Blind Guardian

Graveshadow – The Uncertain Hour Review

Graveshadow – The Uncertain Hour Review

The Uncertain Hour, over the course of fifty minutes or so, launches the listener through a galloping field of riffs, leads, and triumphant melodies in one of the better samples of symphonic power metal I’ve heard lately. Upbeat, catchy, and well-written, it has all of the makings of a grower, and talent to match.” Death is certain, good reviews are not.

Fellowship – The Saberlight Chronicles Review

Fellowship – The Saberlight Chronicles Review

“I know that most of you have already eyed my score on this review, and have nearly broken your damn necks from the whiplash of rapidly scrolling up for answers. For many, this choice will come across as confusing and misguided, but as someone who’s listened to Fellowship‘s self-titled EP on repeat for two years, it’s anything but. That EP might be the reason I survived the early pandemic days with my sanity intact. It’s a bottomless wellspring of joy, dominated by gorgeous melodies, exhilarating solos, and clever, heartwarming lyrical turns. On the strength of those three songs alone, Fellowship’s debut LP would have probably been my power metal album of the year. The fact that every song on the record is as good as or better than any song from the EP puts it in another class entirely.” Off to see the Wizzard.

Serpent Ascending – Hyperborean Folklore Review

Serpent Ascending – Hyperborean Folklore Review

“Knocking about since 2008, Finland’s Serpent Ascending is the solo handiwork of Slugathor bassist Jarno Nurmi, formerly of Desecresy and Nerlich also. It wasn’t until 2016 that Nurmi released this project’s full-length debut, Aṇaṅku. A slab of blackened death metal in the vein of Desecresy and with more than a little Cruciamentum in the mix, Aṇaṅku packed a decent punch into its pleasingly trim 30-minute run. Another six years slithered by before the reptile resumed its climb to the surface, appearing now for second full-length outing Hyperborean Folklore.” Snakes on a fjord.

Nova Luna – Nova Vita Review

Nova Luna – Nova Vita Review

“”Prog metal” is a weird label. At times, it feels almost like a catch-all for music that isn’t quite rock and isn’t quite metal. At others, it feels like a way for bands and fans alike to tout minor stylistic differences between one group and the next closest thing. And other times, prog metal is weird. So it’s kind of a gamble, opting to review music under this moniker, as was the case when I first spun Nova Vita, the debut full-length from Italian prog metallers Nova Luna.” Super Nova?

Gladenfold – Nemesis Review

Gladenfold – Nemesis Review

“I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed some solid Finnish metal. You know what I mean—the kind of metal that’s aggressive, adventurous, inspired by nature or history or something along those lines, with that je ne sais quoi that is the Finnish charm. I didn’t realize at the time that Gladenfold is a Finnish band though—mostly I just liked the album cover on Nemesis, and the promise of some solid melodeath helped too.” Race to the Finnish.

Achelous – The Icewind Chronicles Review

Achelous – The Icewind Chronicles Review

Achelous play fantasy-inspired power metal. While many of their contemporaries keep their tattered volumes of J.R.R. Tolkein close to their breastplates, Achelous use their second full-length album to create a soundtrack for R.A. Salvatore’s Icewind Dale trilogy. I’ve never read Salvatore’s work, but The Icewind Chronicles gives me a pretty good sense of the epic battles that take place within its pages. The record contains their characteristic folk, power, and operatic metal leanings and like Blind Guardian or Manowar, Achelous packs a lot of high adventure into a five-minute song. They’ve been sharpening their axes, but is the battlefield too crowded for another album of dwarves, crystals, and flaming warfare?” Roll the ice dice.

Eternity’s End – Embers of War Review

Eternity’s End – Embers of War Review

“A week ago, progressive/technical death metal titans Obscurareleased a well-received album that featured the return of longtime guitarist Christian Münzner. Münzner had left the band in 2014 after developing focal dystonia, an overuse condition that left his fretting hand neurologically compromised. Needing a break from the relentless touring cycle of a band like Obscura, Münzner turned to other projects. Recruiting former Obscura bandmates Linus Klausenitzer and Hannes Grossmann, Münzner formed Eternity’s End with the goal to produce high-quality progressive power metal.” Powerful hobbies.

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.