High Spirits

White Magician – Dealers of Divinity Review

White Magician – Dealers of Divinity Review

“In the unhallowed halls of Angry Metal Guy World Headquarters, some of the thralls writers wax on about what a great year it has been for death metal. I would put forward that it’s also been pretty decent for traditional/epic/classic metal – or whatever you want to call it. Enter White Magician, a quartet of like-minded classic metal aficionados from Detroit, and their debut release, Dealers of Divinity. These guys hope to take their brand of classic rock and metal all the way to the top. Professing to be a blend of Mercyful Fate and Blue Öyster Cult, could the odds be stacked in their favor?” Mages wild.

Night – High Tides – Distant Skies Review

Night – High Tides – Distant Skies Review

“Nobody will remember this, but back in 2017 Night’s album Raft of the World found its way onto my year-end list. This Swedish cadre of retro-rockers wormed their way onto my playlists with a catchier-than-it-should-have-been brand of 70’s hard rock, drawing influence from bands I love such as Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy. They started out as a NWoBHM-worshiping group, and have evolved over the years into a very classic hard rock act. High Tides – Distant Skies sees the band shed nearly all of their metallic influences, save for some proto-metal riffing, in exchange for the classic rock of Blue Öyster Cult and, yes, Dire Straits.” That ain’t working. Or is it?

High Spirits – Hard to Stop Review

High Spirits – Hard to Stop Review

Hard to Stop seems an apropos title for a new High Spirits platter, as founder and solo performer Chris Black (Dawnbringer, Professor Black, Aktor) cannot easily be dissuaded from his quest to fuse the hard rock playfulness of Thin Lizzy into a metal format. On album number four, he’s once again assembled a collection of high energy rockers built around simple but effective hooks and harmonies.” Never stop never stopping.

Nite – Darkness Silence Mirror Flame Review

Nite – Darkness Silence Mirror Flame Review

“I’m an old dude and there’s no getting around it. Because of my advanced case of age, I’m much more susceptible to nostalgia-core than those younger than I, and when 80s-flavored fares are hawked, I’ll always elbow my way to the front and sample them lustily. Nite is a brand spanking new project by members of Dawnbringer, Satan’s Wrath and High Spirits, and what they’re cooking here is a rollicking mixture of classic 80s metal with a decidedly blackened edge.” Those glorious 80s Nites.

Aktor – Placebo Review

Aktor – Placebo Review

“Chris Black (AKA Professor Black) has been a living wellspring for great metal over the past decade, crafting great music with DawnbringerHigh Spirits and Pharaoh. Somewhat overlooked in his mighty repertoire is his Aktor project, which until recently only had one release to its credit, 2015s Paranoia. It was a rocking affair heavily influenced by 70s acts like Thin Lizzy and Blue Oyster Cult and it was a fun, breezy listening experience with plenty of hooks. Placebo is the outfit’s second release and keeps the basic formula intact while adding an ass-ton of crazy synth and keyboard work, making for a somewhat loony soundscape.” It’s time for your medicine, Mr. Black.

War Cloud – State of Shock Review

War Cloud – State of Shock Review

“It can be hard to keep up, can’t it? You barely scrape together the time to listen to one album and another three demanding your time are dropped in your lap. So I won’t do that to you, my friend. Grab a beverage if you like, and join me. Come sit a little closer and let’s simply enjoy each other’s company with a bit of comfort metal to take the pressure off.” Bob Ross, metal reviewer.

Ice War – Manifest Destiny Review

Ice War – Manifest Destiny Review

“Unless your band is Galneryus or Sulphur Aeon, a release date within a week of Christmas is about as suspect as it gets. Ice War, the moniker under which the Canadian solo artist Jo Capitalcide operates, doesn’t dodge the dregs of December either. Ice War’s new platter drops on the cusp of Christmas eve and is about as lousy as you’d expect a one-man traditional metal band to be at this point in the year. I don’t know whether that constitutes a spoiler, but if so, here’s another spoiler for you: the next Adam Sandler movie will be an unfunny comedy in an exotic locale. Some things are just foregone conclusions.” Fabulous disasters.

Wytch Hazel – II: Sojourn [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

Wytch Hazel – II: Sojourn [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“2018 was the year Steel Druhm paid way more attention to what was going on with Bandcamp. I monitored what writers and readers were buying and recommending and found a few gems along the way. My favorite was II: Sojourn, the sophomore outing by U.K. retro rockers, Wytch Hazel.” Rub it on.

Hypnos – Set Fire to the Sky Review

Hypnos – Set Fire to the Sky Review

“In the vanguard of the retro rock/metal movement are High Spirits, Gygax, Audrey Horne, and Night Flight Orchestra: bands that wear their influences not only on their sleeves, but on their entire bodies. They pay loving homage to the sounds of the 70s and 80s, but their songwriting prowess sets them apart from the crowd. Rather than making a mockery of Thin Lizzy or Toto, they revel in the sound and chart their own path forward – either in earnestness or in ultimate cheese. Sweden’s Hypnos aim to join this exalted group with their third album, Set Fire to the Sky.” Fly to the past.