One opus and now I must rant anew, but what else can Steel Druhm do? Allen and Lande are both such enormously versatile and talented vocalists and it’s always a pleasure to hear them show off said talents. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve gone hog wild over the previous Allen/Lande recordings where the two masters engaged in epic battles for metal pipes supremacy. Both their previous albums have become mainstays in my music rotation and hold up admirably to the repeated spins they receive. Now we are blessed with their third album The Showdown and the masters have once again delivered the goods and reaffirmed their place at the top of the metal vocalist food chain.

Ross the Boss – Hailstorm Review

Ross the Boss – Hailstorm Review

Is this new Manowar? No, that it ain’t. So it’s Rossowar? Closer, but still no. What we actually have before us is Hailstorm, the second album by Ross the Boss. Mr. The Boss was of course the original fret master for the legendary Manowar and he played on all their classic, seminal albums before riding off to seek glory on his own (yes AMG, there really are classic Manowar albums [I resent that statement. – AMG]). So what type of music would one of the founding fathers of sword and furry loincloth metal create in this day and age? Well, those hoping Ross assembled a merry band of Manowar imitators will be disappointed. While there are several unsubtle stylistic nods to his original band (the most unsubtle band of all time), this is way less Mano-thematic than 2008’s New Metal Leader and focuses more on early 80’s style metal and straight ahead power metal. In some ways this departure from his musical comfort zone works, in others it falls just a bit short.

Rhapsody of Fire – The Cold Embrace of Fear Review

Rhapsody of Fire – The Cold Embrace of Fear Review

Wow, 2010 is a strange year. But one of maybe the weirdest things is the fact that long on-ice Rhapsody of Fire are back and they are putting out a second record! Well, let’s be clear, this is an EP in 7 acts, but in addition to the very mighty The Frozen Tears of Angels, the mighty Rhapsody of Fire is releasing an EP in Europe on the 15th of October called The Cold Embrace of Fear. Clocking in at 35 minutes, this EP is probably closer to Rain of a Thousand Flames than anything else the band has done in their career. But can the mighty Rhapsody of Fire actually maintain the awesome consistency of their earlier release?

Halford – Made of Metal Review

Halford – Made of Metal Review

This will come as an unwelcome surprise to Angry Metal folks everywhere, but the new Halford album Made of Metal isn’t angry and is only partly made of metal. Despite the deceptive title, Halford’s third solo album is a diverse but confusing mix of awkward, mostly flawed metal anthems, cheesy love songs with a metallic edge and poppy bubble gum metal/rock. Amid this confusion, only a few quality metal moments can be found. With all due respect to one of the founding fathers of heavy metal and a living legend to many (myself included), the results here are wildly inconsistent and just flat out disappointing.