Heavy Metal

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.

Venator – Echoes From the Gutter Review

Venator – Echoes From the Gutter Review

Echoes From the Gutter finds Venator expanding upon the classic sound they established on the well-executed and well-received 2020 Paradiser EP, a sound that finds them worshipping with reverent fervor before the alter of the deities of early 80s British and American heavy metal. When I listen to these guys, I hear Defenders-era Judas Priest mixed with Jag Panzer, Angel Witch, and Omen; their songs are undeniably heavy and irresistibly catchy.” Hello from the metal gutter.

Sin Starlett – Solid Source of Steel Review

Sin Starlett – Solid Source of Steel Review

“Calling something new “NWoBHM” is a tricky proposition. Some bands and labels seem to fall on the description as a lazy synonym for Maiden, but that clearly only captures a slice of the historical scene. Sin Starlett’s tendency to swap out huge sections of the wardrobe between albums only amplifies the confusion in calling them simply “NWoBHM.” 2012’s awfully-named Throat Attack saw Starlett wear through the combined speed and pop sensibilities of Defenders of the Faith-era Judas Priest. 2016’s Digital Overload, meanwhile, saw the Starletts adopt thrashier trappings. The borderline thrash riffs and vocal barks seemed to signal a new direction for follow-up Solid Source of Steel. Wherever steel may roam.

Thunderor – Fire It Up Review

Thunderor – Fire It Up Review

“Two months into 2022 and Thunderor have already released the best album cover of the year. Part Painkiller, part Jester Race, all airbrushed metal glory. Thunderor is the NWOTHM pet project of Skull Fist drummer JJ Tartaglia who is joined by ex-Skull Fist guitarist Johnny Nesta and ex Annihilator bassist Oscar Rangel. After reading the press release, one can imagine the moment Tartaglia saw Manowar’s “Return of the Warlord” video and traded his skateboard for a chopper and his Vans for a pair of studded boots.” Heavy metal Thunderor.

Guild of Others – Guild of Others Review

Guild of Others – Guild of Others Review

“Too many bands today make progressive music for the sake of being progressive, prioritizing meandering exploration over songcraft, and this is akin to a chef filling a bowl with flavorful seasonings and serving it as a full meal. Guild of Others seem intent on dishing out hearty meals seasoned with proggy goodness, their promo even going so far as to quote prolific music critic Martin Popoff, who is supposed to have said, “Guild of Others accomplish the near impossible, and that’s make progressive metal that is accessible.” Let’s see if there is any truth to these words, or if they’re merely promospeak.” Guild to last.

Absolva – Fire in the Sky Review

Absolva – Fire in the Sky Review

“Meat n’ taters. It doesn’t get more basic, humble, and satisfying than that. The Manchester-based Brits in Absolva are the musical equivalent of that essential cuisine staple. Having the distinction of being the backing band for Blaze Bayley, the material they create on their own is very much in the Blaze school of classic British heavy metal – familiar, comforting, and satisfying. Fire in the Sky is their sixth album and finds Absolva playing to their strengths while sitting dead center in their comfort zone.” Back to basics.

Night Cobra – Dawn of the Serpent Review

Night Cobra – Dawn of the Serpent Review

“Snakes are as metal as skulls and demons, and nighttime is when all the fun, sketchy things happen. Ipso facto, Night Cobra is a spectacular name for a metal band. Especially for one throwing back so hard to the early 80s that they probably suffered slipped discs and Romulan back gout. On their Dawn of the Serpent debut, these Texas-based retro rockers deliver a mix of NWoBHM and early American power metal.” Snake bitten.