Argus

Castle – Under Siege Review

Castle – Under Siege Review

“At the crossroads of retro/occult metal, doom and throwback vest metal, sits Castle like some sort of big…castle. These San Francisco rockers exploded onto the doom scene with their punchy In Witch Order d├ębut and immediately carved a niche for themselves among contemporaries like Jex Thoth and Occultation. Blacklands took things to the next level by incorporating strains of epic metal and black metal riffery and the result was quite heady, unpredictable and fun. Now we get Under Siege, which once again rejiggers the Castle sound as the band evolves and matures with grace and dignity.” Have you heard these guys yet? If not, Steel Druhm thinks less of you.

Pilgrim – II: Void Worship Review

Pilgrim – II: Void Worship Review

“When last we checked in on Pilgrim, they were really fucking slow! Even by doom standards, these guys were the car in the right lane with flashers on and a “Wide Load” sign on the bumper. That’s because they specialize in unflinchingly minimalist, old school Sabbath riffs slowed down to a root’s pace, lightly seasoned with a hint of psychedelic fairy dust. Their Misery Wizard debut was heavily influenced by Reverend Bizarre and Cathedral and weighed down with insanely long, drawn out doom yarns so heavy, they made you feel like a Buick was parked on your chest. This presented an arduous test to one’s attention span, despite the overall quality of the riffs and writing.” Ready for some doom that’s slower than your grandma? Quick, it’s very slowly getting away!

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Procession – To Reap Heavens Apart

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Procession – To Reap Heavens Apart

“Following along with Avatarium, little know Chilean act Procession released a high quality slab of doom in 2013 that you may have missed. In fact, I probably would have missed it were it not for a tip from a loyal reader. Their sophomore opus To Reap Heavens Apart is right in line with early Candlemass (think debut and Nightfall), While Heaven Wept and Solstice and as such, it’s weighted down with weighty, glum and downtrodden riffs and despairing, yet epic vocals that call to mind the styling of Messiah Marcolin, albeit a more restrained version.” Steel Druhm missed his share of good doom this year and it has him rather perplexed an confuzzled.

Argus – Beyond the Martyrs Review

Argus – Beyond the Martyrs Review

Argus is one of the leaders in the “trve,” “cvlt” metal wave ov late. They specialize in the kind of muscular battle metal that makes you long for the days of swords, sandals and institutionally approved beer wenching and you can almost feel the hair on your back growing as you spin their odes to brotherhood and bravado. Long have they toiled to perfect their blend of Iron Maiden riffs, the doom-based power of Candlemass, Grand Magus and Doomsword and the oiled pectoral charm of Manowar.” Ready for some no nonsense, old school metal from the days of High Adventure? You better be because Argus is back to kick ass and chew bubble gum and they’re ALL outta bubble gum.

Nymf – From the Dark Review

Nymf – From the Dark Review

“Every now and then AMG himself deigns to drop an unknown chestnut of metal into my promo bin and demands my thoughtful analysis. From past experience, these have ended up being quite enjoyable surprises (Dofka, Degial). Now he’s provided me with From the Dark, the second release from the obscure Swedish stoner/doom act Nymf which walks the line between typical stoner acts like High on Fire and Orange Goblin, American trve metal like Argus and more traditional doom like Candlemass.” Rough n’ ready stoner/doom from Sweden sounds mighty good and Steel Druhm would usually order it from the menu, but will Nymf satisfy him or get sent back to the chef along with some choice words?

Sinister Realm – World of Evil Review

Sinister Realm – World of Evil Review

“If there’s one type of retro metal I never tire of, it’s the kind that goes for the old school, traditional, “trve metal” sound from the early 80s like Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road. Of the few bands out there using this style as a main influence, my favorite is Sinister Realm (though Argus comes really close). I really enjoyed their debut, but they raised their game bigtime for 2011s The Crystal Eye opus and it ended up one of my favorite albums of the year. Utilizing a stripped down, zero-bullshit approach with a slight epic feel and incorporating doom, NWoBHM and early America metal influences, they found a winning formula and crafted some really memorable tunes.” Steel Druhm is old so it should come as no surprise he likes stuff that sounds old. Sinister Realm is old school, cvlt, trve and any other V instead of U word. So is this a match worthy of eHarmony?

Angels of Babylon – Thundergod Review

Angels of Babylon – Thundergod Review

“During my tenure at AMG Industries, I’ve made my opinion on super groups well known. For those who missed that memo (and shame on you), I’ve found that whenever various and sundry artists collaborate on some highfalutin side project, the results are often a mixed bag and prone to being weak and/or tepid. Even worse is when third or fourth tier artists get together to form pseudo-super groups. Angels of Babylon is one such minor league collective, featuring the likes of Kenny “Rhino” Earl (ex-Manowar, ex-Holy Hell), Steve Handel (Seventh Calling, Protest) and Diego Valdez (Skiltron, Helker). If you just thought “Who? Who? What? Who?’, I’m right there with you.” Okay, so we have a third tier project band. That doesn’t mean they can’t write some godly tunes, does it? Pack a lunch as Steel Druhm takes you cherry picking.

Manilla Road – Mysterium Review

Manilla Road – Mysterium Review

Manilla Road has more lives than Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees and much like those respective masked lunatics, they just won’t die. Although toiling away since the late 70s, Manilla Road and founder/vocalist/guitarist Mark “The Shark” Shelton have achieved nothing more than obscure, cult status in the metal world. They are the quintessential “true” metal act and have been releasing slight variations on their mega old school, American proto metal since I was in grade school.” Steel Druhm destroyed the last album by these legends, but loved the related Hellwell project. Will he find love on the Road or will the Hammer of Judgment come down again?

Steel Druhm’s Top 10(ish) of 2011

Steel Druhm’s Top 10(ish) of 2011

We made it through another year here in Angry Metal World. We overcame Terminal Reviewer Burnout Syndrome, careers and personal lives, just to bring you more of our self-righteous, ego-driven babbling and blathering. Why did we do it? Because we care so damn much! Now, as the year grinds us all towards inevitable doom, it falls to me to get the metal wheel a rollin and name my picks for the best albums of 2011. This was a pretty solid year, so it was tough to figure out which albums belonged where, but you demanded it, so I’m delivering the goods, Yeah!

Sinister Realm – The Crystal Eye Review

Sinister Realm – The Crystal Eye Review

I think we’re finally approaching the tipping point for 80’s retro metal. By that I mean if these 80’s worship albums keep coming, the space-time continuum will shift and we’ll all get dumped back in the 80’s for reals. That would pose problems for me since I no longer own parachute pants and high tops. Despite the obvious perils we all face, if the retro releases sound as good as Sinister Realm, I’ll take my chances. These stalwart retro rockers from Pennsylvania released a killer self titled debut in 2009 and it was one of the best albums that year that no one knew about or heard. Undeterred, they rise again with The Crystal Eye and its more quality, righteous metal for the masses. Sounding like a mash up of Argus, Manowar, Cirith Ungol and Heaven and Hell era Black Sabbath, Sinister Realm excels at stripped down but classy traditional metal with a doom influence. Its straight forward, no nonsense, rocked out metal and I have to say, I love it. There’s more balls on display over the course of this album than a lot of bands show over a career. Simple at times, heavy all the time and exceptionally catchy, this may finally get these sinister ones some well deserved attention.