German Metal

Helloween – Helloween Review

Helloween – Helloween Review

Helloween gets 97.543% of the credit for creating what we now think of as the Euro-power metal sound. Led by the high-pitched wailing of Kai Hansen, their Walls of Jericho debut was a nonstop rush of speed and irresistible hooks, and Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I was less speedy but far more polished and majestic, featuring the vocal power of a young Michael Kiske. When it was announced that BOTH long absent frontmen would be returning to Helloween to join current frontman Andi Deris for a new album, I felt conflicted.” He should have squashed his expectations.

Demon Incarnate – Leaves of Zaqqum Review

Demon Incarnate – Leaves of Zaqqum Review

“For two weeks in a row, I found promos that claim Candlemass as a major influence, and I simply had to have them. Last week saw me positively handling former Candlemass vocalist Rob Lowe’s new project Grief Collector, so I was hoping to ride that slow, bludgeoning wave into this week as I tackle the groovy doom of Germany’s Demon Incarnate.” Break out the grief blower.

Eremit – Bearer of Many Names Review

Eremit – Bearer of Many Names Review

“Two years ago, German then-duo Eremit trudged onto the scene with a 68-minute, three-song mammoth, Carrier of Weight, an album that contained a foreboding atmosphere, a production that could crush an elephant like it was an empty aluminum can, and about six or seven total riffs between all three gargantuan-length songs. It was a bit much for me, but even then, I could sense the potential for these sludge-bearers to smother the masses and climb to the top of the heap where witches with bells sit upon oaken (Lewandowski-painted) thrones, surveying the wastelands forevermore. If there was something that the shitstorm that was 2020 and parts of 2021 taught me, it’s that patience is most certainly a welcome virtue, and time can soften an old fuddy-duddy like yours truly. As such, the now-trio-again have seen fit to unleash their newest beast, Bearer of Many Names, with a sleeker, heavier disposition.” Names with weight.

Desaster – Churches Without Saints Review

Desaster – Churches Without Saints Review

“It’s been 4 long years since we got a Desaster album, and the world has certainly gone to Hell in a deathbasket without them. Though it does seem highly on brand for these sleazy creepers to release their ninth platter o’ splatter at the tail end of a global pandemic, so here comes Churches Without Saints, ready or not. For those of you not in the know, Desaster play an unhinged, unpolished style of blackened thrash with loads of classic metal influences crammed into every available nook, cranny and orifice. They’ve never cared about what’s trendy or popular, relentlessly pounding away with their caveman blackthrash style one decade after another like the remorseless war grinders they are.” St. Desaster.

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

“I have a confession to make. I have a pathological aversion to bands named after people. Unless your name is Ozzy or Dio, I’m probably not going to listen to your album. Ok, I guess I love the solo stuff from Warrel Dane and Michael Romeo, but that’s it! I honestly can’t explain why, but I’ve just always thought that metal is a band’s genre. Anyways, I’ve said all that to immediately contradict myself.” What’s in a name?

Hellryder – The Devil Is a Gambler Review

Hellryder – The Devil Is a Gambler Review

“There are castles and dragons, maidens and jesters, kings and queens. But genres have mixed. Instead of shiny armor, the knights are clothed in black leather. The queen serves as a groupie to the local tale spinners. And, the womenfolk have hair bigger than the menfolk’s broadswords. This is a place where stories of love are equally as common as those of war and mythology. It’s a strange time. Conformity and individuality struggle daily. Can members of this society compromise? Evolution is inevitable. Can they combine their best traits and push on to build something greater than their two parts? Lo and behold, this world exists—for better or worse. It’s the world of Hellryder, and according to them, The Devil Is a Gambler.” Gamblor will break you.

Cross Vault – As Strangers We Depart Review

Cross Vault – As Strangers We Depart Review

“There are certain key words and taglines that all but guarantee your friendly stronghold Steel will seize a promo as his own, jealously guarding it from interlopers, pretenders and would-be promo usurpers. Putting “Viking doom” in your promo blurb alongside reference to Bathory is one such way to score a hard ticket to the iron reviewing table. Germany’s Cross Vault have been toiling away in relative obscurity since 2014, heavily influenced by acts like Warning and crafting downcast material that often feels like a follow up to that act’s monumental Watching from a Distance opus. By 2015 a heavier, more grandiose sound made an appearance alongside the Warning-isms, somewhat justifying Viking era Bathory comparisons. After 4 years of silence, third album As Strangers We Depart sees the band once again searching for that perfect blend of doom, gloom and epic sounds.” Doom n’ boom.

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

“Everyone loves a good comeback story. For German brutal deathcore quintet Mental Cruelty, their comeback story begins in 2018, wherein they rolled up on your beach brandishing a weapon of divine destruction named Pergatorium. Then, Inferis dropped less than a year later. To my dismay, that record abandoned much of what made Pergatorium fun and compelling, instead resorting to cheap genre tricks, lifeless breakdowns and unsatisfying symphonics. Looking back, I probably overrated Inferis by a half-point, such was my disappointment with the album after such a strong debut. Enter third installment A Hill to Die Upon.” Obsessed by (Mental) Cruelty.

Poverty’s No Crime – A Secret To Hide Review

Poverty’s No Crime – A Secret To Hide Review

Poverty’s No Crime plays a very archetypal brand of progressive metal as developed in the mid-80’s by other genre veterans such as Fates Warning and 90s acts like Dream Theater. This means expansive songs that still hold on to classic verse-chorus structures, recognizable riffs and melodic leads, but allow for a lot of exploration upon the motifs within these tracks.” Operation: Povertycrime.

Fyrnask – VII-Kenoma Review

Fyrnask – VII-Kenoma Review

“When I think of the sprawling extreme metal bands that I admire the most – The Ruins of Beverast, Urfaust, Spectral Lore, Blut Aus Nord and Darkspace a handful – I picture their music as labyrinthine cathedrals: their domes, spires and towers encrusted in shadowy depth; their facades etched in malicious secrets, crafted meticulously over hundreds of years; a visitor’s footsteps echoing minutely against the leering iconography of the interior walls. Using rough raw material, the best bands craft cathedrals of splendor that loom over the scene with menacing authority. Many bands, too many bands, attempt to recreate the fine detail of the best. They try, but the foundation of their place of worship is fractured and cheap to begin with. The finished product stands tall for a brief moment in time, but as the wind changes the structure falls – they lack the intricacy, the balance, the transitions. Another band on the rubble heap. On a plot of land somewhere in the East of Germany another architect lays the first stones of a new creation. Fyrnask has experience.” Building toward destruction.