NWOBHM

High Spirits – Hard to Stop Review

High Spirits – Hard to Stop Review

Hard to Stop seems an apropos title for a new High Spirits platter, as founder and solo performer Chris Black (Dawnbringer, Professor Black, Aktor) cannot easily be dissuaded from his quest to fuse the hard rock playfulness of Thin Lizzy into a metal format. On album number four, he’s once again assembled a collection of high energy rockers built around simple but effective hooks and harmonies.” Never stop never stopping.

Jet Jaguar – Endless Nights Review

Jet Jaguar – Endless Nights Review

“Despite being a sizable and populous country, Mexico has precious few big names in the metal scene. These days their biggest claim to fame is a certain pirate metal drinking song, followed by Brujeria’s brutal cartel-themed death metal. But there is still significant love for the more classic subgenres, and Jet Jaguar are testimony to that fact. Winners of the Wacken Open Air Metal Battle 2017, these 5 gents have been pounding the pavement and reawakening the Mesoamerican hunger for 80’s metal for a while now, and they are finally ready to drop their debut, the garishly neon-colored Endless Nights.” Own the purple night.

Tokyo Blade – Dark Revolution Review

Tokyo Blade – Dark Revolution Review

Tokyo Blade: now there’s a name that stirs up memories. It seemed that, while Midnight Rendezvous was an above-average NWoBHM debut, the band decided to go down the hair metal path after that, to disastrous effect. Over the years, band members came and went, but album quality never rose above tepid. 2018’s Unbroken did nothing for me, and the same lineup (essentially their classic lineup from the early days) is back with Dark Revolution.” Olden steel.

Traveler – Termination Shock Review

Traveler – Termination Shock Review

“We here in Calgary have the reputation of being a bunch of gas-guzzling, oil-loving, separatist-bent, racist rednecks (95% incorrect 92% of the time), but we also have some excellent bands. Woodhawk, Wake, Chron Goblin, and Gone Cosmic, to name a few. Local upstarts Traveler look to join this exalted pantheon of local heavy music gods, and their debut, last year’s Traveler, was a fine first step.” Olde trails.

Dark Forest – Oak, Ash & Thorn Review

Dark Forest – Oak, Ash & Thorn Review

“U.K.’s Dark Forest has been cranking out high quality music since 2009, with a very interesting blend of Euro-power, traditional heavy metal and just enough folk elements to give them a slightly unique sound. Albums like The Awakening and 2016s Beyond the Veil were very good, teetering on the cusp of greatness, borrowing from NWoBHM legends like Iron Maiden while also dipping into the slick songcraft of Avantasia and prime Sonata Arctica. Their compositional and storytelling acumen improved with each release and I just knew they had a truly big release in them dying to burst free.” Really good wood.

Absolva – Side by Side Review

Absolva – Side by Side Review

Absolva, the act entirely composed of the touring band for Blaze Bayley, have returned with their fifth album of slightly modernized NWoBHM. I first stumbled on these gents back in 2017 when their Defiance platter wound up on my desk, and found their style easy to like and as familiar as a favorite pair of socks. This is a crew of seasoned veterans from the U.K. traditional metal scene, and guitarist Luke Appleton even finds time to play bass for Iced Earth when not touring with Blaze.” Blazing new trails.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden

Yer Metal Is Olde: Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden

“From my perspective, this is a big year for Yer Metal Is Olde pieces, and it starts off with this piece of work. Iron Maiden wasn’t my first purchase by these legends: that would be The Number of the Beast, when it came out back in 1982. But after being blown away by that album as a twelve-year-old, I quickly gobbled up whatever else I could find – which wasn’t much. A few months later I grabbed my cassette copy of Killers, then the Maiden Japan EP, and finally their debut. So by the time I’d worked my way to this album, well, it confused me a bit. Why?” Eddie is olde.

Haunt – Mind Freeze Review

Haunt – Mind Freeze Review

“Yet, as simple as their style of ’80s NWOBHM is, it’s not like fans have to absorb much from one Haunt record to the next. But the fear of too-much-too-soon lingers. With repeat listens, If Icarus Could Fly didn’t quite live up to Burst into Flame. This leaves a big question mark for this year’s Mind Freeze. Will this new album continue the gentle decent? Or is Mind Freeze Haunt‘s Master of Puppets? You’ll have to see what happens next!” Haunting the clickbait.

Tygers of Pan Tang – Ritual Review

Tygers of Pan Tang – Ritual Review

“Three years ago, Tygers of Pan Tang’s self-titled twelfth album made me feel good about old NWoBHM bands, and their ability to craft enjoyable-enough songs. I hadn’t revisited it until it was time to review their new album, Ritual. In fact, I even went and revisited the referred-to review above. I mean, there’s always a chance that, because I was still in my rookie year as a member of the AMG Conglomerate, I was taking it easy on some bands. But I’ve been around for a long time now, and having a warm place in my atrophying heart for a band is not only unacceptable, it is now unheard of.” Tales from an overrating bastard.