5.0

Moonsorrow – Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa Review

Moonsorrow – Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa Review

Moonsorrow is one of the few bands I can think of that no one I know doesn’t like. They seem to unite all fans of underground metal because of their amazing music and authenticity. Let’s face it, a band who writes 15 minute dirges in their native, and arguably alien, tongue doesn’t want for authenticity. Only a few other bands I can think of, like Primordial and Enslaved really have the respect of everyone in what they do. It’s like they’re playing on another plane of existence or something. That, predictably, raises expectations for new Moonsorrow records through the roof (to say the least). But unlike others, Moonsorrow never fails to deliver and Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa (Like Shadows we Walk through the Land of the Dead) is a monument to what atmospheric black metal should be like and to Moonsorrow’s impeccable legacy.

Solefald – Norrøn Livskunst Review

Solefald – Norrøn Livskunst Review

Solefald is just a cool band and they have been for a long time. I first got into their stuff with the epic Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey which came out in 2005 and that record has maintained a standard place in my discography because of its amazing blending of black metal, progressive metal and rock and unique Norse sounds. While I was not equally as impressed with Black for Death and I’ve been a bit hit or miss on some of the band’s older material, I’ve always appreciated the band’s unique approach to the music they produce and their intensely creative outputs. Nothing they have put out has really disappointed me, it’s just a matter of being more or less into it.

Angry Metal Guy’s Classics #4: Theatre of Tragedy – Velvet Darkness They Fear

Angry Metal Guy’s Classics #4: Theatre of Tragedy – Velvet Darkness They Fear

It’s been a while since I’ve updated a “classic record”, hasn’t it? But I think I’ve hit another one that is a must have for anyone who likes good metal. I mean, any kind of good metal at all. When I was just an Angry Metal Teenager I first was introduced to a bunch of stuff that I just couldn’t get into because it was too much for me. But there was one band that really pumped out a kind of music that I latched onto that was both heavy and melodic, but also extreme and cool. That band was Norway’s Theatre of Tragedy and that record which really turned me onto the band and later the “beauty and the beast style” (often imitated, but never improved upon) was the record Velvet Darkness They Fear.

Stormzone – Death Dealer Review

Stormzone – Death Dealer Review

Neal Kay, for those who don’t know, is widely credited with discovering and championing Iron Maiden way back in the day. Well, if that wasn’t service enough to the metal world, now he has helped bring us Northern Ireland’s classic metal masters Stormzone and their new album Death Dealer. This is no small accomplishment because, quite simply, this album is an absolute masterpiece of classic metal and full to the brim with top quality metal anthems. Stormzone is a band deeply entrenched in the early NWOBHM style and composed of musicians like vocalist John “Harv” Harbinson, with ties to bands of that era (Sweet Savage, Fastway). All the trappings of the British metal invasion are here and fans of that sound and seminal masters like of Saxon and Grim Reaper will immediately hear it in the sound and attitude exhibited on Death Dealer.

Pain of Salvation – Road Salt pt. 1 – Ivory – Review

Pain of Salvation – Road Salt pt. 1 – Ivory – Review

One would assume that an Angry Metal Guy wouldn’t be handing out high scores willy nilly, something I seriously try to avoid doing. But apparently 2010 is a year filled with really fantastic albums by bands doing the things that, as a reviewer, and more specifically, as a music-lover, I have trouble not totally falling for. Pain of Salvation has never been a band that I personally fell for. Scarsick, the band’s 2007 release, was a record that I had issues with and I’ve had some personal gripes about Daniel Gildenlöw’s vocals on the older material (specifically his wannabe Mike Patton rappy/talky vocals). But, that said, Pain of Salvation has long been the darling of the progressive rock and metal scene, with legions of fans who love their technical prowess and pop sensibility.

Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels Review

Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels Review

It seems forever since Italian power metallers, and just generally over-the-top crafters of Symphonic Hollywood Metal (or as I called it in one of my very earliest reviews “Sword Swinging Elf Metal”) produced an album. And really, in terms of the modern music industry it has been a very long time. Rhapsody of Fire’s last album, Triumph or Agony, was released in 2006 to almost no fanfare. I didn’t see a single advertisement for the album, I never knew that it was being released and I had no idea that they had even been working on a new album at all. One day I just walked into my local record store and saw it on the shelf there. The total lack of build-up foreshadowed how I felt about the album, and frankly the record that had gone before it: it lacked what I was looking for in a Rhapsody of Fire album. The guitar orientation was gone, the songs were not as huge, the guitar not as bombastic and the feel was generally one that I just could never really get into. Both Symphony of Enchanted Lands pt. II and Triumph or Agony, while technically filling the standards set by the band, certainly didn’t live up to what I see as the band’s crowning jewel Power of the Dragonflame.

Angry Metal Guy’s Classics #3: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Angry Metal Guy’s Classics #3: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

“Seven deadly sins, seven ways to win, seven holy paths to hell and your trip begins. Seven downward slopes, seven bloodied hopes, seven are your burning fires. Seven your desires…” Cue the keyboards and the power chords. Anyone who knows this album and loves it knows exactly what I’m talking about. Possibly the coolest album intro of all time, to the best heavy metal record ever written: Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR Review

Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR Review

Few bands will ever make their own mark on a genre of music. it’s just a statistical rarity. Someone once told me that there are something like 5 million bands on MySpace, if that gives you an idea of the breadth which exists when one is thinking in terms of how many musicians there are out there. Of those, most of them probably last longer than a year, never produce much of a demo much less get signed to a real label, and how many ever produce a real step forward into a new decade with a statement of great things to come? The chances of becoming a professional musician are basically NIL and then of the number that do, how many ever produce something that will be remembered and affect enough listeners to ever influence any? That number is even smaller. Orphaned Land is one of the few bands that will ever exact change in metal and they are doing so now with their new record The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR.

In Mourning – Monolith Review

In Mourning – Monolith Review

In 2008 the underground was taken by storm by a little-known Swedish progressive death metal band called In Mourning that released a tour de force entitled Shrouded Divine. A powerful combination of melodic death metal, Opeth-y style progressive bits and death metal with just a touch of core (trust me, just a touch), they were ranked highly on many year end lists and, frankly, left a bit of an impression on this Angry Metal Guy. See, there is life past Opeth in Swedish progressive metal, something that I had been coming to doubt. In Mourning managed to put out a record that had all of the great heaviness and thickness that one wants in a death metal record, while still managing to keep the haunting progressive parts fresh and interesting. The question is can they keep it up? Is it possible that they’re able to follow up such a lauded record with something even better?

The 11th Hour – Burden of Grief Review

The 11th Hour – Burden of Grief Review

When I started this review zine I had a friend who told me that I shouldn’t write in the first person on here. That as a reviewer I was to try to write objectively, like my opinion is fact and not simply a jaded metal guy on the Internet spewing his opinions about records. I think this is impossible for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that we all like certain things and dislike other things. I’ve been decried by readers for liking certain records that are apparently aren’t metal enough for them. Whereas others think I’m too hard on their favorite band. But this record proves my point that one needs to write from a place of opinion. See, I have never been the world’s biggest doom metal fan. To be totally frank, I associate a lot of doom with “funeral doom” or “drone doom,” which is a genre that I find to be incredibly boring. And honestly, I like bands that bring it with intensity and speed. I like staccato riffing and tight technicality and progressive approaches. I’ll make no bones about it, I normally associate slow and boring in my brain. That’s right, I probably have hated on your favorite doom metal band of all time at one point or another. So consider that when you’re reading this review and take it for what it is.