Nevermore

Toxik – Dis Morta Review

Toxik – Dis Morta Review

“Founded in 1985, New York thrashers Toxik released two albums before vanishing into obscurity. 1987’s World Circus (think Anthrax meets Sanctuary) and 1989’s Think This (think Cowboys-era Pantera meets Megadeth) have enjoyed cult-classic status ever since thanks to the band’s phenomenally technical playing, insane vocals, and bizarre songwriting. The band broke up in the early 90’s and briefly reformed in 2007 and again in 2013, and is ready to unleash Toxik’s first full-length in over twenty years.” Toxik thrashculinity.

Flames of Fire – Flames of Fire Review

Flames of Fire – Flames of Fire Review

“If you’re a fan of Narnia or DivineFire, you’ll get a warm, fuzzy feeling when you listen to Flames of Fire. These guys play power metal with chunky guitars and big choruses showcasing the gritty, yet beautiful Dio-esque vocals of Liljegren, and it’s a sound that I fell head-over-heels for on DivineFire’s 2006 album Into a New Dimension—still one of the heaviest power metal albums I’ve ever heard to this day. But where DivineFire displayed obvious overlap with Stefanović’s extreme metal background, Andersson’s compositions for Flames of Fire stay closer to standard heavy/power metal fare.” Are there other kinds of flames?

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

“Barlow’s time as the classic Iced Earth vocalist solidified him as one of these legendary figures in my personal mythology, and that legend was only strengthened when I learned that he’d left the band to pursue a career as a police officer after the events of 9/11. His return to the mic with Pyramaze was a pleasant surprise, and I really enjoyed the 2013 self-titled debut from Ashes of Ares, the project he formed with former Iced Earth bassist Freddy Vidales. For whatever reason, I missed Ashes of Ares’ 2018 sophomore platter Well of Souls, but when I saw follow-up Emperors and Fools had found its way into the January promo bin, I threatened violence against any reviewer who might try to take it from me.” War arts!

Pharaoh – The Powers That Be Review

Pharaoh – The Powers That Be Review

“For a time it seemed Philly-based Pharaoh would be the vanguard of a new wave of gritty American traditional/power metal. Albums like The Longest Night and 2012s Bury the Light bristled with burly riffs and rough-hewn vocals, accentuated by super slick musicality and proggy elements. After nearly nine years without a release, the band’s forward momentum is a thing of the distant past, but that doesn’t mean they can’t drop another barn burning dose of heavy metal thunder with fifth album The Powers That Be.” Curse of the Pharaoh!

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

“I have a confession to make. I have a pathological aversion to bands named after people. Unless your name is Ozzy or Dio, I’m probably not going to listen to your album. Ok, I guess I love the solo stuff from Warrel Dane and Michael Romeo, but that’s it! I honestly can’t explain why, but I’ve just always thought that metal is a band’s genre. Anyways, I’ve said all that to immediately contradict myself.” What’s in a name?

Silver Talon – Decadence and Decay Review

Silver Talon – Decadence and Decay Review

“It’s amazing to me the camps formed from a single band. And I’m not even talking about a popular arena band. I’m talking about Oregon’s laid-to-rest Spellcaster. First, there was Idle Hands—now known as Unto Others—a band that shocked many-o’ peep around these parts. A name that showed up on lists and haunted many a comment section. Where they’ll go from here, no one quite knows. But, I know we can expect big things. Another outfit that launched from the ashes of Spellcaster is Silver Talon.” Idle talons.

Hevilan – Symphony of Good and Evil Review

Hevilan – Symphony of Good and Evil Review

“If you are one of the poor souls who’s managed to follow my pedestrian music journalism career, you know that I’m a hopeless Nevermore weenie. There’s just something about the way they combined immense, progressive, down-tuned riffing with powerful, operatic vocals that is incredibly pleasing to my ears. I was therefore absolutely defenseless against the promo blurb that touted Hevilan guitarist Johnny Moraes as having appeared in Warrel Dane’s live band, as well as on the late Nevermore singer’s posthumous solo release, Shadow Work.” Good times, bad times.

Witherfall – Curse of Autumn Review

Witherfall – Curse of Autumn Review

“In the grand talent lottery, Witherfall hit bigly and muchly. They possess such a vast wealth of ability that it could be redistributed among any 10 lesser acts with copious chops leftover. On third album, Curse of Autumn all this talent is on vivid display as the band rips through wild, adventurous prog-power anthems tailor-made for fans of Symphony X and Nevermore. At every turn you’re regaled by the stunning shreddery of Jake Dreyer (ex-Iced Earth, ex-White Wizzard), the soaring vocal heroics of Joseph Michael (Sanctuary, ex-White Wizzard), the powerhouse technical drumming of Marco Minnemann (Steve Wilson, ex-Necrophagist), and the slick bass-work of Anthony Crawford. The sheer magnitude of what the band is capable of hangs heavy in the air every second the album plays. With so much raw potential and mega-competence however, comes a higher base level of expectation.” Curse of potential.

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic has become a bit of an enigma  for me over the past 9 years. Though exceptionally talented and creative, this prog-power trio seem to find ways to undercut themselves and guarantee that they remain an underappreciated act. Early albums like Conspiracy in Mind and Waves of Visual Decay were amazing doses of progressive metal in the vein of Nevermore and it looked like they were going to be the next big thing. Since then they’ve been much more irregular, though they’ve yet to release a truly bad album.” Hiding potential.