Blind Guardian

Dragonland – Under the Grey Banner Review

Dragonland – Under the Grey Banner Review

Talk about the right album at the right time! While I was never that big a fan of the symphonic bombast and Lord of the Rings fetishism of power metal acts like Blind Guardian and Rhapsody, I was tasked with reviewing the new Dragon- land opus over the same long weekend that local movie channels played the LOTR trilogy nonstop in their full extended glory. Since Under the Grey Banner is yet another slobbering Tolkien love-fest, replete with elves, orcs, swords and sappiness (which completes their own trilogy started on their first two albums), it fit right in. Like their previous works, it’s a full-on symphonic cheese factory with enough grandiose pomposity to choke a Balrog. You know exactly what it will sound like and what will be included. Overblown keyboards, soaring vocals, choirs, frenetic neo-classical guitar wankery, it’s a big, overwrought symphonic mess. As such, it manages to work about as well as most albums of this ilk but at least it didn’t send me running for a shot of insulin until the midway point. While its nothing you haven’t heard before from the likes of Rhapsody or Labyrinth, its well done and quite entertaining at times in a too-close-to-Broadway-musical kind of way. However, it has it’s share of consistency issues and isn’t as strong as their 2004 Starfall release. That said, I’m sure fans of this type of Dungeons & Dragons music will love it like a +10 sword of sliceification. In case there was ANY doubt about the nerd-factor of this stuff, Dragonland created an interactive website with maps and narrations to help guide you on the mystic journey they planned for you. Holy nerd bait, Batman!

3 – The Ghost You Gave to Me Review

3 – The Ghost You Gave to Me Review

3 was one of my favorite discoveries of the year 2007. The End Is Begun ripped me out of my progressive complacency and reminded me that well-written, well-performed progressive rock or heavy metal, can be some of the most interesting and effective music. In a world dominated by polyrhythms and breakdowns, 3 was a refreshing blast of melody, piccolo toms and some of the most creative and unique guitar playing and song writing that I’d heard in a very long time. So I guess it’s fair to say that I have been anticipating their follow up, The Ghost You Gave to Me with no small amount of anticipation.

Angry Metal Guy’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 10-1

Angry Metal Guy’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 10-1

Well, here it is folks. The final 10 [Here’s the first 40: 50-41, 40-31, 31-20, 20-11 and Steel Druhm’s: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1]. And this is going to ruffle a bunch of feathers, I guarantee it. These are, for the most part, not widely considered “favorites” and would never make fan-voted lists, but these tracks all got onto this list pretty easily. I’m not as angry about the whole Gibson list anymore, and I’ve lost a bit of steam because of that, but these tracks are all fucking fantastic, top-o’-the-line kind of shit. I hope you enjoy the list and I look forward trolling you soon. U MAD BRO!?

Hell – Human Remains Review

Hell – Human Remains Review

Wow, yet another reminder that you can’t always judge a metal album by the cover. By looking at the artwork for Hell’s debut Human Remains, I bet most would expect a death or thrash bonanza. Well, a mighty big ass surprise would await upon spinning this thing! This is NWOBHM style metal by a British band that was part of the 80’s new wave but unable to land a record deal, despite adoring fans and supporters like Lars Ulrich. After founding singer/guitarist Dave Halliday killed himself in 1987, it seemed Hell had run it’s course. Fear not, for long time fan, friend and mega-producer Andy Sneap (Sabbat) has come to the rescue, convincing them to reform for another shot at metallic glory. With the surviving members together again along with new vocalist Dave Bower and Mr. Sneap as a second guitarist, we finally get that long awaited debut. So how do a bunch of songs that have been mothballed since the 80’s sound in 2011? Well, despite some great moments and obvious potential, its not a complete success. Allow me to elaborate.

Angry Metal Guy’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 30-21

Angry Metal Guy’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 30-21

Closer and closer we draw to the best heavy metal song of all time, but indeed there is much in between and none of it has been come to lightly. I actually have spent a lot of time mulling over this list since its creation and I am pleased, thus far I can’t think of anything major that I’ve left out, which must mean that they are not indeed ‘top songs’ at all. But let me get to one note of concern that people have raised. They say that one of the reasons that a list like Gibson’s travesty is valid is because “it’s hard to know if these songs can stand the test of time!” I just want to take a minute to call bullshit.

Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time Review

Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time Review

Blind Guardian is easily one of the most unique bands that modern metal has ever encountered. I really do think that they are one of the most original acts to ever come out of any scene, sub-genre or crevace within the greater history of metal. Combining bay area thrash influence with a German power/thrash legacy and sprinkling liberally with Queen, this German act has been at the forefront of power metal and progressive metal since Imaginations from the Other Side (for sure, and probably even before that). Few bands in metal command the kind of insane loyalty from their fanbase and few bands ever deserve that kind of loyalty, frankly. Even for me, personally, Blind Guardian was one of the bands that really got me exploring modern power metal. I picked up Nightfall in Middle-Earth and my life was forever changed. That record still ranks in my top 10 of all time, easily.

Skyforger – Kurbads Review

Skyforger – Kurbads Review

Skyforger is Latvia’s answer to folk metal and they’ve been giving it a go for quite a while. Despite having been around since 1995, however, they’ve not produced a terribly huge discography. In fact, Kurbads is the first Skyforger album since 2003, when they self-released a folk album that was mightily well-received by their fanbase, even, apparently, more so their metal album from the same year Thunderforge. The band, for the record, has also been involved in a bit of controversy surrounding the use of, what the band calls a thundercross, and what the rest of us call a swastika in their logo. But it seems the band has worked very hard to distance themselves from any of the controversy surrounding this and should be approached from a non-political stance.