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Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance Review

Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance Review

My esteemed colleague, Angry Metal Guy himself, wondered aloud if Darkthrone‘s recent output was perhaps an attempt at trolling the entire metal community. It certainly does take a sick sense of humor to subject black metal fans to something like The Underground Resistance, and the band has made it increasingly clear that they’re not exactly taking this seriously. But beyond the shits and giggles, it’s clear that Darkthrone exists in a bizarre musical utopia, a world where BathoryAmebixMotorhead and Manilla Road are all of equal merit and metal cred. And if you’re unable to summon that kind of open-mindedness within yourself, then perhaps the joke truly is on you.

Things You Might Have Missed 2012: Silencer – The Great Bear

Things You Might Have Missed 2012: Silencer – The Great Bear

One of the records I meant to get to but never was able to was this modern thrash metal epic from Colorado’s Silencer. This record is a bit of a unique one, actually, but it grabbed my attention immediately because it’s a concept record about the space race between the USSR and the USA from the perspective of the Soviets. Strike you as weird? Yeah, me too. But I was surprised upon giving it a few listens to see that, indeed, The Great Bear is a very ambitious and cool record – but completely unpretentious despite the seemingly obscure and borderline esoteric topic.

Steel Assassin – WWII: Metal of Honor Review

Steel Assassin – WWII: Metal of Honor Review

Steel Assassin is a mighty obscure act by anyone’s reckoning. They were knocking around all throughout the 80s and 90s but could never get a proper album released. Then, quite out of the blue, they released War of the Eight Saints in 2007 and totally blew me away with their ballsy, aggressive take on American power metal and NWOBHM. It was one of the best albums of that year, but didn’t bring them as much attention as it deserved.

90s Metal Weirdness: MD.45 – The Craving

90s Metal Weirdness: MD.45 – The Craving

Cast your minds back to a time when metal music was not cool. Nay, indeed, a time when metal was anathema to all that was considered to be “chic” and “in.” A time when your favorite bands were actually encouraged by the music industry to play slower, cut their hair, and write sensitive lyrics about their childhoods. Yes, this unfortunately really happened.

Our new semi-irregular feature “90s Metal Weirdness” focuses on albums released between 1992 and 2001 and which we all probably would rather forget. But in the public service of publicly shaming the musicians involved, we have pushed forward.

Orange Goblin – A Eulogy for the Damned Review

Orange Goblin – A Eulogy for the Damned Review

We all have those bands we’re aware of for years but never make an effort to hear. I’m not even talking about bands you’re pretty sure you’ll hate (i.e. Korn). I’m talking about the bands you hear about, make a mental note to check out, only to be distracted by something shiny. The U.K.’s Orange Goblin is one of those bands for yours truly. I’ve heard of ’em forever, heard mostly good things, but just never got up the gumption to track down their stuff.

Iron Savior – The Landing Review

Iron Savior – The Landing Review

In the “Barons of Bombast” wing of the Pantheon of Metal, no band has a pedestal quite as lofty as Manowar. Since their birth in the late 70s, they’ve pretty much cornered the market on over-the-top cliches, cheese-wizardry and shameless loincloth abuse. One of the few pretenders to that furry, mead-stained throne of excess (besides Rhapsody, Rhapsody of Fire, Rhapsody of Luca, etc. etc.) are these Germanic purveyors of silly sci-fi lyrics, steely anthems and lusty over-production. It’s true, Iron Savior has never shied away from painful cliches, absurdly goofy concepts or exaggerated paeans to things metallic. If their multi-album concept about the misadventures of a sentient spaceship called “Iron Savior” wasn’t proof enough for you, don’t pursue a career in investigative services. In case you missed the back story, Iron Savior is the creation of one Piet Sielck, a close friend and former band mate of Kai Hansen (Helloween, Gamma Ray). The early Savior albums were close collaborations between Piet and Kai, firmly rooted in Germanic power metal but injected a lot of traditional and NWOBHM influences into the mix. Their material was so damn catchy and fun, I didn’t mind the silly space-opera lyrics or their propensity to sound overdone (a friend dubbed them “the most overproduced band ever”). The Landing is the first new Savior release since 2007’s Megatropolis and long-time fans can breathe easy, because absolutely nothing has changed! The bombast, the cheese, the vintage sound and style, it’s all back, bigger than ever (if that’s even possible). This is big boy power/traditional metal with attitude, balls and delusions of grandeur. In other words, its stupid fun and really rocks!

Chrome Division – 3rd Round Knockout Review

Chrome Division – 3rd Round Knockout Review

Have you ever wondered what a group of Norwegian black metal musicians might sound like if they played greasy biker rock? Well wonder no more, just hunker down with a case of brews and Chrome Division. Featuring Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) on guitar and members of Old Man’s Child and Ringnevond, Chrome Division delivers something like a drunken mixture of ZZ Top, The Misfits, Venom and Lynyrd Skynyrd. There’s nary a cold, icy riff to be found on their new album 3rd Round Knockout and instead you get rowdy, raucous, ribald and very adolescent rock/metal that’s actually exceedingly well done. This is well written, catchy, fun and highly addictive stuff and it even leaves behind much of the Motorhead worship found on their earlier albums. Its an alcohol fueled party album that virtually forces you to pop open a cold one as you listen. How can anything that drives you to drink be bad?

Dawnbringer – Nucleus Review

Dawnbringer – Nucleus Review

Interesting release we have right here folks. For those unaware, Dawnbringer is a project band of sorts for Chris Black (Pharaoh, Nachtmystium, Superchrist) and his guitar playing buddies and together they create something like a mix of NWOBHM, straight up American metal, black metal, thrash and doom (there’s even moments of quasi-southern rock). Tell me that doesn’t sound intriguing, I dare you! Nucleus is their fourth full-length and yep, it’s one humdinger of a rickety metal contraption. At times sounding like a weird mash-up of Iron Maiden, Slough Feg, Motorhead and Black Sabbath, this thing rumbles and rambles all over the place and always seems ready to come unhinged but it just screams METAL! From the production, riffs and vocals, there’s an ever present rough and tough vibe and despite the myriad of styles and influences Dawnbringer tries to squish together, they somehow managed to craft some great metal songs that will stick in your head for a long time.

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.