AFM Records

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.

Leaves’ Eyes – The Last Viking Review

Leaves’ Eyes – The Last Viking Review

Leaves’ Eyes is a band I hear about plenty, but whose music I seldom actually hear. A few samples here and there, a sliver of news-worthy drama over there, a conversation once in a while — that’s it. So it’s a bit odd that I wound up with the responsibility of reviewing their latest output, The Last Viking, but then, sometimes not knowing about band-land drama is good for the weary reviewer.” Eyes Fatigue.

Nightmare – Aeternam Review

Nightmare – Aeternam Review

“France’s Nightmare are no strangers to the heavy metal scene. The band’s origins go back four decades to their foundation as a punk outfit in 1979. Over the next few years, the punk stylings gave way to the burgeoning heavy metal sound of the early 80s and the band released a couple of full-lengths before going on hiatus in 1988. But Nightmare‘s best work was yet to come.” Dream warriors.

Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium Review

Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium Review

“It looks like Olde Man Huck and I are carrying the entire prog-power burden on our creaky, arthritic shoulders these days. With Awake by Design and Assignment already offloaded, I’m lugging the new Vanishing Point opus to the finish line all by my aged lonesome. This long-running Aussie prog act has been silent since releasing Distant is the Sun way back in 2014 and I’d given them up for dead, but here they are with their sixth album Dead Elysium and a new drummer and bassist in tow.” Unvanished.

Onslaught – Generation Antichrist Review

Onslaught – Generation Antichrist Review

“When I selected the promo for Onslaught‘s Generation Antichrist, I initially thought that I was grabbing the latest platter from a relatively modern thrash outfit. But there was something about the British band’s logo that gave me the nagging feeling that I had seen it before. And then it came to me: Onslaught is a band that I’ve often seen listed on those “Best Thrash Albums of All Time” lists. No, not the “Top 10 Thrash Albums of All Time” lists, but the “Top 50 or Top 100 Thrash Albums of All Time” lists.” Generations clash.