Power Metal

Sartori – Dragon’s Fire Review

Sartori – Dragon’s Fire Review

“Though you’ve probably never heard of Sartori, you’ve definitely heard them before. Sartori neither revels in the murk of dissonant death metal, wallows in the wail of languishing post-metal, nor abstracts musical reality with a blackened avant-garde offering. Instead, in his namesake band, Andy Anderson Sartori uses his scooped six-string powers to provide straightforward, rollicking neoclassical shred, following the tradition of many other Yngwie-inspired shredders (who also dress a little like him).” Shreddy dragon balls.

Freaks and Clowns – We Set the World on Fire Review

Freaks and Clowns – We Set the World on Fire Review

Freaks and Clowns is a Swedish quintet, two full-lengths into their five-year career. While undoubtedly power metal in Christer Wahlgren’s vibrato-laden trills, expect little Rhapsody of Fire sword-flashing here. Injected with a healthy dose of AC/DC-esque hard rock and aptly energetic Gothenburg riffing with an Avatar clown theme to boot, tracks range from glam-themed arena-rock anthems to take-no-prisoners beatdowns of riffy goodness.” Game of clowns.

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!

Lastera – From the Ashes Review

Lastera – From the Ashes Review

“If there’s one musical style I could argue “let me down” last year, it was power metal. Nothing really grabbed me, nothing impressed me, nothing stuck. That’s disappointing, mind you, because I generally love power metal in all its cheesy, crazy glory. So when I came upon From the Ashes, the debut full-length from Danish newcomers Lastera, I didn’t need much convincing to check it out.” Ash power.

Bullet Ride – At the Gates of Hell Review

Bullet Ride – At the Gates of Hell Review

“Can heavy music make you a better person? France’s Bullet Ride seems determined to answer that question on At the Gates of Hell, which may just pioneer the sub-genre of “self-help metal.” Here are ten thrash-adjacent tunes that lean heavily into their themes of overcoming an ever-shifting combination of adversity, despair, and shitty exes. These veterans of regional acts like Methadol and Divine Punishment have crafted a bright, melodic debut that was not at all what I expected when I requested a blackened thrash promo from Dr. Overlord Himself.” Handling the unknown is an important part of successful n00bery.

Iron Fate – Crimson Messiah Review

Iron Fate – Crimson Messiah Review

“2021 was a mightily backloaded year of metal. I didn’t love a lot of stuff from January through August and I was coasting along with a very low yearly rating average. Since August however, it seems every other album I dive into is a blast and it’s done major damage to that once pristine median. Now comes the classic metal stylings of Iron Fate to play mischief with Steel ‘s ledger of maths.” Let olde acquaintance be not forgotten.

Mega Colossus – Riptime Review

Mega Colossus – Riptime Review

“You might be surprised to hear that even in a position of relative music authority, more than a handful of my recommendations fall flat. Case in point: Riptime. I’ve preached the virtues of this album more than a handful of times on Twitter to zero fanfare. My AMG colleagues, caught in the fever of the 2021 list season, essentially shrugged it off. Now here I am, in full clown makeup, writing a few hundred words to apparently nobody at all. And that’s okay, because even if it’s for my own amusement, there’s no other band I’d rather be writing about right now than Mega Colossus.” Mega ginormous.

Record(s) o’ the Month – November 2021

Record(s) o’ the Month – November 2021

“October and November can, without a doubt, be said to have saved 2021 for me. After last month’s pile of elite records, it was hard to imagine that November could be better. But two big things happened in November: 1) I successfully defended my PhD thesis, thus finally making me Dr. Angry Metal Guy; and 2) the rest of the big releases for 2021 dropped hard, fast, and heavy.” How to choose from this bumper crop?

Edu Falaschi – Vera Cruz [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Edu Falaschi – Vera Cruz [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“I fucking love Angra. When I was first hired onto the AMG team, I even entertained the idea of adopting the handle of Angra Metal Guy, partly in retaliation to AMG Himself‘s review of Secret Garden. That piece is what convinced me to apply to this blog in the first place. I agree with a lot of the Guy‘s takes, but the notion that Secret Garden was an improvement over the band’s older material, which is infinitely more effervescent and charismatic, is borderline delusional. Now, with the opportunity to review Edu Falaschi‘s first solo outing of original material, I feel something close to vindication.” Cruzin’ to wictory.