Heavy Metal

Mama Doom – Ash Bone Skin N Stone Review

Mama Doom – Ash Bone Skin N Stone Review

“Occult rock has undergone something of a renaissance. Over the past few years, it would seem that a crop of Blue Öyster Cult devotees have taken a collective step outside of their salt circle and onto the lighted stage. Whether it’s the pop metal Satanism of Ghost, or the 70s-tinged stylings of groups like Lucifer, Blood Ceremony and Witch Mountain, occult rock with just the right amount of metallic edge has taken a very specific subset of the world by storm. So where does New York’s Mama Doom fit into the pentagramed paradigm?” I dismember mama.

Epoch of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

Epoch of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

“2021 has seen it’s share of terrible band names. Epoch of Chirality does very little to up the ante in this regard. The name is bulky and awkward, and even trying to imagine it with an English accent—seeing as how the one-man instrumental project is based in England—doesn’t improve its sonic aesthetics. But as we’ve also seen quite a few times this year, a bad name a bad album does not make. With an open mind, I dove into this synth heavy dose of instrumental metal.” Is chirlaity dead?

Rebellion – We Are the People Review

Rebellion – We Are the People Review

“Germany’s Rebellion isn’t what I’d call a thinking man’s metal band. That said, they’ve released two concept albums based on Shakespeare’s works (Macbeth and King Lear), and they’ve shown a penchant for tackling historical events and individuals over their career. On ninth album We Are the People, they’ve put down the classic English literature and gone deep into the annals of history for a wide-ranging analysis of nationalism, war, and man’s innate desire for freedom and liberty. As a big history buff and admirer of Enlightenment era philosophy, this kind of concept is 100% my manbag.” Natural rights (and wrongs).

Burning Darkness – Dödens Makt Review

Burning Darkness – Dödens Makt Review

“Swedish five-piece Burning Darkness has been kicking around since 1999, going through various periods of inactivity and releasing a number of demos. It was not until 2017, however, that a debut full-length record finally appeared, the self-released The Angel of Light. That raw chunk of melodic black metal sported heavy dollops of both death (“Demonic Bloodlines”) and heavy metal (“Crystallised Curse”), and was enough, it seems, to secure Burning Darkness a deal with Non Serviam Records. Now, the band returns with its sophomore effort, Dödens Makt.” Burning leather and rubber.

Pharaoh – The Powers That Be Review

Pharaoh – The Powers That Be Review

“For a time it seemed Philly-based Pharaoh would be the vanguard of a new wave of gritty American traditional/power metal. Albums like The Longest Night and 2012s Bury the Light bristled with burly riffs and rough-hewn vocals, accentuated by super slick musicality and proggy elements. After nearly nine years without a release, the band’s forward momentum is a thing of the distant past, but that doesn’t mean they can’t drop another barn burning dose of heavy metal thunder with fifth album The Powers That Be.” Curse of the Pharaoh!

Son of Sam – And the Monster Awoke… Review

Son of Sam – And the Monster Awoke… Review

“When Rimfrost disbanded after their magnificent Expedition: Darkness, I thought I’d never get to review something from them again. What’s this gotta do with Rimfrost? You’re about to find out. After Rimfrost parted ways, drummer Throllv and bassist Khratos joined forces to create new music under the moniker Son of Sam. But what is Son of Sam? Is it the next phase of Rimfrost‘s sound? Will they dig deeper than ever to top Expedition: Darkness? Or, is this something else?” The monster next door.

Lucifer’s Hammer – The Trip Review

Lucifer’s Hammer – The Trip Review

“This is shaping up to be quite the old timey week for your old timey tour guide, Steel Druhm. I’ve trudged through the retro death numbskullery of Inhuman Condition, the American power metal throwback style of Starlight Ritual, and now Chile’s Lucifer’s Hammer want to drag me back to the NWoBHM era for some hard rocking fun. Banging the gong of early 80s metal since 2013, Lucifer’s Hammer dropped two prior platters of Maiden / Satan / Saxon-centric material, and third release The Trip finds them doing what they do best – crafting simple metal ditties with a minimum of bells and whistles, but plenty of hooks.” Nailed by the Devil.

Starlight Ritual – Sealed in Starlight Review

Starlight Ritual – Sealed in Starlight Review

Sponge Boy(d) and I don’t exactly have well aligned worldviews or musical tastes, but for whatever reason we both laid claim to the debut by Canadian classic metal act Starlight Ritual. Instead of fussin’ and feudin’, we decided to do a double review of Sealed in Starlight instead. See? People of different opinions can work together! Hailing from Quebec, this crew rocks a heavy metal sound steeped in the 80s. They cite influences ranging from Mötörhead, Rainbow and Judas Priest.” Sealed in the 80s.

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.

Blazon Rite – Endless Halls of Golden Totem Review

Blazon Rite – Endless Halls of Golden Totem Review

“As spring slowly gives way to a hopefully post-Covid summer, thoughts turn to sunshine, sand, and SWORDS! Yes, summertime is when a young man longs to launch campaigns of conquest and quaff strange brews from the skulls of mortal enemies. Philly-based trve metal ensemble Blazon Rite timed their debut full-length to hit right when the urge to pillage begins to take hold, and Endless Halls of Golden Totem promises olde timey, proto-metal worship hopelessly stuck in the early 80s with Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road influences present and accounted for.” Don’t count your totem until they’re defiled.