Heavy Metal

Anvil – Impact Is Imminent Review

Anvil – Impact Is Imminent Review

“O’ Canada, guess who’s back? Good ol’ Anvil, with their ninety-eighth full-length album. And look at this: another writer penning an Anvil review. Once you’ve reviewed Anvil, you can’t get yourself to do it again. It’s only been two years since their last release (which is about the same as all their albums), and there’s no sign of stopping this Canadian threesome—even if you want them to stop. But, no, they keep coming with a sound they helped to cement 40 years ago. But, while you all might think their sound is irrelevant, Anvil sure as hell doesn’t care.” Danger: Falling Anvil.

Nechochwen – Kanawha Black Review

Nechochwen – Kanawha Black Review

“It seems like forever since Nechochwen graced our collective lobes with an album. It’s actually been 7 years since the excellent Heart of Akamon, but it feels longer given everything that’s happened since it dropped. Now we finally get new platter Kanawha Black and with it, a different approach for the West Virginia twosome. The Native American themes are still present, and their fusion of genres is still in play, but now the breadth and scope of it all has been thrown wide open.” Mad ambitions.

Mirror – The Day The Bastard Leaders Die Review

Mirror – The Day The Bastard Leaders Die Review

Mirror plays a NWoBHM-inspired brand of retro metal. They also reflect a variety of influences from 70s prog to early 80s metal. Their third album, The Day Bastard Leaders Die, offers up a 44-minute tour back to the time when class was stained, and killers were running free. The band is a passion project for Greek bassist, Tasos Danazoglou – most famously known for his short stint in Electric Wizard. Here he’s under the influence again paying tribute to the music he clearly loves.” Faded reflections and bad luck.

Wolf – Shadowlands Review

Wolf – Shadowlands Review

Wolf have been a reliably entertaining throwback metal act since they first hit the scene back in 1999. Led by vocalist/guitarist Niklas Stålvind, the band successfully integrated NWoBHM basics with elements of Euro-power, giving them a wealth of excitable elements to throw at the wall and make stick. And albums like Evil StarThe Black Flame, and Legions of Bastards found them getting very sticky indeed, making those platters especially fun to rock out with. That said, 2020s Feeding the Machine saw them attempt a style shift that didn’t completely work, resulting in my least favorite outing from them. It seems the band didn’t love the results either, as ninth album Shadowlands is a shift back to what’s always worked for them.” Good doggy!

Nite – Voices of the Kronian Moon Review

Nite – Voices of the Kronian Moon Review

“There’s something about blackened vocals over trad stylings that just feels right. Whether it’s Midnight, Demiser, or Bewitcher, the juxtaposition of filthy vocals and NWoBHM leads never fails to shake me out of my stupor in the skull pit.  So I was thrilled when our great ape overlord bestowed this formerly nameless n00b with Nite’s sophomore album, Voices of the Kronian Moon. Darkness Silence Mirror Flame piqued Steel Druhm’s wizened and jaded ears, but the album’s length hard-capped its ceiling. During the pandemic, have these Californians been taking Nite courses at the Steel School of Editing for Wayward Bands?” Moon Nites.

Satan – Earth Infernal Review

Satan – Earth Infernal Review

Satan is the original Benjamin Button band. By this I mean the older they get, the better and more youthful sounding their output becomes. Part of the original NWoBHM phenomenon, their 1983 debut Court in the Act made the rounds at Casa Druhm back in the days of denim and high tops, but I was never especially taken with their sound, which felt like a less catchy version of Diamond Head or Angel Witch. I didn’t bother with their 1987 follow-up, Suspended Sentence, and I all but forgot about them as I got deeper into thrash and more extreme styles. Fast-forward 26 years to 2013 and they made a comeback with Life Sentence, and virtually nothing about them sounded the same.” Satan is real.

Luzifer – Iron Shackles Review

Luzifer – Iron Shackles Review

“A question was posed on Twitter, the most reliable source of information in the world, earlier this year asking which up-and-coming band was going to be the Next Big Thing. Someone commented that Luzifer was that band, and seeing March promo just sitting there all forlorn, I grabbed it. I knew nothing about them, and there’s a good chance you, dear reader, did not either. Turns out this German trio is three-fifths of the speed metal band Vulture, and Iron Shackles is their first full-length release.” Zatan’s Returnz.

Redshark – Digital Race Review

Redshark – Digital Race Review

“Continuing the trend of covering things I don’t normally cover, I traveled at the speed of light metal to Barcelona, where I encountered an angry, ‘roided-out shark wearing nothing but bullet belts and cargo khakis that barely contained his quads. His name is Fred, but his friends and enemies just call him Red, for short. My first encounter with Red looked much like the scenery depicted to your left. Specifically, there were many explosions, gunshots, cacophonies of glass and cigarette-stained plastic shrapnel, and the sweet sound of skulls succumbing to ruthless whirlwinds of ignited ammunition.” Blood in the mortar.

Flames of Fire – Flames of Fire Review

Flames of Fire – Flames of Fire Review

“If you’re a fan of Narnia or DivineFire, you’ll get a warm, fuzzy feeling when you listen to Flames of Fire. These guys play power metal with chunky guitars and big choruses showcasing the gritty, yet beautiful Dio-esque vocals of Liljegren, and it’s a sound that I fell head-over-heels for on DivineFire‘s 2006 album Into a New Dimension—still one of the heaviest power metal albums I’ve ever heard to this day. But where DivineFire displayed obvious overlap with Stefanović’s extreme metal background, Andersson’s compositions for Flames of Fire stay closer to standard heavy/power metal fare.” Are there other kinds of flames?

Sanhedrin – Lights On Review

Sanhedrin – Lights On Review

“I am wholly unfamiliar with Sanhedrin the band aside from remembering that I almost reviewed their 2019 album The Poisoner but ended up not doing so for some reason I can no longer remember. Apparently, the album impressed many, earning Sanhedrin a place on Metal Blade’s roster. This time around, I was bound and determined to not let these New Yorkers slip through my fingers again, so now you get to watch as Judge Holdy hands out his verdict on the band’s third full-length, Lights On. All rise!” Judge not, lest you be judged.