Allen/Lande

Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall Review

Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall Review

I’ll run the risk to my metal cred and admit I was a pretty big fan of late period Savatage. Albums like Edge of Thorns and Handful of Rain were so loaded with pre-Trans-Siberian Orchestra bombast and cheese-wizardry, they were nearly impossible to resist (despite my occasional snickers at the unhealthy Velveeta factor inherent therein). One of the big selling points was Zak Steven’s impressive vocal work. Though I always had a soft spot for the ten-pack-a-day rasp of Jon Oliva, Stevens breathed new life into the Savatage sound with his deep, powerful delivery and dramatic leanings. When he split off to form Circle II Circle, I wanted to be a big supporter, but too often the mix of mid-tempo hard rock/metal just didn’t push my buttons the same way. After five albums of material in the same vein as Jorn Lande‘s solo albums and the Allen/Lande project, only Watching in Silence and Burden of Truth stood out, with the rest feeling like tepid exercises in mundane writing and generalized malaise. Now comes platter number six, Seasons Will Fall.

Adrenaline Mob – Omerta

Adrenaline Mob – Omerta

I’m a Russell Allen fanboy. I sing his praises every chance I get because he’s one of the best vocalists to ever grace the metal genre. Whether its his work with Symphony X, Allen/Lande or Star One, his vocals make good music great and great music stupendous. It was only a matter of time however, until we found out what his vocals could do for average or bad music.

Primal Fear – Unbreakable Review

Primal Fear – Unbreakable Review

Anthems baby, fucking ANTHEMS!! That’s what Primal Fear has been churning out since ’98 and that’s probably what they’ll keep churning out ’til they die (old metalheads never really die, they just become classic rock). While they began life as Germanic Judas Priest clones (mostly due to the Halford-esque vocal stylings of mega-voice Ralf Scheepers [Sheeples? – AMG]), they slowly evolved into their own sound, merging classic Priest, Maiden and Saxon influences with europower metal like Iron Savior and Gamma Ray (Ralf’s former band). In the process, they’ve become one of the most dependable, consistent stars in the heavy metal galaxy, releasing mindlessly enjoyable, rockin albums with moments of sheer metallic brilliance (basically, they’re the AC/DC of quasi-Judas Priest clones). Their ninth studio album, Unbreakable may be their best yet and packs one old-school, fist-in-the-air anthem after another. They know what side their bread is buttered on and they know their craft inside and out. There aren’t any surprises here beyond how catchy and consistent the songs are and the high level of classic metal enthusiasm they bring to the party. It sure ain’t proggy or forward-thinking, but this is metal-as-hell and that’s enough for Steel Druhm the Elder.

FullForce – One Review

FullForce – One Review

Well, here’s a release I can easily see falling through the Angry Metal Cracks. One is the first (and maybe last) release by a supergroup of sorts led by Michael Andersson, vocalist for Swedish melodic metallers Cloudscape and featuring members of such renowned acts as Dream Evil, Hammerfall and Yngwie Malmsteen. Now, we all know supergroups can be very iffy propositions and Fullforce is no different. It seems whenever a group of talented musicians get jammed into a room to write and record, disaster is as likely to result as triumph. So where does this one fall? Pretty much exactly in the middle of the two extremes. There’s some top notch, super melodic metal here and some rather generic, boring duds. What makes this album of particular annoyance to Steel Druhm is how good the good stuff is. With some real winners on display, its a total buzz kill to have roughly half the album fizzle out and fail to keep the momentum going Fullforce (yeah, you knew it was gonna happen at some point). OK, it’s time for your slightly bitter host to examine One in a non-bitter fashion.

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.

Allen/Lande – The Showdown Review

Allen/Lande – The Showdown Review

Regular readers of the Angry Metal Guy’s mighty webpage will have noticed that I consider Sir Russell Allen (Symphony X, Star One, Avantasia) and Jorn Lande (Jorn, Masterplan, Avantasia, Ark) two of the very best metal vocalists in operation today. It was only last week I was ranting and raving about Allen’s performance on the new Star One opus and now I must rant anew, but what else can Steel Druhm do? Allen and Lande are both such enormously versatile and talented vocalists and it’s always a pleasure to hear them show off said talents. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve gone hog wild over the previous Allen/Lande recordings where the two masters engaged in epic battles for metal pipes supremacy. Both their previous albums have become mainstays in my music rotation and hold up admirably to the repeated spins they receive. Now we are blessed with their third album The Showdown and the masters have once again delivered the goods and reaffirmed their place at the top of the metal vocalist food chain.