Napalm Records

Evergrey – Theories of Emptiness Review

Evergrey – Theories of Emptiness Review

“While many metalheads consider Evergrey’s tried and true sound to be going stale as of late, A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) had some surprising new tidbits to their songwriting style. It includes gigantic orchestrations and harsh vocals (“Midwinter Calls”), fan-led chantings (“Save Me”), and a true album epic (“Heartless”) that does more than it should for its mere five-minute runtime. But, will the band continue to climb these heights of new inspiration, or revert to the standard fare that made up albums like Monday Morning Apocalypse and Glorious Collision?” How long is Ever and how Grey is today?

Nestor – Teenage Rebel Review

Nestor – Teenage Rebel Review

“Ever fall in love with something you feel guilty about liking? Maybe it’s tuna fish mixed with peanut butter, or hot sauce in your pricey single malt scotch. Whatever the kink, it can hurt to be different sometimes. Steel knows the sting of a guilty pleasure keenly, and that exquisite pain comes via Swedish retro 80s rockers Nestor and their second album Teenage Rebel. Forged in the flames of 80s radio rock like Survivor, Journey and early Michael Bolton, Nestor dwells in that small catchy space where acts like The Night Flight Orchestra and Captain Blackbeard call home, forever searching for that next huge chorus.” Youth is wasted on the youts.

Elvellon – Ascending in Synergy Review

Elvellon – Ascending in Synergy Review

“As I’ve mentioned a few times during my tenure, fem-fronted symphonic power metal was my gateway into the metalverse. Bands like Nightwish, Epica, pre-Hydra Within Temptation, and Neverworld’s End-era Xandria, among many others, were my favorite things in the world for many years. Even today, the style still holds a crucial place in my rotation. Unfortunately, very few breakout acts in the last decade made a mark in the scene. Two names in particular who buck that trend come to mind: Connecticut-based Dialith and the subject of today’s piece, German five-banger Elvellon.” SYNERGY SYSTEM.

Unleash the Archers – Phantoma Review

Unleash the Archers – Phantoma Review

“After a two-part series where we saw Immortal converge through trials and tribulations, this year’s Phantoma tosses us into the future (12089, specifically) where AI rules supreme. Presumably inspired by the new wave of AI technologies out there, Unleash the Archers taps into those influences to create a hypersonic sci-fi soundtrack filled with a smattering of synthesized guitar leads and heavy keyboard action to deliver the power metal version of Skynet.” Archers in the machine.

Accept – Humanoid Review

Accept – Humanoid Review

“The 17th album by the unstoppable Germanic horde known as Accept is upon us and resistance is brutile. After the enjoyable machinations of 2021s Too Mean to Die, those who keep their balls to the wall opted to stick with the same basic formula. Their three-guitarist wall of sound is back along with no-longer-so-new frontman Mark Tornillo, and Accept find themselves in a late-career groove, very aware of who they are and what they want to be. And that means Accept continue to drift closer and closer to AC/DC territory as their core metal sound drills down further into hard rock idioms.” The future is the past.

DragonForce – Warp Speed Warriors Review

DragonForce – Warp Speed Warriors Review

“We’ve all had that moment when we hear a new single from a band we love and think “well, maybe that’s just the worst song from the album!” In the case of “Doomsday Party,” I could not afford DragonForce and Warp Speed Warriors such optimism. Sure, Napalm Records releases are often heralded by absolute stinkers in an apparent gamble at mass appeal, but with the British power metal wanksters’ ninth record arriving on the heels of what was easily the band’s worst showing to date, my thin hopes for a makeup album quickly disintegrated.” Dragon, why do you cry?

Suldusk – Anthesis Review

Suldusk – Anthesis Review

“Way back in early 2020, Suldusk played the last show I attended before fun was canceled. I was introduced by the non-suspiciously departed Emya‘s excellent TYMHM piece on one-woman debut Lunar Falls. This sort of black metal-inflected atmospheric folk is incredibly My Thing, as you can tell from where Helga landed on my list last year. So Suldusk were a pretty important fixture for me, particularly in the tough early pandemic months. The whole thing has that slight air of unreality you get with memories from around then. Now they’re back—finally—with a full band and signed to Napalm, so the stakes are high for Anthesis.” Dusk throne.

Infected Rain – TIME Review

Infected Rain – TIME Review

““Progressive” is one of the most flippantly applied adjectives we have for genres today. “Modern” is equally abused, so one can imagine the clanging of alarm bells when the promo sheet for Moldova’s Infected Rain described the band as “modern progressive metal.” But I’m not one to judge a book by its cover, even if said book devolves into the Buttgate of late January. Plus vocalist Elena Cataraga goes by the stage name Lena Scissorhands, which means I get to write the word scissorhands a lot in this review, a tiny joy I never thought I’d experience.” Touchy slicey.

Shylmagoghnar – Convergence Review

Shylmagoghnar – Convergence Review

“Holy shit, Shylmagoghnar doesn’t do itself any favors. Everything about the project seems engineered to scare all but the most committed away. Unpronounceable name that’s a spelling mistake waiting to happen? Check. One-man, home-made black metal? Check. Excessive length and an inability to self-edit on previous albums (both of which clocked in at the 70 minute mark)? Check. And yet, there was something undeniable about the band’s previous output.” Fat Wednesday.