5.0

White Wizzard – The Devil’s Cut Review

White Wizzard – The Devil’s Cut Review

“Everything about this record is perfect. From the wacky, bright, colorful and sharp-looking album artwork to the catchy operatic singing, Los Angeles band White Wizzard makes sure that every detail not only pays homage to traditional heavy metal, but is also (more importantly) given a modern touch as well. The musical similarities to earlier heavy metal bands (especially Judas Priest and Iron Maiden) can definitely be heard [O RLY? – AMG]. But the music sounds a little too modern to be considered ‘traditional heavy metal.'” Whenever the word ‘perfect’ starts getting tossed around the AMG office, the staff gets mighty nervous. Happy Metal Guy always gives us trouble, but now the psychotic horse is fully out of the burning stable and White Wizzard is to blame. Oh, the huge manatee!!

Sigh – In Somniphobia Review

Sigh – In Somniphobia Review

Bands really get the shit end of the stick sometimes, and one of the areas that this happens with is the concept of change. On the one hand, a band is never supposed to change their sound. Their fans will freeeeak out and everyone will call what they do a big pile of shit (how about that last Drudkh album, went from darling of the scene to whipping boy in the matter of a day). On the other hand, others will hear a record from a band that functionally the same and say something cocky like “Is Cannibal Corpse even remotely relevant anymore?” [Oh wait, that was me and everyone got mad. — AMGSigh is one of those bands that I think threads that needle perfectly—offering up records every couple of years that change their sound, while keeping the core in place. In Somniphobia is really no exception to this rule—and it triumphantly continues the band’s current success streak.

Riot – Immortal Soul Review

Riot – Immortal Soul Review

Steel Druhm is as happy as a pig in shite! You see, one of my all time favorite metal albums is Riot’s Thundersteel. Although it was released way back in 1988, I still listen to it regularly and felt the burning need to write a Retro-spective Review of it a few months ago to spread the gospel. So masterful was that platter, Riot never even came close to equaling it with their later output. In fact, the immortal Thundersteel lineup only recorded one more album together (the very good Privilege of Power) and after that, things dropped off a lot. Now, twenty-three long years later, that powerhouse lineup has reunited to record a proper followup to their magnum opus. Naturally, I was skeptical they could re-bottle the might and magic and create something as brilliant, especially after so many years. Well, I was wrong to doubt, because Immortal Soul is the modern day version of Thundersteel and the best album of 2011 (so far). It has everything that made the Thundersteel sound so intoxicating. There’s speed, power, wailing vocals, blistering guitars, top-flight song writing, amazingly catchy melodies, choruses and smart lyrics. It’s a winner every way an album can be and its the record I’ve been praying for Riot to write since ’88. If you love the classic, traditional sounds of Judas Priest (think Painkiller), Iron Maiden and especially American acts like Jag Panzer and old Agent Steel, this will blow you away. If you, like me, loved Thundersteel, prepare to be stunned, stupefied and shellacked.

Voyager – The Meaning of I Review

Voyager – The Meaning of I Review

Now here’s something quite a bit different! Australia’s Voyager has been tinkering with their odd blend of progressive space metal for a while now. However, here on album number four The Meaning of I, they’ve really hit on the perfect blend of influences and styles. Taking elements of traditional, power, progressive and even death metal, Voyager fuses it all together and the result is an odd, hyper-melodic and unique album that’s as intelligent as it is catchy (and its VERY catchy). As a big fan of their 2009 release I Am the Revolution, I expected great things and even I was surprised by how good this ended up. With traces of Nevermore, Star One, Tyr, Pagan’s Mind, Scar Symmetry, Vanden Plas and Anubis Gate swirling about in a creative maelstrom, you should certainly expect the unexpected. Despite the plethora of influences, The Meaning of I ends up a cohesive and compelling release with one killer song after another and brains til Tuesday. In case that doesn’t have you interested yet, they may be the only metal band currently using a melodica both in the studio and live. Call them spacey-prog or astral-metal but whatever tag you throw on them, they rock muchly. Can you tell Steel Druhm is impressed? He is.

Rhapsody of Fire – From Chaos to Eternity Review

Rhapsody of Fire – From Chaos to Eternity Review

Rhapsody of Fire is like the kyrptonite of Angry Metal Guy’s Law of Diminishing Recordings™. While they did have diminished recordings when they signed with Magic Circle Records (PRO-TIP: the “magic circle” in question is your anus… which will get fucked by Joey DeMaio), the last two years have been tremendously productive for these Italians. First, they came back with 2010’s The Frozen Tears of Angels which was an amazing success by all accounts and received a raving 5/5 review from me. Then they released The Cold Embrace of Fear which wasn’t exactly the greatest thing they ever did, but it was good and had some solid songs even if it contained far more voice acting than I’d’ve liked (“IT’S AN AVALANCHE!!”). And they managed to drop a guitarist and pick up another one (by the name of Tom Hess) on the way. But now this. From Chaos to Eternity.

Falconer – Armod Review

Falconer – Armod Review

hate Falconer. Okay, that’s not really true, but I have never liked Falconer, let’s put it that way. I first got wind of these guys with the publication of their second album Chapters of a Vale Forlorn and I was very unimpressed. Since then I’ve heard a things here and there, and nothing convinced me away from my previous conviction. I didn’t think what I heard was particularly good, nor did I think it was particularly interesting. In spite of the fact that I’m a huge fan of guitarist Stefan Weinerhall and drummer Karsten Larsson’s previous project Mithotyn (an absolutely underrated band), the power metal tinged Falconer never did anything for me at all.

That is, until I heard Armod.