Power Metal

Illusory – Crimson Wreath Review

Illusory – Crimson Wreath Review

“Oh boy. There’s a crying child on the cover. If there’s one thing I’ve learned when it comes to metal covers, it’s that a crying child on the cover means serious business. Because really, who grabs an album with a weeping toddler off the shelf to liven up a party? Sociopaths, that’s who! So, after this introduction to my grab bag result of the week, what kind of seriousness is this Illusory? Well, the band’s been around for almost 30 years, but until less than a decade ago it was still known as The Ivory Tower and released a whole one album.” In a time-out.

Nightshadow – Strike Them Dead Review

Nightshadow – Strike Them Dead Review

“Sometimes a band comes along that seems to have rummaged through your brain to find all the stuff you love and then cobbled together an album designed to appeal to you specifically. Nightshadow are currently under suspicious for such a mind ransacking as I spin their full-length debut Strike Them Dead. With a sound steeped in 80s speed and trve metal then coated in a thick layer of technical, neo-classical polish, Nightshadow leave no wank unwanked in their effort to bring high-octane metal to the filthy masses. If I had to describe them concisely, it would be as it would be as a sped up, really pissed off Witherfall.” Wank til struck dead.

The Circle – Metamorphosis Review

The Circle – Metamorphosis Review

“The phrase “avant-garde” spliced with “metal” is so confusing. Much like similar descriptors “extreme” and “modern,”[1. *shudder*] it’s an extremely broad term that implies much and is much abused. Describing the Children of Bodom-esque Messora to the weird-as-shit Maudlin of the Well, overuse quickly becomes Inigo Montoya’s second most-famous quote: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” So, what does “avant-garde” actually mean? Beats me! Nevertheless, the newest crew to throw their avant-garde hat into the ring is Germany’s The Circle.” Larva-core.

Vexillum – When Good Men Go to War Review

Vexillum – When Good Men Go to War Review

“”Bagpipes are a lovely addition to any song,” I staunchly declared a mere fortnight ago in another review. While my bagpipe rule of thumb held true on Wynter Arvn‘s Abysses, I’m struggling to stand by my words after spending the last couple weeks with Vexillum‘s When Good Men Go to War. Strong onion, weakly held? I’d say so. How could I have known that this opinion would make me grimace so soon? Rather than adding a haunting and epic mysticism to Vexillum‘s music, the bag-pipe is instead an ever-present, garish nuisance.” Bag men.

Feanor – Power of the Chosen One Review

Feanor – Power of the Chosen One Review

“Much like the Wizard album I reviewed a couple of months ago, this promo was assigned to me by Lord Protector Steel Druhm himself. Not only that, but the Argentina-based Feanor shares vocalist Sven D’Anna with their Germanic brethren in Wizard. Wizard‘s latest was a fun and empowering romp through beer-soaked heavy metal lands, and given that my mental health has been under some strain lately due to work circumstances, I thought that some cheesy déjà vu might be just what the non-Grier doctor ordered. Let’s see if Feanor can put the metal in my head again.” Irresponsible power.

Wolfchant – Omega : Bestia Review

Wolfchant – Omega : Bestia Review

“I love when the genre is accidentally and maliciously mislabeled by an album’s promo package. It always leads to delightfully gruesome surprises and oh so satisfying pleas and groveling by shocked and dismayed reviewers once the true nature of the promo revels itself. It’s especially amusing since the sadistic AMG management rarely lets reviewers back out once a promo is drawn from the murk and claimed. Karma is a bitch though, and what goes around comes around, and this time it was your friendly neighborhood Steel who got hoisted by his own petard ov judgment when selecting Wolfchant.” Beastly besties.

Arion – Vultures Die Alone Review

Arion – Vultures Die Alone Review

“I don’t put much stock in award shows or competitions. Really, who amongst us does? Ever since the first Metal Grammy went to Jethro Tull metal fans around the world have viewed these sorts of things with more than a little trepidation. So when a band comes my way that came to fame in a competition, it’s more a curse than a blessing. Power metal act Arion (the Finnish act, not the Greek) is such a band. As teens these guys were finalists in UMK, the Finnish qualification program for Eurovision, eight years ago.” Beauty pageant meets the metal world.

Avaland – Theater of Sorcery Review

Avaland – Theater of Sorcery Review

“The metal opera is, enduringly, one of my favorite concepts of the genre. Avantasia and Ayreon are the two projects that I return to most often, and it seems I’m not the only one. Adrien Gzagg, of Grenoble, France, has been similarly inspired, which is why today I’m introducing you to Avaland and its debut full-length, Theater of Sorcery, a symphonic power metal opera with a fantastical backstory.” Another rainy night at the metal opera.

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.

Everture – Emerge Review

Everture – Emerge Review

“Album length is a point of contention at AMG Headquarters. So around the office cooler one day, the illustrious Carcharodon revealed that his promo was a honkin’ two-hour commitment. I now realize that “Mine’s a nine-minute grind EP! Sucks to be you!” was the wrong thing to say. As a dear Lavagirlbitch to the Sharkboy, he used his power to punish me pick a promo for me. Please direct your hate mail to him for the awkwardly named Everture. I was immediately horrified at the phrase “modern metal” that greeted my eyes.” The Everture will continue until morale improves.