NWOBHM

Amulet – The Inevitable War Review

Amulet – The Inevitable War Review

“A few weeks back, I received a cube-shaped item from Madam X. After spending the requisite time aligning the mirrors in my chamber of decoding, the sun’s light finally shone upon said box which opened to reveal a promo and the following message: “Steel thought you might enjoy this one.” With enormous shame do I remember the arrogance and ungratefulness I exhibited upon that day when I dispatched the coif-clad courier back to AMG HQ with said promo and some form of “Thanks, but I’m good.” While I thought I had moved on and gone about my business, over the following days an almost imperceptible sound began to grow into a still, small voice and finally erupted into a siren’s wail, drawing me to the edge of the promo bin upon my hands and knees. With all of my might, I screamed my repentance towards the sky — “I must have the Amulet!”” Don’t sass the Steel.

Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly Review

Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly Review

“Yet, dread begins to grip you as you recognize the name and realize Haunt put up their debut less than a year ago. That’s never a good sign, is it? This can only end in one of two scenarios: this new release is a rushed, directionless piece of shit or If Icarus Could Fly is Part II to Burst into Flame.” Spirited or spirit adrift?

Pounder – Uncivilized Review

Pounder – Uncivilized Review

“Sometimes, rarely, there is value in a stupid band name, the kind of band name that causes one to double-take, think “surely not,” and pry open the battered, stained crate in the promo bin, if only for more information. So it is with Pounder, side project of Exhumed and Gruesome‘s Matt Harvey, Carcass newcomer Tom Draper, and Nausea’s Alejandro Corredor. Despite the death metal pedigrees of the musicians, that dreadful name telegraphs everything you need to know about what to expect: brainless, cheesy, and oh so 80s.” Death to the 80s!

Traveler – Traveler Review

Traveler – Traveler Review

“Another month, another retro band dropping an album on our doorstep. Do we need more retro bands? Actually, we need more of every kind of band, if they’re capable of writing great songs. That will be the key here, as local (to me) boys Traveler aim to blow the lid off the retro/proto scene with eight songs of caffeine-injected, high-energy metallic romps down memory lane. In this case, if that lane had a name, it would be Manilla Road (see what I did there?).” Olde but still getting around.

Trauma – As the World Dies Review

Trauma – As the World Dies Review

“Last month I reviewed the latest Very Good release from Flotsam and Jetsam, a band known more for their contribution to Metallica than to thrash music in general. Well, not to be outdone, here comes Trauma, a band that should be known even more so for their contribution to Metallica. After all, it was Trauma that gifted the inimitable Cliff Burton to Metallica, and as we all know, the rest is history. And it was history for this Sunset Strip band: their debut album, Scratch and Scream, came out two years after Burton departed, and it was another three decades before their follow-up, Rapture and Wrath, dropped. Now here they are with As the World Dies, their third album (a mere three years after their second, instead of thirty), and another attempt to establish themselves as more than just a footnote in metal history.” And it certainly won’t be their cover art that does it, so can their music?

Tank – Sturmpanzer Review

Tank – Sturmpanzer Review

“Sometimes we get what we want, and sometimes we get what we deserve. Here I am, trudging towards the end of the year, relying on headmistress Madam X to dole out the review rewards and punishments as she sees fit – except for this week. This week, she forgot about little old me, and what did I see lurking in the promo bin? Tank. How did Steel Druhm, my cohort in late-middle-age, not grab this? Both of us remember the original Tank from way back in the early 80s, with their punk/proto take on the whole NWOBHM movement briefly endearing them to many.” Tanked.

Stormwitch – Bound to the Witch Review

Stormwitch – Bound to the Witch Review

Stormwitch is the Captain America of metal music: Perpetually out of sync with the times and what’s going on around them. Heavily influenced by the NWoBHM, they released their Walpurgis Night debut in 1984 just as the style was on the wane. They switched to a more commercial style on albums like 1986s Stronger Than Heaven as the thrash explosion engulfed the world. By 1989 they were dabbling in cheesy, ballad-heavy Euro-power as extreme metal was growing in popularity and the whole scene was on the brink of near annihilation by the Seattle grunge movement. Long story short: Stormwitch put out 10 albums at the wrong time and never broke it big.” Witches, man…

Seven Sisters – The Cauldron and the Cross Review

Seven Sisters – The Cauldron and the Cross Review

“Although I tend to dabble in extreme metal more often, make no mistake, I do love the traditional stuff. I have fond memories of my brother and I pouring over the lyrics to Iron Maiden‘s “The Trooper” until we could recite them flawlessly — a skill we both still keenly possess. Seven Sisters, a band thusly named for the area of North London they hail from, share my love of the classic craft, as evident on their second full-length, The Cauldron and the Cross.” Trooper metal.