Europe

Harmonize – Warrior in the Night Review

Harmonize – Warrior in the Night Review

“There is a fine line between cringe and cheese. The latter is a savory substance that has embalmed many a God of Metal throughout the ages, and while the former can be bewitching in some of its shapes, it’s all the same loathed by most of us. Cheese is a crucial ingredient to all metal that I love, and of late I find that my desire for that silky, golden mass has become more and more difficult to satiate. Just as my craving was reaching peak levels and I hurried to spin Manowar’s “Sons of Odin” for the 666th time, the rattle of the promo bin beg I pay heed.” Sing for your steel!

Yer Metal is Olde: Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time

Yer Metal is Olde: Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time

“A month ago, I wrote about my first-ever experience that opened the doorway to the wonderful world of metal music. Many of you wrote back about your first exposure. Today, I get the pleasure of inaugurating the album it came from into our hallowed Yer Metal is Olde! halls. I am, of course, talking about Somewhere in Time, the oft-maligned sixth full-length from Metal Gods Iron Maiden.” Timeless.

Grymm Comments On: Your Very First Time

Grymm Comments On: Your Very First Time

“Everyone remembers their first time. The stories may be slightly different, but we all can recall them with a certain amount of glee, zest, and maybe an embarrassed smirk or two. For some, it required a bit of a learning curve, while for others it was instantaneous and gratifying.” Ah, if we could just go back and experience it for the first time all over again.

Mike Tramp – Nomad Review

Mike Tramp – Nomad Review

“Not that the plethora of throwback retro-thrash bands wasn’t evidence enough, but the 80’s happened. Fashion was horrendous and hairstyles were worse. Nintendo had kids blowing into their cartridges the world over. And on MTV, for every Iron Maiden and Metallica video that was played, there was a gaggle of hair bands saturating the airwaves to the point of ozone layer depletion from all that Aqua Net used. White Lion was one of those bands, enjoying success after success until Kurt Cobain came along and ruined everything for them.” Let’s see hands from all the little fighters in the hall!

Crazy Lixx – Crazy Lixx Review

Crazy Lixx – Crazy Lixx Review

“You know how Kurt Cobain killed Hair Metal? Of course you know; we’ve been through this already. He didn’t. Yes folks, it’s time for your second dose of hair metal in under a month! You see, while AMG has been distracted dealing with Steel Druhm’s incessant efforts to inject more Jorn onto the site by any means necessary, I’ve launched my own elaborately coiffured campaign to restyle Angry Metal Guy into the far more fabulous Hair Metal Guy.” Jorn in the U.S.A.!

Amaranthe – The Nexus Review

Amaranthe – The Nexus Review

As a young boy I learned a really important lesson at the hands of one of my favorite bands, Europe. Sure, you laugh, but I was and it was the ’80s, so I was well within my rights to listen to Europe. In 1984, Sweden’s very own, very popular foray into glam rock released a record called Wings of Tomorrow. The album cover was simple. An armored bird of prey, in profile against a red planet cradled in a vast blanket of stars, ready to attack an unseen foe. Five-year-old me was in awe. My unconstrained imagination transported me into space with this mighty, ironclad hawk, to fight futuristic wars. This set the stage for a magical listening experience and the record is still one of my favorites. When I finally got around to The Final Countdown something important had changed: the cover was five poofy haired dudes in space. No suspension of disbelief, no imagination, just Swedish glam rockers in space. And the record? Well, it had one great song… and in retrospect a lot of stinkers. At that moment, an important seed of distrust of bands with their own pictures on the cover of a record was instilled in me. If a band isn’t creative enough to come up with a cool record cover, that band probably isn’t creative enough to write really good music.

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.

Crom – Of Love and Death Review

Crom – Of Love and Death Review

Steel Druhm has been waiting for this for a long time! For the uninitiated, Crom is the brainchild of one Walter Grosse and he functions as a one-man-band, doing it all for the metal masses. His first album, 2008’s Vengeance, was one of those special sleepers that didn’t get nearly as much attention and praise as it deserved. Fusing viking, epic and power metal, it had a unique, engaging style all its own and the songwriting was top-notch (it almost sounded like Tyr mixed with Europe and Hammerheart-era Bathory if you can imagine that). So good was the material, years later, I still find myself singing the immortal line “I swear this oath, this oath of Wengeance…” at least once a week (wengeance, like revenge, is best served cold, with crackers and cheese). While the lyrics were based around viking and mythical themes, it had a dead-serious feeling that most power metal acts couldn’t come close to achieving. After a long wait, we finally get Of Love and Death. So, is it more viking/power with all the sacking and rampaging we expect? Well no, it’s something quite different. Apparently in the three years since Vengeance, Mr. Grosse grew tired of viking battles and blood oaths and turned all introspective and emo. This is an album steeped in the subjects of love, heartache, loss and loneliness. That’s right, he done gone and turned in his war hammer for a big-ass book of love poems. As odd as it seems, it doesn’t totally kill things and Grosse’s writing and performing chops are still there. However, this certainly isn’t the sequel I was hoping for and there are issues that ultimately render it a partial disappointment.

Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time – 50-41

Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time – 50-41

So instead of a review, today, you’re getting what is going to be a 5 piece attempt to shame the assholes over at Gibson, who apparently haven’t listened to heavy metal since 1984. While this list is bound to be controversial (trust me), it is also done with a very specific purpose in mind, which is to remind everyone that heavy metal has continued to exist since Nirvana sold a bunch of records. But, of course, the Anglocentric jackasses over at Gibson didn’t realize this. Anyway, this oughtta piss everyone right off, but hopefully someone involved in the creation of that list feels ashamed for having been such idiots. Note to old guys: shit still happens once you’ve stopped caring.

Across the Sun – Before the Night Takes Us Review

Across the Sun – Before the Night Takes Us Review

An interesting irony of modern metal right now is that while much of the underground seems to be mind-numbingly obsessed with simplicity, a lot of the stuff that is righteously called “mainstream” or that attempts to be mainstream is really getting quite technical and progressive, this is the opposite of what was happening a decade ago, really. As a guy who has really leaned in that direction for a very long time, I have to say that I have trouble being upset by this movement, and it makes me open to a lot of things that I think a lot of metal elitists would never even be willing to listen to. Across the Sun is one of those bands that I think your average death metal or black metal dude is going to take a listen to and say “Oh, fuck these guys,” and turn off. But Angry Metal Guy takes records and gives them a listen for what they are and I can say that Across the Sun’s Before the Night Takes Us is a record chalk full of interesting music, despite some pretty glaring weaknesses.