Heavy Metal

Alta Reign – Mother’s Day Review

Alta Reign – Mother’s Day Review

“Ah, the first review of 2021. The awfulness of 2020 is finally behind us and the air is thick with hope and boundless possibilities. The world is nearly our oyster once again and everything is poised to come up roses. Because I feel spiritually reborn and brimming with optimism, I picked an upbeat hard rock/metal promo to be my carefree entry point into the year’s grinding review schedule.” Yer Mom!

Them – Return to Hemmersmoor [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Them – Return to Hemmersmoor [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“I can’t believe we never received the promo for Them‘s Return to Hemmersmoor. I mean, seriously, I’m their biggest fan! Even when their first album fell into the hands of an anti-Diamonder, I still hailed the shit out of it. This October, I even asked my kids if they wanted to watch Tim Burton’s Sweet Hollow. That’s how much the band is on my mind.” Themsmoor.

Wanderer – Awakening Force [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Wanderer – Awakening Force [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“For the second year in a row, a metal band from Portugal floored me with something I had no idea that I wanted to hear until I heard it. Last year it was Midnight Priest, and this year it’s Wanderer with their debut record Awakening Force. It’s not that either band are doing something extremely novel, but it’s their execution and emphasis on specific parts of their influences that make them both special.” All that wander and not lame.

Yer Metal Is Olde: King Diamond – The Eye

Yer Metal Is Olde: King Diamond – The Eye

“Then there’re examples like Fast Eddie Clarke walking away from Motörhead and the canning of Ozzy Osbourne by Black Sabbath. Anthrax, Exodus, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest lost their vocalists, who psyched everyone out and returned later anyway. In some cases, end-of-era albums are more like transition pieces—bridging the gap between the band of old and the band of new. Arguably Metallica‘s …And Justice For All fits the bill. It was clear that Justice was different, but it wasn’t until Metallica arrived that everyone saw what Justice really was. King Diamond‘s The Eye is also such an album.” Fading eyesight.

Iron Savior – Skycrest Review

Iron Savior – Skycrest Review

Iron Savior may not have started the whole Euro-power genre, but founder/vocalist/guitarist Piet Sielck certainly had his hands on the original putty as a member of the early version of Helloween. Though he never ended up recording with them, you can hear the influence of that protozoic era of power metal in everything Iron Savior does. Since their 1997 debut they’ve consistently churned out quality Euro-power with strong links to classic metal and they’ve always delivered it with more heft and muscle than 99.999% of their frilly be-shirted peers. Skycrest is their 12th platter of metallic anthems to the Metal Godz and things are as they should be.” Iron sharpens other iron.

Schaffer/Barlow Project – Winter Nights Review

Schaffer/Barlow Project – Winter Nights Review

“It was all fun and games at first. “Give the n00b this symphonic power Christmas album. That’ll weed him out.” Everyone had a good laugh, and I survived the ordeal, but then there was precedent. So the following year, a second flaming bag of reindeer shit marked “Christmas Cookies” was ding-dong-ditched at my be-wreathed door. I played along while Steel and AMG giggled behind the bushes. But when a seasonal lump of coal by power metal power players shows up in the promo bin, suddenly it’s not so funny. Suddenly there are whisperings in the break room. “Don’t give it to Cherd. He doesn’t even like power metal.” “I heard he doesn’t even celebrate Christmas. Didn’t someone say he’s Jewish?” Well guess what bitches, I’m subjecting myself to this one out of spite.” Season’s beating!