Accept

Battle Beast – Steel Review

Battle Beast – Steel Review

So there Steel Druhm was, sitting with a promo entitled Steel by the unknown Finns called Battle Beast. A quick perusal of the song titles made it clear they graduated Summa Cum LOUDLY from the Manowar School of Song Namery, as the numerous mentions of “metal,” “steel” and “iron” attest. The cover features a lion man fighting a robot as drawn by a ten year old at metal summer camp. Despite my renowned power metal geekdom, I felt a sense of dread and apprehension as I pressed play. Well damn it all if this thing isn’t full of surprises. Steel is a raging slab of frenetic, over-the-top 80’s metal worship that ladles out heaping helpings of thick cheese sauce and demands that you take seconds. Raging twin guitars, heroic solos, uber dramatic song structures and the vocals, Dear God the vocals!! The singer has a huge set of lungs and an even bigger set of balls which are frequently stuck in a vice! From gravelly, rasping shouts, air raid siren screams and superior singing, he can do it all and its so damn metal it kills my neighbor’s lawn. Imagine my shock to find out there are no balls to put in the vice because the HE is actually a SHE! That’s right, Nitte Valo is a true metal queen and she’s flat out brilliant on this album. However, unless you love the classic sounds of 80’s metal (think Grim Reaper, old Grave Digger, Accept) mixed with a smattering of power metal, this will leave you running for the door but quick. It revels in all the cliches and idiocy of that era and these folks certainly aren’t trying to be the next Opeth. You still with me? OK, stay with me.

U.D.O – Rev-Raptor Review

U.D.O – Rev-Raptor Review

U.D.O. is back! The diminutive Teutonic terror who’s gravelly cackle defined the sound of Accept for decades has resurfaced with yet another solo album (his thirteenth!). This time out however, he does so in the very large shadow cast by his former unit’s 2010 release Blood of Nations. That opus was a classic metal monster and ended up near the top of my best of 2010 list. Since Rev-Raptor will inevitably be seen by many as Udo Dirkschneider’s return salvo, the obvious question becomes, how does it measure up? Well, in all fairness, Mr. Udo has released far more records under the U.D.O. moniker than he ever released with Accept. That said, he’s still famous as the “voice” of Accept so the comparison is to be expected. In short, no, this isn’t on par with Blood of Nations, but its still a solid traditional metal album with some entertaining numbers that will make you bang your head the old fashioned way. If you’ve heard any of the prior U.D.O. albums, you know what to expect here since there’s been scarce variation across his long and storied discography. Its raucous 80’s style classic metal, much like classic Accept, with few frills but plenty of balls (to the wall) and the man’s trademark screech. If that sounds good to you, read on (AMG has already left the building and set it on fire).

Bloodbound – Unholy Cross Review

Bloodbound – Unholy Cross Review

When I first heard that super talented metal vocalist Urban Breed had left the excellent Tad Morose I was very unhappy. When he popped up in the strangely corpse painted but great classic metal band Bloodbound for their 2006 debut, I was happy again. Then he left, then he came back, and now he’s left yet again. C’mon man, what the hell are you doing? As the ever fickle Mr. Breed contemplates his career options, the boys in Bloodbound soldiered on without him and are set to release their fourth platter Unholy Cross. With vocals now being handled by Patrik Johnansson (Dawn of Silence), Unholy Cross finds Bloodbound bouncing back and forth between their usual classic metal sound and modern Euro-power metal similar to Edguy, Mystic Prophecy and Stratovarius. Gone is the slick blend of classic and modern metal they explored on 2009’s excellent Tabula Rasa and sadly, a lot of the overall excitement seems leeched from their sound this time as well. While still worthwhile, this is inferior to their earlier material, especially Tabula Rasa.

Zero Illusions – Oblivion Review

Zero Illusions – Oblivion Review

As the metal universe impatiently awaits releases by the biggies like Amon Amarth, Symphony X and the Godly Amorphis, we metal reviewers have to make due with what’s available and try to conceal our girlish glee over the impending major releases. Unfortunately for the Steel Druhm, today’s selection didn’t do much to distract my geekish anticipation for what lies ahead. For consideration is Oblivion, the second full-length release by Swedish heavy metal/hard rockers Zero Illusions. Formerly known (to very few) as Pain and Passion and billed as a progressive/power metal unit, there’s apparently a lot of buzz in the Swedish underground around these gents as the next “big thing” [Though it’s fair to point out that said buzz may be entirely fabricated by the band’s bio which hails them as the next big thing and describes how everyone is talking about it. – AMG]. After repeated listens to Oblivion, I’m at a loss to understand either the progressive metal tag or the overall buzz. I’m quite sure these guys won’t be the next big or medium size thing out of Sweden and while Zero illusions isn’t going to blow the lid of any metal scene, it’s a respectable though somewhat forgettable slice of straight forward, traditional metal with pronounced AOR hard rock influences.

Bullet – Highway Pirates Review

Bullet – Highway Pirates Review

Highway Pirates? Well, that album title blows more than the Last Airbender! If I didn’t already know the music of Sweden’s Bullet, I would likely skip over this release based on severe title failure alone. I mean, c’mon, Highway Pirates? Pair that with the painfully cheesy 80s style album cover and these guys are not doing themselves any favors from a strictly promotional standpoint. Thankfully though, I do know Bullet and what they deliver, which is 110% throwback retro metal/hard rock that sounds like a fusion of old AC/DC and old Accept. I was pretty taken with the goofy but infectiously rockin’ charm of their 2008 album Bite the Bullet and little has changed here as far as sound, style or intent. This is simple, neanderthal metal/rock without any attempts to be thoughtful or important in any way. Beer drinking music, drunken weekend music, call it what you will but this is fun and catchy stuff without pretense. Is it original? No. Is it modern? No. Is it good? Yes, yes it is.

Steel Druhm’s Top 10(ish) of 2010

Steel Druhm’s Top 10(ish) of 2010

Well, it’s been a very interesting year for me, Steel Druhm since joining Angry Metal Guy Industries in April. Despite the no pay, brutal hours, an Angry Metal Boss based overseas and enough hate mail to choke a Belgian aardvark, it’s been tons of fun and I wouldn’t trade one minute of it for a million Amorphis CDs. This year, like every other year, saw it’s fair share of shining metal moments and plenty of steaming crap as well. All things considered though, it’s a great time to be a fan of metal and there’s so much out there to choose from, it can get overwhelming trying to stay current and hear all the worthwhile releases. As the year winds down and we get set for the start of 2011, I want to wish all our readers a happy holiday season and give a big metal salute to all of you (and an extra big salute to the Angry Metal Guy himself for giving me a forum for my metal rants). I hope we were able to turn folks on to some quality music and generally entertain with our opinionated and self-righteous musings, ramblings, tirades, manifestos and diatribes.

The Crown – Doomsday King Review

The Crown – Doomsday King Review

Comebacks. They ain’t so easy to pull off. For every band that produces a glorious reunion album there are four that crash, burn and damage their legacy. Earlier this summer we were blessed by an unexpectedly great reunion album from Accept and now Sweden’s The Crown have pulled off an equally monstrous comeback with Doomsday King. This is their first since 2006’s Possessed 13 and first with new vocalist Jonas Stalhammar (God Macabre) stepping in for Johan Lindstrand. However, make no mistake, this is The Crown of old and they’re storming with menace and out for blood! This is such a furious thrash/death assault that it’s hard to believe these guys were out of action for so long. Whatever they were doing during their down time, it obviously pissed them off and now they need to hurt somebody.