SPV

Axel Rudi Pell – Knight’s Call Review

Axel Rudi Pell – Knight’s Call Review

Axel Rudi Pell (heretofore abbreviated as ARP) and his gang of Westphalian rockers are a one-trick pony, and the whole world of hard rock and heavy metal well knows this. However, the eponymous band has maintained a solid reputation for consistency and quality amongst those who enjoy the stuff, and Axel himself is an old-fashioned fella whose 80’s mindset frequently comes across in more than just his music.” We Camelot!

Travelin Jack – Commencing Countdown Review

Travelin Jack – Commencing Countdown Review

“We’ve been seeing it since the dawn of time: when one band finds success, record company execs stumble over themselves trying to sign the next great version of that band. Rarely is the next great version actually found: instead, what we usually end up with are tepid versions of the original, competent yet missing that certain intangible (and more often than not also missing decent songwriting). Case in point: the critical success bands like Royal Thunder and Blues Pills have enjoyed in recent years. Record labels are wading through quagmires looking for the next great female-fronted retro blues/metal acts, and tossing half-baked ideas at us in the hopes that something sticks.” Sticky or icky?

The Unity – The Unity Review

The Unity – The Unity Review

The Unity know a thing or two about history, two of its members having kicked tires in Gamma Ray for a spell, but the trip down memory that is their self-titled debut goes further than their own stomping grounds and offers an experience akin to a boisterous evening catching up with those legendary veterans. But this isn’t Just Another German Power Metal Band (JÄGPMB), as beneath the glossy Teutonic shell twitches layers of classic acts such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and – perhaps unsurprisingly – Helloween.” Who wants Jäger bombs?

Running Wild – Rapid Foray Review

Running Wild – Rapid Foray Review

“The pirate’s life is not for everyone. Extensive travel, oft unprofessional coworkers and arcane profit sharing arrangements conspire to limit the talent pool and keep opportunities scarce. None of that ever mattered to Running Wild. They took to the trade like a duck to water and from 1987 onward they’ve kept the marauder’s flag flying almost nonstop through hard times and rough seas. Rapid Foray is the third release since their 2012 “reformation” and as on Shadowmaker and Resilient, they’re not looking to reinvent the parrot.” Rum and rummer.

Sodom – Decision Day Review

Sodom – Decision Day Review

“As you get older, reminiscing becomes part of everyday life. Especially those pushing thirty, forty, fifty years old. Times were simpler in the old days and, while we’re wiser now, there’s a sense of envy for those days of ignorance. In 2016, AMG Industries, Inc. gives Sodom‘s thirty-year-old self an opportunity to look back at baby pictures. A few weeks ago we got an YMIO on Obsessed by Cruelty and now we get 2016’s Decision Day.” That baby was mighty ugly. So what’s the adult version looking like these days?

Vicious Rumors – Concussion Protocol Review

Vicious Rumors – Concussion Protocol Review

“Originally Steel Druhm was going to write this review, but I used my Inception-like powers to convince him I should handle it. I’ve spent the days since, chewing on my nails, wondering what the hell I’ve gotten myself into – no pressure at all! What to write?” Don’t screw this up, rookie!

Lacrimas Profundere – Hope is Here Review

Lacrimas Profundere – Hope is Here Review

Lacrimas Profundere is an awkward moniker that’s tough to say and harder to spell, but they’ve been one of the most successful and consistent goth-metal acts over the last 20 years. I really enjoyed 2010s The Grandiose Nowhere and 2013s Antiadore and they’ve proven to be one of the few goth acts that know how to inject real aggression and “metal” into their sound (so much so that I frequently include their music on play lists I run and work out to). Naturally, I expected their streak of quality outings to continue on Hope is Here, but this is a bit of a departure from their usual fare.” Hope is a cold, hard bitch.

Retro-Review: Blaze – Tenth Dimension

Retro-Review: Blaze – Tenth Dimension

Tenth Dimension got name-dropped in my “Top 15(ish) of the 2000s” from 2010 and I have mentioned it from time to time on the blog. Every time a few readers show up and say stuff like “Oh man, yeah! Such a sadly overlooked record!” And while it is sad that it’s been overlooked, Tenth Dimension was released in a pretty difficult context. Blaze Bayley was basically a musical leper who got signed to SPV because of his name and connections to Iron Maiden. The story of his first post-Maiden band is one where everything was stacked against them, including signing with a label that obviously didn’t expect the band to amount to anything. BLAZE‘s debut album, Silicon Messiah, got released on the same day as Brave New World, and (shock) no one heard it. Yet it was hard hitting, modern and conveniently in a key that worked for Bayley’s voice. It was also produced by Andy Sneap and was thick and heavy. Two years later, the band turned around and dropped a concept album called Tenth Dimension, which not only features some of my favorite artwork ever, but ranks among my favorite heavy metal records of all time. With a review of Blaze Bayley‘s Infinite Entanglement in the pipeline, it got me thinking about this amazing album again.” And rather than wax 800 words about it as an ‘intro’ to my review of the new record, I thought I’d give it its own post.