Helstar

Ross the Boss – Born of Fire Review

Ross the Boss – Born of Fire Review

Ross the Boss is one of those bands I can’t help rooting for, being as it’s the outfit of Ross Friedman, the man behind the guitar on all the classic Manowar albums. Those platters were a huge part of my early metal education and I still cherish them dearly, as all trve metal fans should. Ross’ post-Manowar projects have been somewhat hit or miss, and 2018s By Blood Sworn was very disappointing despite some major league talent coming on board to help out. Because of this, I majorly tempered expectations coming into their 4th album, Born of Fire.” Who’s the Boss?

Riot City – Burn the Night Review

Riot City – Burn the Night Review

“Before one can burn the night, one must first own the night. That’s exactly what Riot City set out to do on their rip roaring retro 80s metal debut. Properly done, retro metal is synonymous with unbridled enthusiasm, fun, and a middle finger to all authority everywhere. It should overflow like a latrine at a 4-day metal festival with in-your-face riffs, pounding drums, and vocals higher than Colorado post-2014. Nuance, subtly and restraint all must be forsaken and expunged and animal spirits embraced. Riot City know these truisms and live them as they rock hard and ride free like the 80s never ended.” Burning the midnight steel.

Ross the Boss – By Blood Sworn Review

Ross the Boss – By Blood Sworn Review

Steely D loves him some Manowar. As ridiculous as their persona became over time, they were one of my favorite bands growing up and I still love that kind of epic, chest-thumping warrior metal. Ross the Boss was the guitarist during the band’s golden era and helped write many of their best songs. He left the fold following 1988s Kings of Metal, and since then he’s dabbled in a solo career only in fits and starts. By Blood Sworn is his third album under the regrettable Ross the Boss moniker, and the first since 2010s Hailstorm.” The crown and the gory.

Shadowkeep – Shadowkeep Review

Shadowkeep – Shadowkeep Review

“Britain’s Shadowkeep lay more or less dormant for seven or eight years following 2008’s The Hourglass Effect, which itself was delayed due to line-up changes. This oft-contracted plague of metal bands received a cure in January of 2017 when none other than James Rivera of Helstar stepped forward and offered his services as the voice of the band for its long-awaited self-titled fourth studio album. As something of a fan of Shadowkeep’s earlier work, and especially The Hourglass Effect, I was interested to see what James would bring to the table in a setting other than Helstar (a band I’m admittedly not overly fond of).” Shadows of Hel(star).

Witherfall – Nocturnes and Requiems Review

Witherfall – Nocturnes and Requiems Review

“When you spend a lot of time sorting through an overloaded promo bin, sometimes it becomes hard to see the dark forest from the evil trees. You look for the big releases, separate out the worst of the unsolicited junk, try to find things to appease the overly finicky tastes of our diva fancypants drama club review crew – it’s a real grind. And sometimes as you grind along, you spot an unheralded dark-horse that you just have to hear. That’s how Witherfall came into my life.” Tales of romance in the promo bin.

Heavens Decay – The Great Void of Mystery Review

Heavens Decay – The Great Void of Mystery Review

“We all know December is the Great Dumpster Fire of Destiny for promos, and one does not simply sort through it without being stunned by the world-class dreck the labels unleash upon us poor, defenseless reviewers like so much coal in our stockings. Even in dead-end December though, you can sometimes trip over an industrial grade gem – the kind that will never shine like a pricey diamond, but may just win your affection anyway with its durable, utilitarian badassery. The Great Void of Mystery by Heavens Decay is one such stone of note.” December dumpster diving is risky business.

Helstar – Vampiro Review

Helstar – Vampiro Review

“It’s always a dangerous proposition for a band to revisit one of their most beloved albums and attempt a sequel. Nine times out of ten they can’t come close to recapturing whatever magic made their earlier work so enduring and they end up besmirching their legacy in the process (Operation Mindcrime II, anyone?). And so it was with great discomfiture I received news Helstar would be revisiting the same vampiric themes first examined on their classic Nosferatu album on new opus, Vampiro.” Dead and loving it…again.

Diviner – Fallen Empires Review

Diviner – Fallen Empires Review

“Greece loves heavy metal. This is known. From symphonic blackness to cheese-coated dragon and sandal power silliness, they’re well represented as fans and performers alike. Now Diviner joins the eternal fight to defend the faith with their Fallen Empires debut, weaponizing a kind of traditional metal with deep roots in the mid-80s American scene.” Enter the No Dragon Zone!

Encyrcle – Encyrcle Review

Encyrcle – Encyrcle Review

“Speed metal wasn’t around long as a separate genre before it got absorbed into the more popular thrash bubble following the Bay Area explosion. Over the years the differences between the styles blurred, and while they’re slight, speed metal was always closer to classic metal in attitude with a greater emphasis on memorability and hooks. And that’s where Denmark’s Encyrcle come in.” Nobody saw this dose of old timey fury coming.

Satan’s Host – Pre-dating God Parts I and II Review

Satan’s Host – Pre-dating God Parts I and II Review

“This is a strange metal saga, so bear with me. Satan’s Host formed way back in 1977 as a classic American metal band not far removed from Priest and Maiden. Though lurking in the shadows for years, they weren’t able to get anything released until 1985 when the band was joined by the ever mighty Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin of Jag Panzer fame. Their Metal From Hell debut attained a sort of cult status for its hijacking of Mercyful Fate‘s sound and the mystery of who was and wasn’t in the band (thus making them the original Ghost).” Steel Druhm didn’t see this coming and got sucker punched…twice!