Darkthrone – Circle the Wagons Review

Darkthrone – Circle the Wagons Review

This review is late. Nearly three months late in fact. But perhaps it is best to look at Darkthrone’s Circle the Wagons outside of the usual fervor surrounding an iconic band releasing new material, especially one that sets internet message boards alight as much as Darkthrone. Despite being considered the grandfathers of the True Norwegian Black Metal genre, Fenriz and Nocturo Culto have now become one of the more hated bands in extreme metal. Their drastic shift away from the sound that they pioneered; adopting a more crust punk, thrashy, rock ‘n roll influenced approach polarized their fanbase and turned their recent albums into records you will either love or hate.

Empuse – The Beginning of the End (1995)

Empuse – The Beginning of the End (1995)

What was happening in your life in 1995? Maybe you weren’t into metal yet, or maybe you weren’t aware that there was something growing in the heart of Sweden that would soon be one of the most successful and influential scenes in the history of heavy metal. Between 1994 and 1996 a myriad of amazing records were released from Scandinavia, Sweden in particular, but also the budding black metal scene in Norway was going on and even Finland was producing Amorphis records. Katatonia released For Funerals to Come that year, as well as it being the year of the mighty Slaughter of the Soul in 1995 as well. Go through your iTunes or on RYM or wherever and check out what was going on.

More Shroud of Despondency Amazingness

As far as I’m concerned, one of Wisconsin and Michigan’s best kept secrets is the solo project of one Rory Heikkila: Shroud of Despondency. I posted earlier about his amazing tracks from the record Objective: Isolation which is soon to be released (hopefully). And now, he’s apparently gotten together with the drummer and vocalist from Owlscry to create 5 new tracks of fucking amazing black metal. This stuff is sans bass and vocals and “slightly unmixed” and still it is fucking better than most of the stuff I’m getting in as promos. It is fucking phenomenal, to say the least. One observer put it like this: “Dude, your music is so good it makes me cry.” Not because it’s so emotionally evocative (though, it’s that too) but because it’s just so fucking good and as a musician you can’t help but be a little jealous.

H.E.A.T. – Freedom Rock Review

H.E.A.T. – Freedom Rock Review

It is more and more apparent to me every day that heavy metal is going into a hibernation stage. As an Angry Metal Guy I try to keep my ear to the ground for movement in a forward direction, particularly from younger people. Instead, there’s nothing but a rash of neo-heavy metal and thrash bands that flood the market as apparently 18 year olds all feel like the really missed out on thrash and are out of ideas. But what’s worse than kids writing thrash metal records that could’ve been written in 1982? Kids writing butt rock albums that should’ve been written in the dying throws of 1980s cock rock in about 1991. That’s right, H.E.A.T., from the same town as venerable rockers Europe have decided to run with 1980s action movie theme as the basis for their sound.

Blaze Videos in Stockholm

The Swedish blogger (and ridiculously fucking metal) Demonia has posted some pictures and videos (in Swedish, though, she’s got Google translator embedded for the foreigners) from Blaze Bayley’s show in Stockholm. I, being Poor Metal Guy, managed to miss this one, but hopefully they’ll be back soon (though, what with shedding their manager and drummer in the last few days I’m not sure when that’ll actually be). Anyway, the turnout seems like it was actually pretty damn good and the band is on. I have to say that their bassist (David Bermudez) is one of the best heavy metal performers I’ve ever seen. I commented on it from the live DVD, the dude is just a fucking beast. Los hermanos Bermúdez are pretty awesome in general, I’d say. I’ll post four here, but she’s got others on her blog and some on YouTube as well.

Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here Review

Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here Review

Where the hell does one even start with Anathema. The band has been in a state of flux for quite a while. The last thing they put out was Hindsight which, quite obviously, was not technically considered a standard release (despite it being my top record of 2008, a very dry year for metal in this Angry Metal Guy’s opinion). That means it’s been five years since A Natural Disaster an album that I found to be remarkably underwhelming, as it followed up one of the finest albums of the entire 2000s: A Fine Day to Exit. But it has, indeed, been 9 years since Anathema released a new album that I was super excited about. Everyone keeps asking “was 7 years worth it?” Well, for me it’s more like “was 9 years worth it?”

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.

Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy Review

Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy Review

Nevermore has always held a special place in the metal community with both fans and other bands alike looking up to and respecting them. It isn’t hard to see why they command this level of respect, with world-class guitarist Jeff Loomis and vocalist extraordinaire Warrel Dane both calling Nevermore home. Because of this high profile and superb talent, a lot is expected from Nevermore and for the most part, album to album, Nevermore have consistently delivered the goods. Therefore, the arrival of a new slab of metal from these guys is always a pretty big deal and after waiting five years since The Godless Endeavor, we finally get The Obsidian Conspiracy.

Ragnarok – Collectors of the King Review

Ragnarok – Collectors of the King Review

It’s about time someone took black metal to some new exciting levels. A music style can only go so far until it becomes somewhat stale, and for every album released, there are ten others that do the same thing – and almost none of the time is it markedly better. Black metal is no exception, and I have a lot of respect for bands that try something new and innovative. But there are some bands that don’t need to. Some bands, no matter how many albums they release of the same style, never grow stale and are always the best of the trade when it comes to the style of music they perform.