Blind Guardian

Siren’s Rain – Rise Forth Review

Siren’s Rain – Rise Forth Review

“Sometimes, the cover of an album is meaningless, you know, just a cliched picture of a skull or zombie or something to adorn the record sleeve. Sometimes, however, the artwork can tell you a lot, both about what to expect from a record and about the band behind it, which presumably signed off—or in a few cases even designed—the artwork in question. In the case of Tacoma, Washington’s Siren’s Rain and their self-released debut album, Rise Forth, the artwork triggered an all too familiar sinking feeling.” Graphic displays.

Portrait – At One with None Review

Portrait – At One with None Review

“When I was a diesel mechanic, I was regularly married to certain trucks. If you did a PM on it, you were now the expert on the truck. If the jackass driver filled it with gasoline instead of diesel, and you were the one that dropped the tanks and flushed the system, it was yours forever. If the Jakes and cruise control stop working and you spend eight hours ripping the entire dash apart to rewire everything that fried, you were definitely married to that truck. And, when that truck rolled back into the yard, everyone went quiet. They all knew you’d be dropping everything and your day would be in or under that piece of shit. They were quiet because you hate that fucking truck and you threw your favorite wrench set across the shop to show how much you hate it. And, as I was married to Kenworth Karen, I’m married to anything related to King Diamond and Mercyful Fate here at AMG.” Portrait of Fate.

My Refuge – The Anger Is Never Over Review

My Refuge – The Anger Is Never Over Review

“Following a distinctly cheese-less 2021, I decided to cherry pick something smelly. A promo surfaced, bearing both the words “Italian” and “power.” Perfect. However, and disappointingly, a deeper dive into the one sheet showed that this is only four eighteenths of the story; although the founder and main man is indeed Italian, the core band comprises a Spaniard and a German, with a further 15 contributors from across the globe, covering Czech Republic, Turkey, Canada and Venezuela, among others. My Refuge and their second full-length release entitled The Anger Is Never Over takes international to the next level but is it good? Is it cheesy?” No sanctuary from the anger.

Miasmata – Unlight: Songs of Earth and Atrophy Review

Miasmata – Unlight: Songs of Earth and Atrophy Review

“The epic and atmospheric, fantasy-inspired black metal stylings of Sojourner continue to go from strength to strength, with 2018’s very good outing, The Shadowed Road, matched by last year’s Premonitions, which – if not actually better – was, as Eldritch Elitist said in his List, “a far more consistent effort” than its predecessor. But, wherever Sojourner’s travels take them next, they will be going there without New Zealand bassist, Mike Wilson, who has set off into the back metal wilderness for a sojourn of his own, with his new solo project Miasmata.” Participation atrophy.

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.

Crystal Viper – The Cult Review

Crystal Viper – The Cult Review

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little afraid of picking up the new Crystal Viper. Having never let me down, the band’s 2019 release, Tales of Fire and Ice, was truly disappointing. In fact, it’s so disappointing, that after three-to-four spins, I erased it from my computer and threw out the review I was writing. Sadly, its only mention was as a 2019 Disappointment o’ the Year. So, yeah, I was a little worried.” Cult is just another word for family.

Winterage – The Inheritance of Beauty Review

Winterage – The Inheritance of Beauty Review

“You know when you lose a bet and find yourself wearing a Red Sox jersey and forced to eat a hundred cocktail weenies until you purge yourself in the tub? Well, that’s nothing compared to the Paw of Steel punishment for picking on Kenny. Ken told me it was corset-core. Cool, I like corsets. There may or may not have been the mention of Nightwish, but I cataloged that as trollarchy. So, I took the punishment and rolled with it. Well, you know those times when a movie character comes to a dramatic realization? When the camera zooms in, and they look up at nothing and whisper, “Dear GOD”?” Cheesy justice.

Skeletoon – Nemesis Review

Skeletoon – Nemesis Review

“I didn’t have a choice about this one. Regular readers will recall my central role in the Skelator Incident, so it should come as no surprise that Steel Druhm took one look at band called “Skeletoon” and their self-proclaimed “nerd metal” and immediately assigned it to me. He announced his excitement for me to review these goofy guys on one of our AMG Staff Zoom chats, and since it went so well last time he did that, I was more than a little apprehensive.” The Toonies.

Manticora – To Live to Kill to Live Review

Manticora – To Live to Kill to Live Review

“Where To Kill saw Manticora‘s established brand of Teutonic-inspired thrashing power metal trading measures with its burgeoning extreme metal aspirations, its successor finds the band integrating their new ideas near-seamlessly. This results in an array of wonderfully off-kilter compositions.” Live to win, to kill, and live, til you die.

Almanac – A Discographic Review [Tsar (2016), Kingslayer (2017) and Rush of Death (2020)]

Almanac – A Discographic Review [Tsar (2016), Kingslayer (2017) and Rush of Death (2020)]

“For the last four years, I have been neglecting—and you have been denied my Very Important Opinion™ about—one of the most idiosyncratic voices in metal: Victor Smolski. And so, in a Swallow the Sun-sized act of hubris, I’m writing a discographic review of Victor Smolski’s Almanac.” You can’t spell “Almanac” without MAN!