German Metal

Sodom – In War and Pieces Review

Sodom – In War and Pieces Review

Sodom, sweet Sodom, ever so reliable and happily predictable. They’re the thrash equivalent of your favorite concert t-shirt. It’s always there for you, it’s comfortable, beer soaked and you go way way back together. Since 1982 these German metal-meisters have given us thrash and more thrash with very little stylistic variation or experimentation and for most long time fans, that’s just how we want it. After all, Sodom always specialized in simple, brutal and dirty thrash metal with punk influences and they were proud to be a thrash band even when thrash wasn’t “cool” anymore. I never had to waste time worrying if they would start exploring jazz fusion, ambient soundscapes or become self important about the message in their music. No sir, Sodom was just Sodom. Thankfully, the comforting non-progression continues on In War and Pieces, their thirteenth platter and they continue to deliver their battle tested (and themed) thrash lunacy.

Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again Review

Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again Review

Nobody, and I mean nobody does epic Scottish war metal better than those crazy Germans in Grave Digger! On their FIFTEENTH album The Clans Will Rise Again, the Diggers revisit territory well covered by 1996’s Tunes of War and we get all new tales of William “Braveheart” Wallace and his efforts to cast off the yoke of English tyranny and oppression. By now most know what to expect from a new Grave Digger platter since these guys are the AC/DC of Germanic metal and there aren’t many big surprises here either. You get some rollicking, guitar-driven, semi-thrash power metal numbers with the unique and harsh warble of sole original member Chris Boltendahl, and few slower power ballads tossed in for atmosphere and such. Although there are significant consistency issues here, if you liked what they were cooking before, you’ll probably like this and if you didn’t, you still won’t.

Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time Review

Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time Review

Blind Guardian is easily one of the most unique bands that modern metal has ever encountered. I really do think that they are one of the most original acts to ever come out of any scene, sub-genre or crevace within the greater history of metal. Combining bay area thrash influence with a German power/thrash legacy and sprinkling liberally with Queen, this German act has been at the forefront of power metal and progressive metal since Imaginations from the Other Side (for sure, and probably even before that). Few bands in metal command the kind of insane loyalty from their fanbase and few bands ever deserve that kind of loyalty, frankly. Even for me, personally, Blind Guardian was one of the bands that really got me exploring modern power metal. I picked up Nightfall in Middle-Earth and my life was forever changed. That record still ranks in my top 10 of all time, easily.

Fimbulthier – Arise Review

Fimbulthier – Arise Review

Into every reviewer’s lap, some crap will surely fall. Now, I can’t complain too much since I’ve had a pretty crap-free run so far as a scribe for the mighty and esteemed Angry Metal Guy. Sadly, that run has now come to a sudden and painful end with Arise, the second album from Germany’s Fimbulthier. I had never heard of these gents before but apparently their 2007 debut was some kind of viking/death metal hybrid, which by the looks of online reviews, didn’t exactly warm the cockles of the metal minded among us. Arise however, is about as viking as Pee Wee Herman in drag. No, seriously, maybe I misread the band description and it said Tricycling metal because there is nothing remotely close to viking metal here. What there is plenty of however, is awfulness and dreck.

Thulcandra – Fallen Angel’s Dominion Review

Thulcandra – Fallen Angel’s Dominion Review

At long last, the new Dissection Album!! Well, it isn’t..but it should be! After 2006’s massively disappointing Reinkaos album and the subsequent tragic loss of Jon Nodtveidt, the once mighty and majestic Swedish black metal band was part of metal history. The markers on Dissection’s grave being the highly esteemed albums The Somberlain and Storm of the Light’s Bane. Although there will never be another Dissection, Thulcandra is trying with all their collective might be the next best thing and their debut Fallen Angel’s Dominion comes as close as possible to reviving those fallen heroes of old. If you absolutely detest bands aping the style and sound of a seminal genre icon, cease reading and go find other worthwhile pursuits. However, if you are willing to listen to a quality band that forsakes originality in favor of blatant hero worship, stay tuned folks.

Equilibrium – Rekreatur Review

Equilibrium – Rekreatur Review

Equilibrium hit the world right in the face when Sagas was released a couple years ago and they really became a folk metal (pagan metal, viking metal, whatever the fuck you want to call it) sensation. And sensational is really how many people experienced that record. It was like a cross between Finntroll, Ensiferum, Turisas and Rhapsody of Fire: unceasingly melodic, over-the-top, ridiculously happy and engaging as hell. In 2010, now, this elite German act is returning with a follow-up to what is already considered to be a classic in the genre, with their third record entitled Rekreatur. How could it possibly live up to all the expectations?

Fatal Embrace – The Empires of Inhumanity Review

Fatal Embrace – The Empires of Inhumanity Review

Trends often start off with a good idea or at least a respectable inspiration. However, through imitation and copying, that original idea becomes a trend and the trend gets boring, overdone and ultimately becomes a joke. The retro 80’s power metal trend is in full bloom and many would say the 80’s retro thrash movement has been overdone for years already. As someone who grew up in the 80’s metal era, I may possess more tolerance for this whole “retro” thing since it does this old heart good to hear a quality metal album that truly captures the sound, energy and spirit of a time long gone. Therefore, my review of The Empires of Inhumanity, the new release by German thrashers Fatal Embrace will be more charitable than what it would have received from other angry metal guys. In all fairness, these Teutonic shredders have been around since 1993 so they could rightfully be considered part of the original thrash movement rather than a retro band. Either way though, over four albums Fatal Embrace have demonstrated an unwavering dedication to the 80’s thrash style of Slayer and Sodom while foregoing all modern styles and current trends completely.

Lacrimas Profundere – The Grandiose Nowhere Review

Lacrimas Profundere – The Grandiose Nowhere Review

Alright all you self-loathing, gothic creepozoids and lovers of exquisite pain, step right up and get the perfect soundtrack for stalking your ex. Yes, it’s The Grandiose Nowhere by those Germanic gloom meisters Lacrimas Profundere. Album number nine shows these boys up to their usual dark tricks and giving you some hard charging, gloom infested rock n droll with plenty of misery for those who love the cold grip of melancholia. Lest you think that doesn’t sound like fun, I am thrilled to report this is a mighty rocking and rollicking goth-o-thon that makes you nod your head no matter how badly you want to sit and stare at the ground in misery.

The Ocean – Heliocentric Review

The Ocean – Heliocentric Review

Apparently everyone but me has heard of The Ocean Collective and has been all stoked about them for the past few years and talking about how cool they are. Apparently they’ve even opened up for bands like Cult of Luna and Opeth and have toured the world doing tons of shows and going through a bajillion members on the way! Who knew!? Apparently everyone but me! So let me say that this record was a shot in the dark. Metal Blade is distroing another more underground band through their label and while this hasn’t always done them well, this was definitely a good choice.