Jag Panzer

Tyrant – Hereafter Review

Tyrant – Hereafter Review

“Aside from the enigmatic Brocas Helm, Tyrant may be one of the least prolific American metal bands ever. Starting out in 1978, the band dropped their Legions of the Dead debut in 85, followed by their best known, most respected work, 87s Too Late to Pray. After Too Late they went radio silent and I forgot about them in the fullness of time. Apparently they released a comeback album in 96 which I only just found out about because they’re attempting a brand new comeback, the result of which was just hauled out of the promo sump like a waterlogged carcass.” Once and future Tyrant.

Iron Kingdom – On the Hunt Review

Iron Kingdom – On the Hunt Review

“Much like the subject depicted in this album’s artwork, once I took a swing at the advance track for On the Hunt and saw the resultant blood, I had to follow the trail to see where it ended. So, donning my Arctic Wolf Fur Armor (+50% Cold Resistance), I tracked my prey through forest and field until finally coming upon an open gate. I steeled my resolve and ventured forth into the land beyond. I had entered the Iron Kingdom.” Come for the iron, stay for the metal.

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.

The Three Tremors – The Three Tremors Review

The Three Tremors – The Three Tremors Review

“Some ideas sound great in theory. Fewer look good when put to paper. That crucial step of transforming an idea from paper into reality? Well, let’s just say only the best of the bunch should see the harsh light of day. Taking three of metal’s premier wailers and screamers and having them lustily compete with one another for an album’s worth of over-the-top manic hysteria is not such a worthy concept. Aptly named The Three Tremors, this project features Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Iced Earth), Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin (Jag Panzer, Satan’s Host), and Sean (no cool nickname) Peck (Cage, Denner/Sherman).” Banshee business.

Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord Review

Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord Review

Jag Panzer has a special page in the Big Book of American Metal, being one of the early progenitors of what was once known as “American power metal.” Their testosterone and armpit hair laden adaptation of the NWoBHM sound along with the uber metal vocals of Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin set their 1984 Ample Destruction debut apart from the typical Priest and Maiden clones, and along with similar acts like Metal Church and Helstar, they helped develop a mighty sound later pilfered thoroughly by Sanctuary and Iced Earth.” Of Deviance and Tyranny.

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.

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!

Castle – Under Siege Review

Castle – Under Siege Review

“At the crossroads of retro/occult metal, doom and throwback vest metal, sits Castle like some sort of big…castle. These San Francisco rockers exploded onto the doom scene with their punchy In Witch Order début and immediately carved a niche for themselves among contemporaries like Jex Thoth and Occultation. Blacklands took things to the next level by incorporating strains of epic metal and black metal riffery and the result was quite heady, unpredictable and fun. Now we get Under Siege, which once again rejiggers the Castle sound as the band evolves and matures with grace and dignity.” Have you heard these guys yet? If not, Steel Druhm thinks less of you.

Aska – Fire Eater Review

Aska – Fire Eater Review

“There aren’t many modern bands that pull off that vintage 80s American metal style without sounding contrived or cheesy or both. Aska is an unheralded, mega-obscure band that can count themselves among the few with that magic touch. Though in existence since 1994, they’ve only managed to release six albums, and Fire Eater is the long-awaited (by thirty of us) follow-up to 2007s Absolute Power. Apart from the glaring lack or productivity, they’ve had long-running issues with the consistency of their material. While they were capable of penning some real old school scorchers, they also had a tendency to drop a few stinkers per album that would leave me shaking my head. Still, when they nail their brand of traditional metal, it rings loud and trve across the land.” If Steel Druhm doesn’t get to review retro metal every few weeks he gets all bent out of shape. Maybe the old timey charm of Aska will get him back to his usual grouchy self.