Avantasia

Skeletoon – The 1.21 Gigawatts Club Review

Skeletoon – The 1.21 Gigawatts Club Review

“I’d like to start this review with an apology to Eldritch Elitist. I violated his rights by covering Skeletoon‘s 2020 album, Nemesis. In Steel Druhm‘s excitement to assign me a goofy album from a goofy band with a goofy name, and in my excitement to receive such an honor, we both failed to realize that Eldritch had covered Skeletoon‘s Goonies-themed album They Never Say Die in 2019, giving him the right of prima promo. The gracious Mr. Elitist gently broke the news to me shortly after that review published, and even went so far as to allow me to cover this, Skeletoon‘s fifth album in six years. The Nerd Metal Superheroes are headed back into classic film territory, this time tackling the Back to the Future trilogy.” Yucks Capacitor.

Legions of the Night – Sorrow is the Cure Review

Legions of the Night – Sorrow is the Cure Review

“German power metal trio Legions of the Night was formed during the course of 2020, the obvious time in our history to assemble a group of people to collaborate closely on a new project. It brings together founding member Jens Faber, drummer Philipp Bock (both of Dawn of Destiny) and singer Henning Basse (ex-Metalium and Firewind, among others). That line-up, together with the fact that their debut includes a cover of Savatage‘s “Sirens,” might give you some sense of what to expect from this album.” Power of the Legions of the Night are calling.

Bloodbound – Creatures of the Dark Realm Review

Bloodbound – Creatures of the Dark Realm Review

“As Lord Protector of the Dark Angry Metal Realm, Steel Druhm is entitled to the right of primo promo. He can often be seen pushing his massive haul of pre-picked albums around the AMG office in a giant flaming wheelbarrow, its spiked wheel crushing the skulls of failed n00bs littered about the floor as it rolls. His dragon’s hoard of promos is so large that some inevitably fall to the ground, where sniveling peons like myself snatch them up for our own reviewing pleasure. So it goes with Bloodbound‘s newest release. In his 2019 review of the band’s eighth studio album, Rise of the Dragon Empire, Lord Steel recounted the transition that the band has made over the years, moving from a more traditional heavy metal sound to a syrupy-sweet Euro-infused iteration of power metal.” Fanbound glory.

Nergard – Eternal White Review

Nergard – Eternal White Review

“We throw around the phrase “Nightwish clone” in here a lot (at least it seems like we do; I have no inclination to check my claims), but in this case it feels eerily accurate. With Eternal White, Nergard channel Century Child with some Winterheart’s Guild-era Sonata Arctica thrown in for “spice.” “Spice” is in quotation marks, by the way, because this isn’t a very spicy album – in fact, it’s played very safe, leaning on a formula that has served the Leaves’ Eyes, the Xandrias, and the Sirenias of the world well: symphonic first, metal second.” White is a passive color.

Avaland – Theater of Sorcery Review

Avaland – Theater of Sorcery Review

“The metal opera is, enduringly, one of my favorite concepts of the genre. Avantasia and Ayreon are the two projects that I return to most often, and it seems I’m not the only one. Adrien Gzagg, of Grenoble, France, has been similarly inspired, which is why today I’m introducing you to Avaland and its debut full-length, Theater of Sorcery, a symphonic power metal opera with a fantastical backstory.” Another rainy night at the metal opera.

Ayreon – Transitus Review

Ayreon – Transitus Review

“There’s nobody quite like Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Sure, Tobias Sammet of Avantasia is the other big metal opera guy, but he can’t match Arjen for variety or quality. Besides the prog/power sound of Ayreon‘s core albums, his other successes include the gorgeous classical instrumentation of The Gentle Storm, the mopey Porcupine Tree prog of Guilt Machine, and more.” Show tunes on show.

Virtual Symmetry – Exoverse Review

Virtual Symmetry – Exoverse Review

“My personal favorite of the AMG banners has always been that most legendary of Yngwie Malmsteen quotes – “How can less be more? That’s impossible!” It’s a perfectly true statement as long as you’re willing to completely miss the point of the original cliché, which, frankly, makes for a great worldview. In that vein, I bring you progressive metal, in the form of the sophomore full-length from Swiss-Italian Virtual Symmetry; that output, Exoverse is the very definition of an album that believes, with everything that it’s got, that less is not more, that that would be impossible.” More is MOOAR.

Dark Forest – Oak, Ash & Thorn Review

Dark Forest – Oak, Ash & Thorn Review

“U.K.’s Dark Forest has been cranking out high quality music since 2009, with a very interesting blend of Euro-power, traditional heavy metal and just enough folk elements to give them a slightly unique sound. Albums like The Awakening and 2016s Beyond the Veil were very good, teetering on the cusp of greatness, borrowing from NWoBHM legends like Iron Maiden while also dipping into the slick songcraft of Avantasia and prime Sonata Arctica. Their compositional and storytelling acumen improved with each release and I just knew they had a truly big release in them dying to burst free.” Really good wood.

Enzo and the Glory Ensemble – In the Name of the World Spirit Review

Enzo and the Glory Ensemble – In the Name of the World Spirit Review

“First off, I’d like to apologize if you can’t hear me too well. I’ve been instructed to shout over the anguished shrieks of the Master of Muppets, who’s having a tough time right now. You see, we’re gathered here today to review In the Name of the World Spirit, the third release from Enzo and the Glory Ensemble, the progressive metal project masterminded by Enzo Donnarumma (Members of God), which is a touch outside of the creature’s usual wheelhouse. But positive, progressive, slightly cheesy power metal is something that I happen to delight in, so here we are! Embracing the glory (ensemble).” Double Glory Awaits.

Angry Metal Guy’s Top Ten(ish) o’ 2019

Angry Metal Guy’s Top Ten(ish) o’ 2019

I’m a big fan of the D&D-themed webcomic Order of the Stick. As the comic became a true phenomenon a decade ago and its author Rich Burlew became increasingly in demand, he began drawing himself looking more disheveled with every self-portrait. In the introduction to the most recently released book, his self-portrait is wearing sweatpants, has unkempt hair and looks about ready to fall over. That is a feeling I viscerally share. Or, as the kids say in 2019: IT ME!