High Roller Records

Warlord – Free Spirit Soar Review

Warlord – Free Spirit Soar Review

“And the cannons of destruction have begun… anew! Long ago in a very different time, guitarist Bill Tsamis and drummer Mark Zonder (later to become a member of Fates Warning) joined forces tro create a new heavy metal project. Warlord was a little band with a huge potential, and their early demos quickly caught the attention of Metal Blade Records. Their 1983 Deliver Us EP made an impression on the scene, offering regal, semi-progressive American power metal with hooks, pomp, and polish. Despite the promising start, lineup issues and the odd decision to use a live performance recorded and filmed in an empty theater as their full-length debut hurt their momentum. And though And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun… was a solid piece of 80s metal with some major high points, it gained limited traction and left a confused public wondering what to make of it. Further lineup issues quickly undermined the band’s resolve and Warlord came to an ignoble end all too soon. The band’s cult mystique endured however.” Return of the Warlord!

Messiah – Christus Hypercubus Review

Messiah – Christus Hypercubus Review

“Formed in 1984, their first two albums—1985’s Hymn to Abramelin and 1986’s Extreme Cold Weather—have been cited as classics of the proto-death/thrash era, before they split up in 1995. Messiah then stepped through time to their reformation in 2018 into a far more convoluted world of metal, thanks to the ever-increasing emphasis on sub-genres, trends, and streaming. Messiah’s response was to ignore all that hubbub, holding fast to their aggression of yore as they released the well-received comeback album Fracmont in 2020. 2022 unfortunately saw the untimely passing of Messiah’s original vocalist Andy Kaina, but an undeterred Messiah pressed on and are now set to dish out another beating in the form of Christus Hypercubus.” New age Messiah.

Morbid Saint – Swallowed by Hell Review

Morbid Saint – Swallowed by Hell Review

“Once upon a time, there was a little-known thrash act out of Wisconsin called Morbid Saint. They were nasty, savage, and uncompromising. They also had trouble getting attention from labels or recording a proper album. Instead of a finished studio product, they released their 1988 demo titled Spectrums of Death in 1990. It might not have been a polished recording, but it showcased their unrelenting aggression and warmongering fury. It went on to become an underground darling and its stature has grown over time. They attempted a follow-up outing in 1991-92 but once again never made it past the demo stage. That demo wasn’t made public until 2015, and by then it was little but a historical footnote. This record of frustrated ambitions is why it was a shock to see a promo from Morbid Saint in the crust muck of the sump.” Full Spectrum assault.

Protector – Excessive Outburst of Depravity Review

Protector – Excessive Outburst of Depravity Review

“The same week I meet Flames for the very first time I’m also tasked with reviewing Germany’s long-running thrash/death act Protector. Formed way the Hell back in 1986, they’ve been seasoning the obese for decades with a style that grabs equally from thrash and proto-death metal. If you imagine Morbid Saint smashed into a thick romesco with Kryptos and Sodom, you have the basic idea of what Protector is aiming for.” Protector or tormentor?

Ironflame – Where Madness Dwells Review

Ironflame – Where Madness Dwells Review

“About two and a half years ago, I covered Blood Red Victory, the third full-length album from Ironflame, and I nearly dropped the 4.0hammer™ on it. That record had some incredible traditional anthems on it, and the chorus of “Honor Bound” still runs through my head every so often—usually when I’m forced to deal with a commitment that I regret making. The Ohio-based Ironflame is the brainchild of one Andrew D’Cagna, an artist probably best known for his work as a drummer in blackened bands like Nechochwen and Obsequiae, but this project reveals that D’Cagna’s abilities cannot be contained to just one instrument or just one style of music. When I reviewed Blood Red Victory, I felt like D’Cagna was on the verge of true greatness, and I’m happy to report that follow-up Where Madness Dwells proves that, as usual, I was right.” Iron evens the score.

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.

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.

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.

Lord Fist – Wilderness of Hearts Review

Lord Fist – Wilderness of Hearts Review

Holdeneye, you’ve been assigned Lord Fist. Nothing personal.” Lord Protector Steel Druhm occasionally likes to try to cover up his warm, gooey, soft, loving center by presenting a hard candy shell. He does this by brandishing one or several of his many weapons, by pretending to enjoy the daily staff beatings morale-building exercises, or by tossing you promos that he thinks you’ll hate. The latter often feels as if a grenade has been dropped into your unsuspecting lap sans pin, but I was elated when I saw that Lord Fist falls under the New Wave of British Heavy Metal genre and that they hail from Finland — much like the band that I covered in my first ever review for AMG. Might Steel have unwittingly lobbed a winner into my hands, or have I just been Lord fisted?” Fist of the North Steel.