Brother Firetribe

Night – High Tides – Distant Skies Review

Night – High Tides – Distant Skies Review

“Nobody will remember this, but back in 2017 Night’s album Raft of the World found its way onto my year-end list. This Swedish cadre of retro-rockers wormed their way onto my playlists with a catchier-than-it-should-have-been brand of 70’s hard rock, drawing influence from bands I love such as Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy. They started out as a NWoBHM-worshiping group, and have evolved over the years into a very classic hard rock act. High Tides – Distant Skies sees the band shed nearly all of their metallic influences, save for some proto-metal riffing, in exchange for the classic rock of Blue Öyster Cult and, yes, Dire Straits.” That ain’t working. Or is it?

Mean Streak – Blind Faith Review

Mean Streak – Blind Faith Review

“I have a new rule. Whenever Jonas Källsbäck drums on an album, it’s going to be good. Last month’s Night Flight Orchestra was fantastic. From what I’ve heard, Gathering of Kings will rock. And there’s this Mean Streak album, Blind Faith. Not to be confused with the 80s girl band Meanstreak, this version is a Swedish traditional metal band, ostensibly named after the Y&T album and song of the same name (which saw heavy rotation on my turntable back in 1984, in the form of K-Tel’s Masters of Metal album).” Dads B Rockin’.

Troubled Horse – Revolution on Repeat Review

Troubled Horse – Revolution on Repeat Review

“Informal poll: who here is getting tired of the whole “retro rock” scene? It seems everyone and their dog wants to be in a retro band — especially those pesky Scandinavians. Whether it’s the proto-metal stylings of Sweden’s Saturn or the Survivor-core of Finland’s Brother Firetribe, or a litany of other bands flying the retro-core banner these days, retro seems to be the flavor of the month. Troubled Horse looks to add their crest to the mix with Revolution on Repeat.” Isn’t a troubled horse just a unicorn?

Arthemis – Blood – Fury – Domination Review

Arthemis – Blood – Fury – Domination Review

“Until recently, Arthemis had been one of around a few dozen bands I’d always had a mild curiosity for but had never bothered to closely investigate. I’m convinced the only reason I knew of their existence was because they included Power Quest’s vocalist and guitarist (Alessio Garavello and Andrea Martongelli, respectively) amongst their ranks, though now only the latter remains in the band. I also vaguely remembered them from high school as one of a handful of power metal bands that had a propensity for including bare breasts on their album covers, which always struck me as an ironic practice for what might be metal’s least sexy genre.” From Power Quest to Power Chests.

Brother Firetribe – Sunbound Review

Brother Firetribe – Sunbound Review

“Were you one of those kids raised on Rocky movies? If you were, you soaked up those bombastic training montage scenes that were so essential to the Stallone flicks. You cheered as he ran along the beach, screamed as he climbed snowy mountains, shouted when he lifted 2 ton heavy things and whistled as he chased poultry around sketchy back alleys. Part of the thrill of those scenes was the relentlessly upbeat, hilarious cheesy soundtrack populated by the likes of 80s radio icons, Survivor.” The 80s called; they want their 80s music fans back.

Aska – Fire Eater Review

Aska – Fire Eater Review

“There aren’t many modern bands that pull off that vintage 80s American metal style without sounding contrived or cheesy or both. Aska is an unheralded, mega-obscure band that can count themselves among the few with that magic touch. Though in existence since 1994, they’ve only managed to release six albums, and Fire Eater is the long-awaited (by thirty of us) follow-up to 2007s Absolute Power. Apart from the glaring lack or productivity, they’ve had long-running issues with the consistency of their material. While they were capable of penning some real old school scorchers, they also had a tendency to drop a few stinkers per album that would leave me shaking my head. Still, when they nail their brand of traditional metal, it rings loud and trve across the land.” If Steel Druhm doesn’t get to review retro metal every few weeks he gets all bent out of shape. Maybe the old timey charm of Aska will get him back to his usual grouchy self.