Power Metal

Goblins Blade – Of Angels and Snakes Review

Goblins Blade – Of Angels and Snakes Review

“I don’t know what prompted me to grab this debut album from Goblins Blade. It could be that I was sick of all the prog I listened to this month. It could be that I wanted to save the world from another Holdeneye 4.0. Or it could be that the lack of an apostrophe in this band name made me cringe enough to want to write about it. Regardless, here we sit with my first power metal review of the year, and with promo blurb name drops like Judas Priest and Metal Church, I am cautiously optimistic.” The problem with goblins.

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.

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.

Ani Lo. Projekt – A Time Called Forever Review

Ani Lo. Projekt – A Time Called Forever Review

“I have an irrational aversion to bands that name themselves after people. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always fantasized about being in a band, and choosing a righteous name for said band is always one of my favorite parts of the fantasy. Or perhaps it’s because, in my mind, a great band becomes something greater than the sum of its parts, a whole that transcends any one of its members. Or maybe it’s because I believe that the Dave Matthews Band is the very worst thing that humanity has ever produced.” What’s in a name?

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.

Demons & Wizards – III Review

Demons & Wizards – III Review

Blind Guardian has always fed my fantastical appetite through the years—providing me with stories and full concept records at a pace and with a passion that is pure fun. Then, there’s Iced Earth. A band that has given me plenty of headbangable moments and vivid imagery through their own concepts—even crushing my spirit at times with heartbreaking ballads and war/lost-love themes. When I first heard Demons & Wizards, I realized it was no different. In a single band, I could experience the storytelling nature of Blind Guardian and the crushing, yet crippling character of Iced Earth. For two—now three—records, this has been the goal of this power-metal duo. But, fifteen years is a long time to go without your partner-in-crime. Even identical twins can lose a connection after a decade-and-a-half of separation. So, what’s that mean for Kürsch and Schaffer and their precious III?” Two Demons, one Triwizard Cup.

Vision of Choice – Mistress of the Gods Review

Vision of Choice – Mistress of the Gods Review

“And then a record comes along that takes me right back to that storied past and refills my magic bar to 100%. Mistress of the Gods, the debut album from Germany’s Vision of Choice is one of those records. After close to thirty spins of this 57-minute monster, I’m still trying to come up with the best way to describe what it sounds like. Here’s the best I got: take the masculine riffs and baritone bellows of a band like Omen, mix it with some German speed a la Helloween or Blind Guardian, add some eccentric Savatage flair, and round it out with Mötley Crüe and Van Halen, and you might get close.” Hot pocket o’ metal.

Serious Black – Suite 226 Review

Serious Black – Suite 226 Review

“It’s no secret that Serious Black has fallen out of favor with me since 2016’s Mirrorworld. I mean, how do you fuck up a recipe as simple as As Daylight Breaks? Furthermore, how do you go from a Grier top-ten pick to a disappointment of the year? Well, it happened. Which found me almost missing out on 2017’s Magic and completely missing out on that same year’s acoustic release, First Light. And, when this year’s anticipated new record landed, I almost missed out again. For better or worse, Suite 226 is here with another concept story. This time a deranged lunatic rather than a top-hot magician. All I can say is buckle-up, kiddos. If I have to be here, then so do you.” Why so Serious?

DarkTribe – Voici l’homme Review

DarkTribe – Voici l’homme Review

“Rather than a refreshed take on a démodé genre, DarkTribe’s music feels as if abducted from the late 1990s or early 2000s and put into stasis, trapped in that timeline and preserved in a pristine state forever. So powerful and candid is this stylistic anachronism that the band’s third LP Voici l’homme acts as a rotten Proustian Madeleine, eternally evoking yet never reaching the sonic imagery of first encounters with bands such as Labyrinth, Stratovarius, and Evergrey.” Lost tribes.

Mystic Prophecy – Metal Division Review

Mystic Prophecy – Metal Division Review

“Back in 2007, I ran across the Myspace page of a band called Mystic Prophecy. My fire for trve heavy metal was still in its incipient stage at the time—a time that saw Manowar, Iron Maiden, and Iced Earth as my favorite bands—so when I heard “Demon’s Blood” and its immense bottom-end power metal attack on that soon-to-be-obsolete social media platform, I was giddy.” MySpace prophecies.