Iron Maiden

Skyforger – Kurbads Review

Skyforger – Kurbads Review

Skyforger is Latvia’s answer to folk metal and they’ve been giving it a go for quite a while. Despite having been around since 1995, however, they’ve not produced a terribly huge discography. In fact, Kurbads is the first Skyforger album since 2003, when they self-released a folk album that was mightily well-received by their fanbase, even, apparently, more so their metal album from the same year Thunderforge. The band, for the record, has also been involved in a bit of controversy surrounding the use of, what the band calls a thundercross, and what the rest of us call a swastika in their logo. But it seems the band has worked very hard to distance themselves from any of the controversy surrounding this and should be approached from a non-political stance.

Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels Review

Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels Review

It seems forever since Italian power metallers, and just generally over-the-top crafters of Symphonic Hollywood Metal (or as I called it in one of my very earliest reviews “Sword Swinging Elf Metal”) produced an album. And really, in terms of the modern music industry it has been a very long time. Rhapsody of Fire’s last album, Triumph or Agony, was released in 2006 to almost no fanfare. I didn’t see a single advertisement for the album, I never knew that it was being released and I had no idea that they had even been working on a new album at all. One day I just walked into my local record store and saw it on the shelf there. The total lack of build-up foreshadowed how I felt about the album, and frankly the record that had gone before it: it lacked what I was looking for in a Rhapsody of Fire album. The guitar orientation was gone, the songs were not as huge, the guitar not as bombastic and the feel was generally one that I just could never really get into. Both Symphony of Enchanted Lands pt. II and Triumph or Agony, while technically filling the standards set by the band, certainly didn’t live up to what I see as the band’s crowning jewel Power of the Dragonflame.

Angry Metal Guy’s Classics #3: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Angry Metal Guy’s Classics #3: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

“Seven deadly sins, seven ways to win, seven holy paths to hell and your trip begins. Seven downward slopes, seven bloodied hopes, seven are your burning fires. Seven your desires…” Cue the keyboards and the power chords. Anyone who knows this album and loves it knows exactly what I’m talking about. Possibly the coolest album intro of all time, to the best heavy metal record ever written: Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

In the wake of Sentenced it’s no surprise that Poisonblack has continued strong, with support from fans of the previous band and has become bigger and bigger in Finland and throughout the world. Many miss the tongue-in-cheek depression that went hand-in-hand with later Sentenced records, at the same time as missing the band that once was. Of Rust and Bones, the new Poisonblack record (the band that features former Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala) basically continues on with the Sentenced legacy of mid-paced heavy metal with depressing lyrics, but doesn’t do it with the same kind of conviction or freshness that was embodied by the former band.

Audrey Horne – Audrey Horne Review

Audrey Horne – Audrey Horne Review

It’s been a long time since a sort of standard modern rock or traditional metal band really showed off anything that this Angry Metal Guy appreciated. For the most part, modern rock has been rehashed BS and overrated post-Seattle scene leftovers. The bands that have tried to convert their sounds (see: the remnants of Guns N’ Roses meets STP or Europe’s latest incarnation) have really failed at it because the sound is, at its root, boring as hell. Rehashing rock again with thicker guitar tone and a vocalist who will never live up to the classics is pretty much a good way to guarantee that your vocalist buddy goes to rehab, but not much more. Whatever happened to Buckcherry again? Oh right. Flash in the effing pan.

Dark Tranquillity – We Are the Void Review

Dark Tranquillity – We Are the Void Review

Dark Tranquillity is a living legend. Don’t kid yourselves: they’re a band that has managed to maintain their credibility in a scene where many of the bands that have stayed around have lost that credibility (see: In Flames). They have consistently put out good records, even into their less progressive era, that excite their fanbase and and attract new fans with their catchy melodies, creative arrangements and the energy of their music. There are, however, two sides to Dark Tranquillity’s music. The first is a fast, heavy melodic style of thrashy death metal that has long been associated with them and the Gothenburg death metal scene. The second, and the part that has long appealed to us personally, is the blackness and dark emotional content that borders on gothic metal. We Are the Void embodies both of these sides and may be the darkest album the band has produced since the much-maligned Projector.

White Wizzard – Over the Top Review

White Wizzard – Over the Top Review

There is an interesting irony to throwback bands like White Wizzard and a lot of the other thrash throwbacks that are coming out right now, which is that at one point in time what these guys were doing was forward thinking. I know it’s hard to believe, in a world where metal is used to support stupid ideologies, backwards thinking or just generally brutish and retarded behavior, it’s hard to think of metal as progressive, but in 1980, metal was outside of the box. Bands like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard were just cutting their teeth, Lars Ulrich was busy stealing their riffs and ideas and heavy metal was fresh, young, innovative and above all rebellious and really, really interesting.

Six Feet Under – Graveyard Classics III

Six Feet Under – Graveyard Classics III

Six Feet Under is back with the third installment in their Graveyard Classics series, and fortunately for us, this time they’re not covering AC/DC songs. I suspect that the majority of you either know what these things are about, have heard them, or just don’t care at all so I’m not going to spend tons of time on this, but Graveyard Classics 3 is a cover record from the groove oriented death metal band Six Feet Under. Barnes and crew have, this time around, elected a bunch of their favorite tracks from before they were in bands and have warped them into death rock tracks. The result being sort of cartoonish and silly: but mildly enjoyable at the same time.

Blaze Bayley: At the End of the Day – Lawrence Paterson (Book Review)

Blaze Bayley: At the End of the Day – Lawrence Paterson (Book Review)

A few of you might have noticed that I have taken to reporting a lot on Blaze Bayley (the man and the band), and this is partially due to the fact that I have long been a fan of his solo stuff (and his tenure in Iron Maiden). As I’ve stated before, I think that X Factor is a classic album and I will continue to defend that to this day (though, I will definitely also point out that it is poorly produced, as was Virtual XI, which in my book was also poorly conceived). In any case, I, like others who gravitated to the Blaze-era Iron Maiden, continued to follow him afterwords and were happily surprised by the quality of the material that his newly formed band BLAZE had produced. Since then, I have paid attention, with a heavy heart often times, to an ongoing saga of an excellent underground band getting ignored, fucked repeatedly by labels, management and finally crumbling under the weight of outside and inside pressures. For me, the collapse of BLAZE and the rise of Blaze’s current self-titled incarnation was shrouded in mystery as I was just a fan witnessing it from the outside, but much of what I did not know is now available in a book written by current Blaze Bayley drummer Lawrence Paterson entitled At the End of the Day (and conveniently available for Christmas!).

Blaze Bayley – The Night That Will Not Die Review

Blaze Bayley – The Night That Will Not Die Review

Blaze Bayley, for those who don’t know (where the hell have you been??) is the solo project of former Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden frontman of the same name. Honestly, this guy’s story is a true underdog story. To hear it told, he was the singer that no one wanted until he got picked up by Wolfsbane and then he was chosen to fill Bruce Dickinson’s shoes in Iron Maiden after Bruce decided he was too cool for the band. There was absolutely no way for him to win in that situation. A man with a baritone register filling Dickinson’s shoes is just ridiculous and everyone should’ve known better: but this reviewer humbly submits that X Factor is a classic record and that Virtual XI, while definitely weaker, was not weak because of Blaze, but instead because of Steve Harris’ writing and the very poor production. In fact, I’m still waiting for those two albums to be remastered.