Rainbow

Greyhawk – Keepers of the Flame Review

Greyhawk – Keepers of the Flame Review

“The other day, I was eating lunch with my 6-year-old son Ezkaton, and I swear to God, he gazed out the window with a thousand-yard stare and said the following without any prompting and without any music playing in the background: “Dad, I don’t know why I like Greyhawk so much. I don’t even try to like them, but they just make me like them.”” Sons of iron.

Black Sites – Exile Review

Black Sites – Exile Review

“Chicago’s Black Sites is the brainchild of guitarist and singer Mark Sugar, formerly of underrated modern thrashers Trials. It could be that Sugar and I are roughly the same age, both grew up on shitty post-glory-days ’90s thrash metal and/or are both from the Midwest, but whatever it is he seems to speak my language. Trials‘ final album ended up on my Top 10(ish) in 2015 and Black Sites‘ debut found similar acclaim in 2017. A songwriter with two albums that placed at #2 in my Top 10(ish) lists in the year they were released is about as close to a direct highway to “elevated expectations” as it gets. And when Mark sent me Exile, I can say that I was very excited.” Makin’ bacon (and metal).

Northern Crown – Northern Crown Review

Northern Crown – Northern Crown Review

“A band’s sophomore album is the make or break moment in many a career. We all know the story: A young band cobbles together a set of original compositions then spends years honing and retooling them in live settings, finding what works and what doesn’t. Those carefully polished, time-tested chestnuts become the grist of their debut and if they’re good, all that sweat equity  pays big dividends. After that they’re forced to write a whole new set of tunes much faster to meet a label’s release cycle so as to keep the unwashed masses fed and engaged. Can the rushed material equal what came before? Can two-man doom act, Northern Crown solve this riddle?” We’re going through changes.

Hypnos – Set Fire to the Sky Review

Hypnos – Set Fire to the Sky Review

“In the vanguard of the retro rock/metal movement are High Spirits, Gygax, Audrey Horne, and Night Flight Orchestra: bands that wear their influences not only on their sleeves, but on their entire bodies. They pay loving homage to the sounds of the 70s and 80s, but their songwriting prowess sets them apart from the crowd. Rather than making a mockery of Thin Lizzy or Toto, they revel in the sound and chart their own path forward – either in earnestness or in ultimate cheese. Sweden’s Hypnos aim to join this exalted group with their third album, Set Fire to the Sky.” Fly to the past.

Voodoo Circle – Raised on Rock Review

Voodoo Circle – Raised on Rock Review

Voodoo Circle make Steel and I yearn for the olde days, when we would sit on the veranda in our trailer park, drinking hobo wine out of pickle jars, listening to mixtapes of Blue Murder, Whitesnake, Great White, and the Scorpions. It was a simpler time: hairspray-soaked blues metal dominated the scene, and there were four main lyrical topics: love, bad love, dirty love, and sex. You can’t get away with that in today’s climate, but that won’t stop Voodoo Circle from trying.” Sex is love.

Screamer – Hell Machine Review

Screamer – Hell Machine Review

Screamer, a group of jovial Norwegian retro-rock revivalists, are putting out their third Hell Machine soon, and there’s a very particular standard by which it ought to be judged. The standard I’m referring to is Audrey Horne’s masterful Pure Heavy, far and away the best record of the retro-rock revival movement.” Mess with Audrey, you get the Horne.

Black Sites – In Monochrome Review

Black Sites – In Monochrome Review

“Like the Trials album which preceded it, however, In Monochrome is unapologetically modern, but it has two feet firmly planted in the feel(s) of yesteryear. And it is the feeling of being a traditional metal album—without being remotely derivative—which makes In Monochrome an excellent album.” I mean, what more do you want for an endorsement than that!?

Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise to Sundown Review

Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise to Sundown Review

“If you’ve been reading these here blog pages over the years you’ve learned that Steel Druhm loves his dirty 70s hippie rock. Spiritual Beggars is a super duper mega group composed of some of metal’s most respected folks and guess what? They play filthy hippie rock just the way it should be played (dirty?). Featuring former members of Carcass, Opeth, Mercyful Fate and Shining, you might not expect so much dirt-core, but man, these cats rock so hard, free and trve, they may accidentally bring back the Age of Aquarius (or Cthulhu, same difference).” Prepare to be grooved unto bliss.

Gygax – Critical Hits Review

Gygax – Critical Hits Review

“When AMG himself dropped a promo on me from a new band from former Gypsyhawk members called Gygax, named after the Godfather of D&D himself, E. Gary Gygax, I was both intrigued and skeptical. I love my metal and nerd tendencies, and Gygax had better come in with a decent THAC0 and saving throw if they wanted to withstand a lashing from yours truly.”