Retro Reviews

Retro-spective Review: Emperor – In The Nightside Eclipse

Retro-spective Review: Emperor – In The Nightside Eclipse

“Has it really been 20 years? Goddamn, I feel old. In 1994 PG (Pre-Grymm), I was a high-school sophomore with an in-between mullet/long-hair, burnt out on mainstream metal (“90s Metal Weirdness,” anyone?), and I was looking for darker, heavier, faster affairs. With some recommendations from friends as well as some trusty advice from the long-dormant-and-majorly-missed Metal Maniacs magazine, I would be introduced to a slew of new (to me) bands, including one by a bunch of teenagers from Norway who would be creating, and later changing, the blackest of all musical landscapes to come…” Grymm gets in the Wayback Machine for a wistful look at one of the defining moments in Black Metal History. He’s a wistful guy, that Grymm.

Retro-spective Review: Obsession – Scarred for Life

Retro-spective Review: Obsession – Scarred for Life

“Of all the albums one listens to in a lifetime, there are always those elite, sacrosanct platters that never get old, always sound fresh and perpetually deliver that same thrill they did upon the virgin spin. For whatever reason, Obsession‘s debut Scarred for Life is one of those special pleasures for yours truly.” Steel Druhm takes you on a tour of one of his most beloved albums. Beware of chronic fanboyism.

Retro-Spective Review: The Autumn Offering – Embrace the Gutter

Retro-Spective Review: The Autumn Offering – Embrace the Gutter

“The name “The Autumn Offering” evokes the mental image of a hooded cultist bent down on his knees, holding up a platter of orange, rotting leaves as a leafy sacrifice of some sort to some leaf-munchin’ goat demon. But as a band that was once signed to Jamey Jasta’s Stillborn Records, The Autumn Offering is hardly obsessed with the environment or the occult.” Happy Metal Guy goes back to 2006 to regale us with tales of quality metalcore. Fairy tales maybe? You make the call.

Retro-spective Review: Exciter – Heavy Metal Maniac

Retro-spective Review: Exciter – Heavy Metal Maniac

“Unlike some of the olden chestnuts I’ve tabbed for a retro-spective look back, Exciter is a bit better known and had a more successful run in the gerbil wheel of metal. Still, I feel like they’re one of those bands tumbling off the radar of younger bashers, and that’s a low down, dirty shame! Along with Anvil, Exciter was one of Canada’s earliest metal exports and, like Anvil, they played a part in the birth of the speed/thrash genres.” Steel Druhm takes us for a nostalgia-filled look back at the power and fury of Canada’s contribution to thrash, Exciter. For those aboot to rock, we salute you.

Retro-spective Review: Exorcist – Nightmare Theater

Retro-spective Review: Exorcist – Nightmare Theater

“Even in the strange annals of metal history, the Exorcist saga is particularly weird. As an early entry into the fledgling death metal scene, they released but one album and then promptly vanished without a trace as surely as if they went into Metal Band Witness Protection. No live shows, no album signing appearances, no interviews in crappy DIY zines, no nothing! Making them all the more mysterious was the fact that only one super crappy, out of focus photo of the band existed (which included one guy in reverse KKK garb).” Who were Exorcist and what the hell happened to them? More importantly, why should you even care. Because Steel Druhm says so, that’s fucking why!

Retro-Spective Review: Barren Cross – Atomic Arena

Retro-Spective Review: Barren Cross – Atomic Arena

“We don’t get much “white metal” around these here parts. Not that we’re opposed (well, Madam X and Noctus are), but there isn’t much of it out there and even less that’s actually notable. There was a time where it was more in vogue though, and acts like Stryper crafted an entire identity around being good Christian soldiers under God’s righteous command. While I never cared much for those preachy yellow jackets, I did enjoy one release by a band standing in their pious shadow. Barren Cross was a Christian act hailing from Los Angeles of all places and though they were preachy too, they backed it up with far more metal than Stryper ever did.” It’s time for some good, old fashioned God Metal here at AMG. Wait, come back!! It’s hardly Godly at all, you wicked biscuits!

Retro-spective Review: Cities – Annihilation Absolute

Retro-spective Review: Cities – Annihilation Absolute

“With these retro reviews, I’ve balanced albums from bands that had a decent following at one time and then fell off the map (Riot, Holy Terror) with those that had virtually no following at all despite a quality release (Hall Aflame, Damn the Machine). Count Cities as one of the latter…for sure. As a side band for Twisted Sister‘s drummer A.J. Pero, Cities spent the 80s toiling in extreme obscurity, with only a small, but loyal fanclub in and around the New York area. With numerous line-up changes and breakups, they only managed one album; the excellent Annihilation Absolute and then promptly sank into nothingness.” If you were about to stop reading because you saw a mention of Twisted Sister, hold your horses! Steel Druhm wants to introduce you to the New York band that SHOULD HAVE been the 80s sensation!

Retro-spective Review: Wicked Maraya – Cycles

Retro-spective Review: Wicked Maraya – Cycles

“When I do these little retro-reviews, I try to find albums that really had a lot to offer, but somehow never caught the public’s attention. Be it bad marketing, poor timing or short band life, there’s always a reason why a high-quality album slips through the cracks into oblivion. Perhaps no better example exists than Wicked Maraya and their debut album Cycles. Steel Druhm’s clinical diagnosis here is one of terminally poor timing. While Cycles sported a winning and catchy-as-fuck traditional heavy metal sound that strikes me as a darker, edgier, more proggy Queensryche mixed with Crimson Glory and Nevermore, it arrived at the very height of the Seattle grudge explosion where everything metal was forced back underground after a decade of prominence and popularity.” More goodies from the vault? Steel Druhm is in a giving mode to be sure. Ignore the terrible band name and awful album cover and let’s all focus on what counts: the music!

Retro-spective Review: Hall Aflame – Guaranteed Forever

Retro-spective Review: Hall Aflame – Guaranteed Forever

“I’ve been meaning to write a retro-review of this bad boy for a long time since it’s the very definition of “buried treasure.” Sadly, it’s an equally good example of a winning release that slipped through the cracks and fell into oblivion. Hall Aflame was a project launched by Metal Church founder/guitarist/main writer Kurdt Vanderhoof after quitting the band due to tour burnout. While there are trace elements of his main band in the sound. Guaranteed Forever is a weird amalgam of southern hard rock, blues and metal that borrows heavily from acts like The Cult, Jackyl, Tesla and The Four Horsemen.” Steel Druhm dives back into the vault of metal and finds yet another forgotten or overlooked album that should get a second look. Look at it!!!!

Cerekloth – In the Midst of Life We are in Death Review

Cerekloth – In the Midst of Life We are in Death Review

“Edvard Munch’s series of paintings, The Scream, has long held a fascination for me, from Munch’s depiction of the blood red sky to the raw emotion and suffering in the screamers eyes, as images they’re almost stifling to look at. Cerekloth have taken The Scream a step further. They’ve intensified the colors, honed in on the screamer, they’ve given you a passage into where this torture is coming from and they’ve added a bone chilling soundtrack – life meets art? Bursting onto the scene back in 2008 after putting blackened death outfit Church Bizarre temporarily on ice, the release of the debut EP Pandemonium Prayers saw Cerekloth added to Hells Headbangers for the release of a demo and an additional EP Halo of Syringes. And now a full 5 years later, Denmark based Cerekloth return with the Reaper in toe driving it home that death is a part of life, putting death and darkness back into death metal with In the Midst of Life We are in Death. Color me embarrassed for letting this devastating collaboration of aggression and chilling sensations slip through the cracks and go unnoticed!” Madam X gets extra dark and scary as she examines the painful and tortured death metal of Cerekloth. You wouldn’t like her when she’s super scary!