3.5

Panychida – Gabreta Aeterna Review

Panychida – Gabreta Aeterna Review

Panychida began as a fairly meat-and-‘taters black metal project in 2004, but has gradually been expanding its sound to include a greater emphasis on the classic heavy and thrash bands of yore. Gabreta Aeterna is the band’s most expansive and diverse effort yet, going all-in on the thrash, complete with righteous solos and rock-with-your-cock out passages.” Blackness in a hard place.

Diamond Head – Lightning to the Nations 2020 Review

Diamond Head – Lightning to the Nations 2020 Review

“I am not a fan of bands rerecording old classic material. But I make an exception in the case of Lightning to the Nations 2020, the latest offering from NWoBHM elders Diamond Head. Why? Because I can kill two birds with one stone: I write my weekly review as well as a Yer Metal Is Olde article at the same time. Now that’s how you maintain high efficiency! The crux if this review won’t be “how good is this album?” We already know Lightning to the Nations is a super album. It will be “do we need this version?” That’s what enquiring minds want to know.”” Lightning strikes twice?

Tombs – Under Sullen Skies Review

Tombs – Under Sullen Skies Review

“In the early 2010s, powered by bands such as Deafheaven and Liturgy, “hipster metal” became the favorite pejorative for acts that thumbed traditional metal conventions. Embraced by the mainstream, many of these groups, unfortunately, just weren’t very good, which led to metal purists rejecting them. This resulted in said mainstream accusing said purists of being snobby gatekeepers. Cue lots of sulking, posturing and finger wagging. In among the noise, however, were some real gems that were unfairly tainted by the “hipster metal” label. Although less overtly “subversive” (read: “pretentious”) than their  Brooklyn counterparts, Liturgy, Tombs weirdly found themselves in this boat with their excellent debut, 2011’s Paths of Totality.” Trend Tombs.

Soulburn – Noa’s D’ark Review

Soulburn – Noa’s D’ark Review

Originally formed by two members of Asphyx when their band went on hiatus, Soulburn resurfaced under their original moniker in 2014, after a hiatus of their own and a stint carrying the name To The Gallows during which Rogga Johanssen briefly joined the line-up. Nowadays, the cast still includes founding member Eric Daniels, as well as Legion of the Damned guitarist Twan van Geel and Graceless members Remco Kreft and Marc Verhaar. On paper, a team like this should be able to make a pretty killer record.” Death reclamation.

Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron Review

Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron Review

“There are more swords hanging over our heads than usual lately in the Skull Pit of Unsafe Hanging Cutlery. With Megaton Sword fresh in our collective mindsheaths, here comes the might and majesty of Austin, Texas natives Eternal Champion. Ravening Iron is the band’s sophomore opus and it’s an improvement over 2016s entertainingly olde school The Armor of Ire.” Sword hoarders.

Megaton Sword – Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire Review

Megaton Sword – Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire Review

“Is that a Megaton Sword in your armor or are you just happy to see me? In trvth it is I who is happy to see Megaton Sword riding the tide of righteous battle on their debut full-length ode to all things edged and deadly. This Swiss cutthroat crew is carved from the same olde school stone as acts like VisigothEternal Champion, and ageless legends like Cirith Ungol, and they deliver heroic tales of braver and medieval butchery on the excellently titled Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire.” Big iron.

Countless Skies – Glow Review

Countless Skies – Glow Review

“UK melodic death crew Countless Skies impressed on their 2016 debut, New Dawn. Although in hindsight I was perhaps a little too generous with my final evaluation, the album signaled a rising voice worth keeping close track of. Some four years later, Countless Skies return rejuvenated, and with the backing of none other than Willowtip Records, a slightly left field label for the band’s rich, layered melodeath tapestry. The intervening years have treated Countless Skies well, and sophomore platter Glow, sounds like a band more comfortable and confident with their lush blend of gorgeous melody, progressive arrangements, and dynamic shifts into heavier realms.” Glow and steady.

Decembre Noir – The Renaissance of Hope Review

Decembre Noir – The Renaissance of Hope Review

“Has there ever been an album cover that seems to be more of a direct contradiction of the title than this one? A man drowning his wife is The Renaissance of Hope? Seems counter to the theme, until one examines the lyrics and subject matter of this, Decembre Noir’s fourth album. Hope is a very personal subject, especially when viewed through the lens of euthanasia. The hope of the person who is finally allowed to die versus the anguish of the person fulfilling the wish.” The fragility of hope.

Pyramaze – Epitaph Review

Pyramaze – Epitaph Review

“There was a time when Pyramaze threatened to become my favorite prog-metal band. With their Melancholy Beast debut highly impressing, and follow up Legend of the Bone Carver completely blowing me away, I was very much on the Pyramaze war wagon and looking forward to more flawless victories. Sadly, vocalist Lance King departed, and third album Immortal was a step down despite heroic vocal efforts by Matt Barlow. Seven years went by before we got the next album, this one featuring the unknown Terje Harøy on the mic. Disciples of the Sun was a big comeback for Pyramaze, showcasing a new direction and an abundance of impossibly catchy songs. Two years later however, the band took another downturn on Contingent by trying to create a bigger-than-life concept album with a movie soundtrack sheen that ended up feeling more pretentious than interesting. This brings us to their sixth outing, Epitaph.” Grave new world.