Heavy Metal

My Refuge – The Anger Is Never Over Review

My Refuge – The Anger Is Never Over Review

“Following a distinctly cheese-less 2021, I decided to cherry pick something smelly. A promo surfaced, bearing both the words “Italian” and “power.” Perfect. However, and disappointingly, a deeper dive into the one sheet showed that this is only four eighteenths of the story; although the founder and main man is indeed Italian, the core band comprises a Spaniard and a German, with a further 15 contributors from across the globe, covering Czech Republic, Turkey, Canada and Venezuela, among others. My Refuge and their second full-length release entitled The Anger Is Never Over takes international to the next level but is it good? Is it cheesy?” No sanctuary from the anger.

Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom Review

Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom Review

“I’ve given out a 4.0 or twenty-one in my time, but this is the first time that one of 4.0ldeneye‘s highly 4.0nored 4.0nies returns 4.0me for yet another s4.0t at glory. Just under two years ago, Portland, Oregon’s Bewitcher released Under the Witching Cross, their sinister sophomore platter of blackened speed metal tunes, and I still haven’t been able to locate my socks after the resulting off-blowing. That record was oozing with attitude, and every track was a killer. I was stoked to hear that the band had been picked up by Century Media for follow-up effort Cursed Be Thy Kingdom.” Cursed by great expectations.

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

“Windshield time also gives me the chance to re-explore my favorite albums. I rarely listen to new promos on the road. This time is dedicated to albums from the Road Gods. Give me something bluesy, something rocking, something upbeat, something I can blare with windows down and my foot inching closer to the floor. Give me something I can scream at the top of my lungs and shift gears to. The simpler, the better. The groovier, the sweeter.” Jesus repossessed your hot rod.

Arion – Vultures Die Alone Review

Arion – Vultures Die Alone Review

“I don’t put much stock in award shows or competitions. Really, who amongst us does? Ever since the first Metal Grammy went to Jethro Tull metal fans around the world have viewed these sorts of things with more than a little trepidation. So when a band comes my way that came to fame in a competition, it’s more a curse than a blessing. Power metal act Arion (the Finnish act, not the Greek) is such a band. As teens these guys were finalists in UMK, the Finnish qualification program for Eurovision, eight years ago.” Beauty pageant meets the metal world.

The Quill – Earthrise Review

The Quill – Earthrise Review

“Man, what a milestone for The Quill. Not a lot of bands, even many of legendary status, survive long enough to see the release of their 10th album, but here we are. Not that I can say I’ve been following the band since its inception. For one, I wasn’t born yet in 1986. For two, my first brush with the band was their last release, Born From Fire, which I reviewed all the way back in 2017. At the time, I much enjoyed their style of straightforward proto-metal, but more than an hour of this style is a lot for any band, especially when a portion of it is spent on subpar material. Have the Swedes hired an editor this iteration, or are we going into overtime once more?” Dad patrol.

Agent Steel – No Other Godz Before Me Review

Agent Steel – No Other Godz Before Me Review

“Ah, the never ending Agent Steel saga sprouts a new, fantastical chapter. As a youthful metal maniac when Agent Steel‘s 1985 debut, Skeptics Apocalypse entered orbit, I was blown away by their Judas Priest on Super Soldier formula sound and the stratospheric, air raid vocals of the enigmatic Jon Cyriis. To this day I still hold that album and 1987 follow up Unstoppable Force close to my heart, mostly due to the over the over-the-top vocal performance of Mr. Cyriis. After Unstoppable Force, the band hit the skids, with the mercurial Cyriis leaving, returning, leaving, being adducted by aliens, and other sorts of drama and Machiavellian conspiracies unfolding.” Gross encounters of the worst kind.

Witchseeker – Scene of the Wild Review

Witchseeker – Scene of the Wild Review

“Wild and rowdy speed metal from Singapore with a penchant for earwormy hooks? Don’t threaten me with a good time! And Witchseeker is all about letting the good times roll on sophomore platter Scene of the Wild (ESL Slip o’ the Month). Taking heavy inspiration from early 80s speed acts Like Oz and Raven and newer bands like High Spirits and especially Enforcer, Witchseeker aim for that sweet spot between manic speed and rocking party anthems that stick on first exposure.” Wild boys.

Yer Metal is Olde: Riot – Thundersteel

Yer Metal is Olde: Riot – Thundersteel

“Unlike the other bands featured in these Retro-spective reviews, New York’s own Riot is a seminal, long running and well known act. Slogging away since 1977, they released classic albums like Rock City and Fire Down Under. So why are they included here you ask? Well, one of their albums seems to have been lost in time and forgotten even though I regard it as their best by far. That album is, or course, 1988’s Thundersteel.” Steel on Steel.

Byron – The Omega Evangelion Review

Byron – The Omega Evangelion Review

“Ah, the random promo pick. It worked well for Gardenstale, who wrote some fancy algorithm that randomly assigned him a Record O’ The Month in Iotunn. Hoping for lighting to strike twice, Yours Truly dug into his hope chest and unearthed his multi-sided dice set. A quick throw of the d30 yielded The Omega Evangelion, the debut album from Finnish upstarts Byron. What started out as a solo project by ex-Church of Void drummer Johannes Lahti.” Dragons, dice, destiny.

Lunar Shadow – Wish to Leave Review

Lunar Shadow – Wish to Leave Review

Lunar Shadow is a relatively young act, but they’ve logged more miles on their progress-o-meter than some bands do over several decades. Here on album number three, Wish to Leave, they’ve undergone their third significant style shift. Having started life playing a form of  retro epic metal fused with black metal, they quickly shifted and incorporated a significant Goth rock element on 2019s The Smokeless Fire, while still trying to make their traditional/epic/NWoBHM/black style function. Now a scant year and change later they’ve shifted deeper into Goth rock and post/indie territory.” Sudden departures and chronic indecisiveness.