Krokus

Crying Steel – Stay Steel Review

Crying Steel – Stay Steel Review

Steel doesn’t cry. Nor does Steel run, hide or eat soy-based food stuffs. He does however partake liberally of 80 heavy metal, and that’s how Crying Steel came under his iron gaze ov chrome. Hailing from Italy, this retro rocking outfit has bounced around for quite some time, managing to release a series of albums from 2007 onward, of which Stay Steel is the fourth. They describe their style as NWoIHM (New Wave of Italian Heavy Metal), which in practice sounds suspiciously like the First Wave of American Metal Inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.” Waves and metal tears.

Accept – The Rise of Chaos Review

Accept – The Rise of Chaos Review

Accept has been around so long, churning out the same kind of old school Germanic metal that they’ve essentially become a younger, heavier version of AC/DC. This isn’t a bad thing really, as AC/DC is known for consistency and sticking to their (big) guns. Accept has charted a similar course, delivering album after album of rocking 80s style metal with just enough melody and quasi-pop-acumen.” Give in to the rising.

Hammer King – King is Rising Review

Hammer King – King is Rising Review

“This is my twentieth review for AMG. In honor of such a fine achievement, the nobility at AMG World Headquarters have bestowed upon me a fine destrier, so I can prance through the office valiantly proclaiming my fealty. Well, not really, but I was given the newest output from power-metal wannabes Hammer King, King is Rising. Which, if played loud enough, is practically the same thing.” The Hammer King has a skull tank.

Edguy – Age of the Joker Review

Edguy – Age of the Joker Review

Just so you feel appropriately thankful, Steel Druhm survived storm, surf and medieval living conditions to bring you this damn review. With that out of the way, there’s a new Edguy album out, its called Age of the Joker. Now, I like old Edguy quite a lot. They had a really classic Euro-power metal sound and some serious songwriting chops. As they went along however, they went from their original power template into more of a hard rock/arena rock style and with an increasing sense of tongue-in-cheek silliness that I didn’t care for (Rocket Ride is a mighty lame album with a few good songs mixed in). Of course, main-man Tobias Sammet is also the mastermind behind the Avantasia albums and I’m a fanboy, especially of 2010’s The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon releases. The man can sing and the man can write, there’s no denying it. Therefore it’s quite a letdown to hear how mellow, safe and uneventful a lot of Age of the Joker is. Sure, there are the usual big Edguy anthems here and there, but by and large, this is a pretty tepid, pedestrian release by a band capable of much much more. Way closer to pompous cock rock than classy Euro-power, it goes down a road I’m not that into but it still has its moments of charm and fun.

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy Review

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy Review

Every now and then I find myself sweating a new release and sincerely worrying a band may have already seen its best days. This is one of those perspiration inducing albums. After three platters of excellent progressive metal that reminded me of the halcyon salad days of Fates Warning and Queensryche, Pagan’s Mind really screwed the pooch hard with their last release, 2007’s God’s Equation. Ditching nearly all of the things they had working for them in favor of a stripped down and more commercial approach, it was one of those albums that leaves fans befuddled, bewildered, betrayed and generally in an foul humor (I won’t go into the David Bowie cover, but it was bullshit ass!). With my confidence and fanboydom thus shaken and stirred, I didn’t know what to expect from these Norwegian metallers. Would it be a return to the prog-tastic spacey glory of their Enigmatic Calling and Celestrial Entrance works or a dash further down the path toward commercial oblivion ah la Krokus (yes, Krokus damn you, they were good once!). After much consternation and intestinal distress, I can report their fifth album, Heavenly Ecstasy is way better than their prior misstep, though it doesn’t fully return to their previous levels of excellence.

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 20-11

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 20-11

OK boys and ghouls, we’ve officially reached the meaty epicenter of heavy metal excellence. After thirty warm ups (50-41, 40-31, 30-21 | And here’s AMG’s: 50-41, 40-31, 31-20), these are the brightest of gems, the most gleaming of chromes. Here begins the twenty songs that define all that is heavy, all that is metal. Bow down then get the hell up and HAIL as the True Masters enter the building. Steel Druhm roll please.

Bullet – Highway Pirates Review

Bullet – Highway Pirates Review

Highway Pirates? Well, that album title blows more than the Last Airbender! If I didn’t already know the music of Sweden’s Bullet, I would likely skip over this release based on severe title failure alone. I mean, c’mon, Highway Pirates? Pair that with the painfully cheesy 80s style album cover and these guys are not doing themselves any favors from a strictly promotional standpoint. Thankfully though, I do know Bullet and what they deliver, which is 110% throwback retro metal/hard rock that sounds like a fusion of old AC/DC and old Accept. I was pretty taken with the goofy but infectiously rockin’ charm of their 2008 album Bite the Bullet and little has changed here as far as sound, style or intent. This is simple, neanderthal metal/rock without any attempts to be thoughtful or important in any way. Beer drinking music, drunken weekend music, call it what you will but this is fun and catchy stuff without pretense. Is it original? No. Is it modern? No. Is it good? Yes, yes it is.

Ross the Boss – Hailstorm Review

Ross the Boss – Hailstorm Review

Is this new Manowar? No, that it ain’t. So it’s Rossowar? Closer, but still no. What we actually have before us is Hailstorm, the second album by Ross the Boss. Mr. The Boss was of course the original fret master for the legendary Manowar and he played on all their classic, seminal albums before riding off to seek glory on his own (yes AMG, there really are classic Manowar albums [I resent that statement. – AMG]). So what type of music would one of the founding fathers of sword and furry loincloth metal create in this day and age? Well, those hoping Ross assembled a merry band of Manowar imitators will be disappointed. While there are several unsubtle stylistic nods to his original band (the most unsubtle band of all time), this is way less Mano-thematic than 2008’s New Metal Leader and focuses more on early 80’s style metal and straight ahead power metal. In some ways this departure from his musical comfort zone works, in others it falls just a bit short.