Judas Priest

Halford – Made of Metal Review

Halford – Made of Metal Review

This will come as an unwelcome surprise to Angry Metal folks everywhere, but the new Halford album Made of Metal isn’t angry and is only partly made of metal. Despite the deceptive title, Halford’s third solo album is a diverse but confusing mix of awkward, mostly flawed metal anthems, cheesy love songs with a metallic edge and poppy bubble gum metal/rock. Amid this confusion, only a few quality metal moments can be found. With all due respect to one of the founding fathers of heavy metal and a living legend to many (myself included), the results here are wildly inconsistent and just flat out disappointing.

Accept – Blood of Nations Review

Accept – Blood of Nations Review

And “THEY’RE BACK!! The teutonic terrors responsible for such classic metal albums as Breaker, Restless and Wild, Balls to the Wall have reformed to deliver one humdinger of a comeback ass whipping and one of the best metal albums of 2010 in the process. Blood of Nations is the first slab of new Accept material since 1996’s Predator and to say they are back with a vengeance is quite an understatement indeed. Yes, it’s sad but true, original and uber distinctive frontman Udo Dirkschneider is not onboard for this reunion crusade, but fear not, Accept manages quite nicely without his unique services and no one is more surprised than yours truly about that one.

Stormzone – Death Dealer Review

Stormzone – Death Dealer Review

Neal Kay, for those who don’t know, is widely credited with discovering and championing Iron Maiden way back in the day. Well, if that wasn’t service enough to the metal world, now he has helped bring us Northern Ireland’s classic metal masters Stormzone and their new album Death Dealer. This is no small accomplishment because, quite simply, this album is an absolute masterpiece of classic metal and full to the brim with top quality metal anthems. Stormzone is a band deeply entrenched in the early NWOBHM style and composed of musicians like vocalist John “Harv” Harbinson, with ties to bands of that era (Sweet Savage, Fastway). All the trappings of the British metal invasion are here and fans of that sound and seminal masters like of Saxon and Grim Reaper will immediately hear it in the sound and attitude exhibited on Death Dealer.

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.

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.

Charred Walls of the Damned – Charred Walls of the Damned Review

Charred Walls of the Damned – Charred Walls of the Damned Review

Charred Walls of the Damned has two distinct honors from the get-go: not only is it the longest band name EVER, but it’s also the first thing in which excellent drummer Richard Christy has surfaced in since going to the Howard Stern show and leaving American power metallers Iced Earth in the dust. I think everyone was wondering when he was going to jump back into metal, myself included. It’s hard to imagine that the former Death and Iced Earth drummer was just going to leave everything behind. Given his background it was only a matter of time. And not just his background: homeboy has contacts, too! He brings with him the mighty Jason Suecof, mostly known for his production (Trivium, Luna Mortis, God Forbid and so on), but who is also a fucking wicked ass guitar player (seriously, dude can shred). On bass, of course, is the mighty Steve DiGiorgio who played with Christy in Iced Earth and Death. How can this project possibly lose?