Doomsword

Atlantean Kodex – The Course of Empire Review

Atlantean Kodex – The Course of Empire Review

“After impressing the metalverse with 2013s The White Goddess, the band took their sweet time crafting a followup, and the long-awaited The Course of Empire definitely dials up the Bathory-esque epic Viking side of Atlantean Kodex‘s mammoth heavy metal sound. Along with the band’s usual While Heaven Wept meets Manowar on Manilla Road take on oversized throwback metal, there’s a powerful Hammeheart influence under-girding the already titanic, soaring compositions, making for a heavier, darker sound.” Atlantean Empire rising.

Ravensire – A Stone Engraved in Red Review

Ravensire – A Stone Engraved in Red Review

“Ancient armies will clash. Muscle, sweat, bone and blood will meet gleaming steel. Once tranquil fields will be littered with tattered banners and fallen heroes. This is Ravensire‘s world and we just fight in it. Hailing from Portugal, they’re an epic heavy metal band through and through, taking inspiration from all the best swords (Doomsword, Ironsword), the Viking ethos of Bathory‘s Hammerheart era, and of course, the loin beclothed he-men of Manowar.” Stone beats Steel.

Mourning Beloveth – Rust and Bone Review

Mourning Beloveth – Rust and Bone Review

“Given the early buzz around the band (maybe I just had clued-in metal buddies) and their obvious talent this seems pretty strange, especially as several of their less consistent peers enjoyed much greater industry support. But while their output has been of high quality, it has also lacked personality: their early records were a little too indebted to My Dying Bride, and it was only on 2005’s A Murderous Circus that they developed their sound into something less derivative by incorporating hints of the driving Celtic metal style pioneered by Primordial. So is 2016 going to be the year that Mourning Beloveth finally live up to their early potential and take their place among doom metal royalty?” Can Jean-Luc Ricard make it so?

Succubus Irons – The Gorgon’s Lullaby Review

Succubus Irons – The Gorgon’s Lullaby Review

“Billed as progressive doom metal and originating from Québec, I anticipated something both quintessentially Canadian-weird (you know what I mean) and long. But no sooner had I finished applying the gravy to my poutine and the record ended. I know that it takes me precisely 32 minutes to make poutine – what on earth is going on? A half-hour prog/doom album?” What’s this all aboot, eh?

Solitary Sabred – Redemption Through Force Review

Solitary Sabred – Redemption Through Force Review

“I made the error of listening to Solitary Sabred’s new album at work. Half-way through opener “Disciples of the Sword” I was being restrained by security: apparently it’s “against office policy” to strip to your underwear, lather yourself in baby oil, adopt the power stance and wave a poster-tube around your head pretending it’s a sword (why I keep baby oil at the office is my business, OK?).” Most HR departments frown on such trve metal shenanigans because HR is not trve! Death to false human resources!

Grand Magus – Triumph and Power Review

Grand Magus – Triumph and Power Review

“Swords gleaming in the sun, banners battered by the wind as men fight and die, a shoreline awash with red: all images vividly conjured by the punchy, but regal music on Grand Magus‘s last three albums. Though their style resists easy classification and has shifted and squirmed between the cracks of several genres over time, they’ve always been a band you could count on to release classy, high quality music.” Is this yet another stellar release by the mighty Magus or did they jump the Viking helmed shark?

Atlantean Kodex – The White Goddess Review

Atlantean Kodex – The White Goddess Review

“As a fanboy extraordinaire of classy, epic doom, I’m clearly the target demographic for larger-than-life regressive metallers Atlantean Kodex. Their massive debut The Golden Bough was an intoxicating mixture of While Heaven Wept, Solstice and Solitude Aeturnus with a healthy dose of Bathory‘s Hammerheart added for Viking flair.” Steel Druhm has been chomping at the bit for this release and nobody likes being chomped. Does The White Goddess live up to his unreasonable expectations or will the remainder of 2013 be a rabid chomp-fest?

Argus – Beyond the Martyrs Review

Argus – Beyond the Martyrs Review

Argus is one of the leaders in the “trve,” “cvlt” metal wave ov late. They specialize in the kind of muscular battle metal that makes you long for the days of swords, sandals and institutionally approved beer wenching and you can almost feel the hair on your back growing as you spin their odes to brotherhood and bravado. Long have they toiled to perfect their blend of Iron Maiden riffs, the doom-based power of Candlemass, Grand Magus and Doomsword and the oiled pectoral charm of Manowar.” Ready for some no nonsense, old school metal from the days of High Adventure? You better be because Argus is back to kick ass and chew bubble gum and they’re ALL outta bubble gum.

Manilla Road – Playground of the Damned Review

Manilla Road – Playground of the Damned Review

Manilla Road, thy name is cult! These aged metallers from Kansas have been keeping it “true” since before the 80’s. Over their long existence they released no less than fourteen albums of old school, vintage metal to the acclaim of a small but loyal niche following. Led by guitarist/singer Mark “The Shark” Shelton, they’ve plumbed the depths of 70’s and early 80’s metal, some albums sounding like old Cirith Ungol, some moving closer to Manowar, Doomsword and Slough Feg. They’ve always lived in that realm between classic metal and doom and their discography has its great moments (and a few missteps as well). In some circles these guys have attained legendary status and while they clearly deserve it for dedication, I never thought their material was all that consistent. However, I always find myself rooting for them to succeed. I did so again with their fifteenth album Playground of the Damned, but I’m not too thrilled with the end product. Like some prior albums, there are great moments but some cringy ones as well. Definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone, this is one of those bands you really have to hear for yourself. However, I will endeavor to do my humble best to describe what lies within as only the Lord High Protector Steel Druhm can.

Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed Review

Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed Review

Cruz Del Sur is doing some fine fine work lately. I heartily enjoyed the new release by Twisted Tower Dire and now they serve up the second album by PA’s metallers Argus. After a generally well-received (but widely overlooked) debut in 2009, they’re back to demand attention with Boldly Stride the Doomed (bad ass title). Led by vocalist Brian Balich (Penance), Argus could be described as a semi-doom, epic metal band (if that makes any goddamn sense). Whatever label one ultimately sticks on them, they serve up some high class metal with a lot of balls, testosterone and moxy. Sometimes pure doom, sometimes epic metal, sometimes good old traditional metal, they shift and slither their style but the one constant is quality and that’s the winning ingredient every time.