Bloodbound

Bloodbound – War of Dragons Review

Bloodbound – War of Dragons Review

Bloodbound has been altering their approach from album to album in an attempt to find some mythological metallic sweet spot. Starting life as a cracking traditional metal group, they subsequently drifted into borderline Euro-power and back several times with varied results. On 2014s Stormborn they took things quite deep into D&D Euro-puffery territory with a threadbare Game of Thrones concept.” When you play the Game of Cheese, you win or you fry. Mmmm, fried cheese….

Bloodbound – Stormborn Review

Bloodbound – Stormborn Review

“Following these guys is like dating someone with a serious mood disorder. Sure, the wild emotional swings keep it interesting, but the payoff is rarely worth the effort. Bloodbound started out as a throwback traditional metal act, releasing an excellent debut which benefitted greatly from the considerable vocal talents of Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Pyramaze). Breed left thereafter but their sophomore outing was solid nonetheless, and he returned once again for the very good Tabla Rasa outing. He then bailed again, leaving the band to utilize the talents of Patrik “Pata” Johansson for 2011s Unholy Cross, which had moments, but was ultimately too generic to pass muster. Then came the abomination of 2012s In the Name of Metal, which only served to give metal a bad name.” Where will the mood ring take us next? To Westeros, of course!

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Trail of Murder – Shades of Art

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Trail of Murder – Shades of Art

“Is it really that time of year already? Well, not quite, but Steel Druhm needs to correct a grievous error. I admit when I blow it and entirely miss a worthwhile release. I may do so grudgingly and with bitterness, but I do it. Well, this may be my biggest miss ever, since Trail of Murder is not only a great band, but features one of my all time favorite singers, Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound).” Look, mistakes were made and finger pointing won’t solve anything at this point. I said I was sorry!!! Sheesh.

Tad Morose – Revenant Review

Tad Morose – Revenant Review

“Whenever a beloved band implodes and goes into a ten-year hiatus, you’re more than justified in viewing a comeback with a jaundiced eye. After all, times change, people change, that “special something” a band had slowly fades away from lack of use. Basically, everything falls apart and the center cannot hold. Oh and hey, Tad Morose, the once great Swedish heavy metal act is back after a ten-year lay off. What a coincidence!” Follow along as Steel Druhm reviews Revenant and learns that nostalgia is a double-edged sword with poison ivy oil on the blade. Owwww, itchy slice, itchy slice!!!

Iron Fire – Voyage of the Damned Review

Iron Fire – Voyage of the Damned Review

Historically speaking, I think the main reason our esteemed AMG hired me, the ever humble Steel Druhm, as a reviewer/minion [I prefer the term “bitch,” actually – AMG] was to make me the resident power and traditional metal nerd (my amazing prose and rugged good looks didn’t hurt none either). While I’m predisposed to drool over most old school stuff (cause I’m old), I’m actually quite the elitist snob when it comes to power metal. There’s some good in that genre, but there are way more generic, bad and monumentally awful things lurking in the ether. Case in point, I’ve had a love/hate/meh relationship with Iron Fire over the years. Their Thunderstorm debut was decent and moderately rabble rousing, but things have been inconsistent since then and their discography reads like the good, the bad and the WTF? After being unmoved by their past few releases, I hoped for more from their seventh release, Voyage of the Damned. Turns out, I heartily appreciate the new lyrical slant toward outer space themes, as it’s a nice diversion from the usual “dragon ate my wizard’s maiden” schtick. It’s also safe to say, this is much better than expected and it slowly won me over, despite initial doubts. Roping in elements of Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Grave Digger and Metalium, this features some highly enjoyable Euro-power with some surprisingly heavy moments. It also delivers far less generic freight than past Iron Fire shipments. While not exactly a “must hear” album, Voyage ends up being a solid release from a band with a spotty track record.

Wolf – Legions of Bastards Review

Wolf – Legions of Bastards Review

The retro metal wolf is at the door again. The lupus I refer to is Sweden’s own Wolf, the one that’s been churning out their NWOBHM meets Mercyful Fate meets power metal style since 2000 and resisting all signs of modernizing along the way. Well, color them consistent because here on Legions of Bastards, their sixth album, they remain firmly planted in the 80’s metal sound and mentality. While retro-come-lately acts like Enforcer, Bloodbound and Steelwing made their bones raping the musical carcass of the 80’s, they’re all getting seriously sloppy seconds since Wolf got there first, many years ago. Past albums have been fun, energetic nods of the old school gods like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and here on Legions, the retro hero-worship continues unabated. This is 110% shameless throwback metal with enough over-the-top guitar soloing, vocal wailing and cheesy metal cliches to make Spinal Tap consider a career in disco. It’s more fun than a barrel full of Charlie Sheens and just about as subtle. If any part of you is a forward-looking progressive who wants to stop living in the past, this is very much not the band or album for you. As for me, I thrive on old timey metal cheese so this is right in my personal (cheese) wheelhouse. Set the time machine to 1986, raise the horns and read on if you dare.

Bloodbound – Unholy Cross Review

Bloodbound – Unholy Cross Review

When I first heard that super talented metal vocalist Urban Breed had left the excellent Tad Morose I was very unhappy. When he popped up in the strangely corpse painted but great classic metal band Bloodbound for their 2006 debut, I was happy again. Then he left, then he came back, and now he’s left yet again. C’mon man, what the hell are you doing? As the ever fickle Mr. Breed contemplates his career options, the boys in Bloodbound soldiered on without him and are set to release their fourth platter Unholy Cross. With vocals now being handled by Patrik Johnansson (Dawn of Silence), Unholy Cross finds Bloodbound bouncing back and forth between their usual classic metal sound and modern Euro-power metal similar to Edguy, Mystic Prophecy and Stratovarius. Gone is the slick blend of classic and modern metal they explored on 2009’s excellent Tabula Rasa and sadly, a lot of the overall excitement seems leeched from their sound this time as well. While still worthwhile, this is inferior to their earlier material, especially Tabula Rasa.