Bon Jovi

Lionheart – The Reality of Miracles Review

Lionheart – The Reality of Miracles Review

“Let’s roll the clock back six years. It was September 2014, and the name El Cuervo was but a Spanish noun and nascent writer in the Angry Metal Guy world. The Editors™ mandated Skyscraper’s Elevation on said writer, a charming and catchy, if somewhat toothless, AOR record. Their impressive crooner, named Lee Small, struck said writer to a sufficient extent as to bother Googling his other projects. It was later discovered that he was fronting a long-defunct-but-then-revived hair rock band called Lionheart, whose 1984 release called Hot Tonight is well worth the time of any fans of men in leotards.” Tight bloomers, rock boomers.

The Wizards of Winter – The Christmas Dream Review

The Wizards of Winter – The Christmas Dream Review

“If you’re familiar with Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, The Christmas Dream by holidazzle super group The Wizards of Winter is the metal equivalent. I myself am no stranger to these cinematic fruitcakes, as Mrs. Cherd and my jolly old father-in-law take perverse pleasure in subjecting me to them every Yuletide. It’s become such a tradition that we’ve devised a game of Christmas movie trope bingo, and it’s easily adapted to this brand of metal holiday album.” Nice snow globes!

Eradikator – Obscura Review

Eradikator – Obscura Review

“I grabbed this album for one reason, and one reason only: the band name. Here in Canada, at least, one can’t help see the word Eradikator and think of this timeless skit from national treasures Kids in the Hall. I’d never heard of these swaggering Brits prior to seeing their name pop up in my promo feed, so I didn’t know that Obscura is their third album this decade and that they fancy themselves a pure heavy metal band whose music will ‘make even the most hardened ears hemorrhage liquid steel.'” Feel the steel.

Sandness – Untamed Review

Sandness – Untamed Review

“Sandness. The essence of sand. It’s coarse and it’s rough and it’s irritating and it gets everywhere. Such characteristics are not really desirable for a young Italian rock band releasing their third album and aiming to bring 80s hair metal to the modern day. Untamed follows a 3-year break, a time in which the band aimed to create something “more straightforward, shorter and more lighthearted,” descriptors which are quite different to those listed above. But the real queries are around quality. Do they achieve their goals? Should you invest your time here? Do I like Sand(ness)?” The Sandness of love.

Stormhammer – Seven Seals Review

Stormhammer – Seven Seals Review

“There’re seven things in this world I cherish, seven people I don’t hate, and seven albums I’ll love to the grave. OK, the seven ‘things’ are only one, the seven ‘people’ are only two, and the seven albums I plan to die with are none of your fucking business. ‘Seven’ is a lucky number for dumbasses in Hollywood movies. But, for me, seven is a convenient middle-ground to questions from my boss, family, and ‘friends.’ ‘How much longer is this gonna take?!’ Seven minutes. ‘Christmas is starting! How far away are you?’ Seven days. ‘How old is Abigail?’ Seven. Wait! Nine?! Fuck. You get what I mean. Regardless of how idiotic a lucky number can be, ‘seven’ might be, indeed, a lucky number for Germany’s Stormhammer.” Lucky number Stormhammer.

Emerald – Restless Souls Review

Emerald – Restless Souls Review

“Emerald is a time capsule. The two years since our last meeting grayed the shit out of me, but their Swiss cheese popped out just as chipper and evergreen as I remember. I suppose I should appreciate knowing what to expect. 24 years on and 8 albums in, Emerald found their niche and niched the hell out of it. They’re the anti-power power band, the least dense of the heavy metals, sitting too squarely in the center of the palate to love or loathe. Vim without vigor, vinegar without piss, a good script but a poor adaptation. You know the drill—or do you?” Broken gems.

Iron Fire – Beyond the Void Review

Iron Fire – Beyond the Void Review

Iron Fire have been hitting the pavement for a long time with dogged persistence. Despite a three-year hiatus, they’ve knocked out their ninth album this year since their 2000 debut, which is a staggering pace of release to keep up for so long. Yet their most recent work, Among the Dead, was not up to snuff with their preceding release, according to our own Jean-Luc Ricard. With Ricard in absentia, it falls to me to judge whether Beyond the Void fares better than its immediate predecessor.” Dull and void.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Queensrÿche – Operation: mindcrime

Yer Metal Is Olde: Queensrÿche – Operation: mindcrime

For those who have only listened to metal since 1995, or for those who never thought Queensrÿche worthy of checking out, Operation: mindcrime is a concept album which tells the story of a drug addict who becomes an assassin for a political extremist group, but has a change of heart when he falls in love with a former prostitute who has become a nun.” That’s fookin metal, and olde.

Spellblast – Of Gold and Guns Review

Spellblast – Of Gold and Guns Review

“No, it’s not Orden Ogan’s Gunmen: Part Two, but we’ve got another European power metal band going full-bore American west on us. This time around, it’s a lesser-known Italian power metal act by the name of Spellblast, which is well known to me for its release of a pair of strong, if rather unkempt, albums in 2007’s Horns of Silence and 2010’s Battlecry. In 2014, the band executed a crowdfunding campaign (which I contributed to) for its third studio album entitled Nineteen, which was based on Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga. Unfortunately, despite having the band’s best vocal performance, Nineteen suffered from some serious redundancy and creative regression, caused in part by lineup changes and a new preoccupation with “western themes,” which were much less apparent then than now. No longer presenting a fantastical front, Of Gold and Guns is simply an homage to the characters of the American old west.” Spent bullets and dead horses.

Anewrage – Life-Related Symptoms Review

Anewrage – Life-Related Symptoms Review

“Hey, you! Yeah, that’s right, I know you and your ilk, only scurrying out of your hatch for a new record if the music is heavier than a dying panda reading Sartre and the album is only available in limited release as sheet music stapled to the bathroom door in an abandoned hospital. Well, you better slink back to your cobweb-ridden hovel as Life-Related Symptoms by Anewrage is none of those things.” Time to appreciate the gentler things in life.