AFM Records

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

“Windshield time also gives me the chance to re-explore my favorite albums. I rarely listen to new promos on the road. This time is dedicated to albums from the Road Gods. Give me something bluesy, something rocking, something upbeat, something I can blare with windows down and my foot inching closer to the floor. Give me something I can scream at the top of my lungs and shift gears to. The simpler, the better. The groovier, the sweeter.” Jesus repossessed your hot rod.

Arion – Vultures Die Alone Review

Arion – Vultures Die Alone Review

“I don’t put much stock in award shows or competitions. Really, who amongst us does? Ever since the first Metal Grammy went to Jethro Tull metal fans around the world have viewed these sorts of things with more than a little trepidation. So when a band comes my way that came to fame in a competition, it’s more a curse than a blessing. Power metal act Arion (the Finnish act, not the Greek) is such a band. As teens these guys were finalists in UMK, the Finnish qualification program for Eurovision, eight years ago.” Beauty pageant meets the metal world.

Orden Ogan – Final Days Review

Orden Ogan – Final Days Review

“For the last 6 months or so it seemed as if the AMG promo sump was almost entirely composed of one-man basement dwelling black metal outfits and black-adjacent endeavors of dubious merit. Perhaps that’s a reflection on the zeitgeist of our current pandemic-burdened existence, but it gets extremely tedious for those not big on the dark arts of low-fi aural destruction. Paradoxically there’s been a dire paucity of power metal just when we need that genre’s buoyant, cheese-fueled charm the most. Perhaps that explains why I found myself looking forward to Orden Ogan‘s seventh album more than I expected.” Ogan donors.

Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix Review

Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix Review

“2021 will see the release of a wealth of albums written and recorded during the COVID pandemic. This phenomenon will likely impact records in a myriad of ways. Some will directly reflect the times in concept, lyrics or atmosphere. Others may benefit from bands having additional time stuck in lockdown together to hone their compositions. In the case of Evergrey‘s 12th album Escape of the Phoenix, the latter appears to be the case.” Firebirds, energy weapons.

Lake of Tears – Ominous Review

Lake of Tears – Ominous Review

“Sweden’s Lake of Tears may be one of the most chameleon-like bands in metal history. Over their 27 year career they’ve morphed from Gothic doom to prog, stoner space rock, and onto dark prog with blackened edges. Somehow they always did justice to the disparate styles they tinkered with, and like those many flavored jelly beans in Harry Potter, you never knew what you would get from album to album. It’s been almost ten years since 2011s Illwill and I’d started to think of Lake of Tears in the past tense. Then along came ninth album Ominous.” Buying tears in bulk.

Iron Mask – Master of Masters Review

Iron Mask – Master of Masters Review

“Twenty-twenty has been the year of ore. Iron ore, that is. We’ve seen it extracted from the earth, thrown into the blasting furnace, and molded into steel. From that steel, we’ve seen so many swords forged, that it’s practically raining the motherfuckers. There’s Ironsword and Megatron Sword, Possessed Steel and Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire, to name a few. And it won’t fucking end as long as Steel is fanning the furnace.” Mask ore die.

Iron Savior – Skycrest Review

Iron Savior – Skycrest Review

Iron Savior may not have started the whole Euro-power genre, but founder/vocalist/guitarist Piet Sielck certainly had his hands on the original putty as a member of the early version of Helloween. Though he never ended up recording with them, you can hear the influence of that protozoic era of power metal in everything Iron Savior does. Since their 1997 debut they’ve consistently churned out quality Euro-power with strong links to classic metal and they’ve always delivered it with more heft and muscle than 99.999% of their frilly be-shirted peers. Skycrest is their 12th platter of metallic anthems to the Metal Godz and things are as they should be.” Iron sharpens other iron.

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic has become a bit of an enigma  for me over the past 9 years. Though exceptionally talented and creative, this prog-power trio seem to find ways to undercut themselves and guarantee that they remain an underappreciated act. Early albums like Conspiracy in Mind and Waves of Visual Decay were amazing doses of progressive metal in the vein of Nevermore and it looked like they were going to be the next big thing. Since then they’ve been much more irregular, though they’ve yet to release a truly bad album.” Hiding potential.

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.

Mors Principium Est – Seven Review

Mors Principium Est – Seven Review

“Some of why I feel this way is because few bands can pack as many riffs into a single album as MPE do. When I listen to their entire discog in an afternoon, it feels like it’s taken ten years off my life. There’re so many riffs—you wonder if there are any left. Twenty years in existence, a dozen members now funneled down to two, and six albums turn Seven. Will Seven be their lucky number?” Number of a beast.