Iced Earth

Trauma – Awakening Review

Trauma – Awakening Review

“Founding drummer Kris Gustofson is back with the band’s recent guitar duo, ex-Testament powerhouse Greg Christian, and little-known Brian Allen (ex-Vicious Rumors and the like). And together, these old boys bring the heat. More than any other album in their catalog, Awakening is a true thrasher. While Allen still sports classic high-ends made popular by Hillier, Anthrax, Heretic, and Metal Church, he can also throw down some Zetro Souza-isms and monstrous growls. Awakening sees the band traverse unfamiliar waters that might or might not fracture their fanbase. But this new record feels like the comeback we’ve always longed to hear.” Past Trauma present.

Eruption – Tellurian Rupture Review

Eruption – Tellurian Rupture Review

“The first time I listened to Eruption was with 2017’s release, Cloaks of Oblivion. That album was a fun introduction to the band’s interesting mix of Forbidden and Metal Church, with hints of Iced Earth-like vocals and aggression. The mix was pleasant, the songwriting solid, and the vocals were vastly improved from previous releases. With 2022 comes Tellurian Rupture. And once again, the band has improved every aspect of their sound.” The floor is Grier lava.

Raptore – Blackfire Review

Raptore – Blackfire Review

“Originating in Argentina, Raptore released one full-length album back in 2016 and have been relatively quiet ever since, with a contribution to a 5-way split being their only other official release. But after moving to Spain in search of the right lineup, founding guitarist and vocalist Nico Cattoni finds his project poised to unleash sophomore record Blackfire upon an unsuspecting trüe metal scene. Single “Prisoner of the Night” demonstrates Raptore’s kitchen-sink approach to writing classic heavy metal tunes by combining bits of early Ozzy with the hair metal swagger of Mötley Crüe and a bit of American power metal.” Angry birds.

Circle of Silence – Walk Through Hell Review

Circle of Silence – Walk Through Hell Review

“Fate and happenstance have conspired against Germany’s Circle of Silence lo these many years. I was scheduled to review both their 2013 outing The Rise of Resistance and 2018s effort The Crimson Throne. In both cases, I was forced to drop them to cover bigger albums and Circle of Silence was silenced. When I saw the promo for fourth album, Walk Through Hell bobbing in the noxious filth of the promo sump, I made a blood oath that no force on Earth or beyond would prevent me from reviewing it. I owed it to them.” Hell, oaths, wictory and wengeance.

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

“Barlow’s time as the classic Iced Earth vocalist solidified him as one of these legendary figures in my personal mythology, and that legend was only strengthened when I learned that he’d left the band to pursue a career as a police officer after the events of 9/11. His return to the mic with Pyramaze was a pleasant surprise, and I really enjoyed the 2013 self-titled debut from Ashes of Ares, the project he formed with former Iced Earth bassist Freddy Vidales. For whatever reason, I missed Ashes of Ares’ 2018 sophomore platter Well of Souls, but when I saw follow-up Emperors and Fools had found its way into the January promo bin, I threatened violence against any reviewer who might try to take it from me.” War arts!

Project: Roenwolfe – Edge of Saturn [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Project: Roenwolfe – Edge of Saturn [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“American power metal is one of life’s great simple pleasures. Take some killer thrash riffs, find someone to wail over the top of them, and—voila!—instant US powah. Of course, the truth is more nuanced than that, but I’m not far off. My two favorite bands of all time, Nevermore and Symphony X, may embellish the style with progressive elements, but when you boil things down to what really makes both of those bands awesome, you find two things remaining: riffs and vocal theatrics.” Project: Power Wolfe.

Brainstorm – Wall of Skulls Review

Brainstorm – Wall of Skulls Review

“Ever since I stumbled upon Brainstorm by way of Symphorce by way of Ivanhoe, I’ve found these German heavy metal masters to be one of the most reliably ass-kicking acts running. And what a run they’ve been on of late. Every album since 2014s Firesoul has been extra-inspired and brimming with fist-pumping, blood-angering metal classics. 2018s Midnight Ghost was the best in a long line of very good to great outings and it gave me everything I crave from a traditional metal album. Led by powerhouse vocalist Andy B. Franck, Brainstorm have long shown a knack for crafting tunes loaded with hook after hook, infused with beefy, muscular riffage in the Nevermore / Iced Earth vein, and few bands can match their ability to craft a monster chorus. On thirteenth opus Wall of Skulls, absolutely nothing has changed.” Trophy metal.

Portrait – At One with None Review

Portrait – At One with None Review

“When I was a diesel mechanic, I was regularly married to certain trucks. If you did a PM on it, you were now the expert on the truck. If the jackass driver filled it with gasoline instead of diesel, and you were the one that dropped the tanks and flushed the system, it was yours forever. If the Jakes and cruise control stop working and you spend eight hours ripping the entire dash apart to rewire everything that fried, you were definitely married to that truck. And, when that truck rolled back into the yard, everyone went quiet. They all knew you’d be dropping everything and your day would be in or under that piece of shit. They were quiet because you hate that fucking truck and you threw your favorite wrench set across the shop to show how much you hate it. And, as I was married to Kenworth Karen, I’m married to anything related to King Diamond and Mercyful Fate here at AMG.” Portrait of Fate.

Legions of the Night – Sorrow is the Cure Review

Legions of the Night – Sorrow is the Cure Review

“German power metal trio Legions of the Night was formed during the course of 2020, the obvious time in our history to assemble a group of people to collaborate closely on a new project. It brings together founding member Jens Faber, drummer Philipp Bock (both of Dawn of Destiny) and singer Henning Basse (ex-Metalium and Firewind, among others). That line-up, together with the fact that their debut includes a cover of Savatage’s “Sirens,” might give you some sense of what to expect from this album.” Power of the Legions of the Night are calling.