Rock of Angels Records

Grave Digger – Symbol of Eternity Review

Grave Digger – Symbol of Eternity Review

“Rarely has an album been titled as accurately as Symbol of Eternity, Grave Digger‘s 20th goddamn full-length. I’ve been listening to these unstoppable German dirt movers since their 1984 debut and they just WILL NOT stop releasing albums. Such was the eternal crypt crud onslaught that I had to take a mental health break from reviewing them following 2017s lackluster Healed by Metal outing. Two more platters came and went since then, both fairly solid, and 2022 sees yet another release unearthed by the lords of exhumation. Taking a break from their Scottish clan war fetish, the band once again focuses on the crusades for the first time since 1998s Knights of the Cross. Other than the subject matter, nothing has changed in the tried-and-trve Digger sound.” Four men, no grave.

Badd Kharma – On Fire Review

Badd Kharma – On Fire Review

“We live in a society where people add extra letters (specifically u’s) to words that don’t belong. As well as spelling words purposely (I think?) wrong to give them more emphasis. Or they use words that don’t mean what they think they mean. Who could forget the days of ‘wassup?’ and ‘wazzup?’ I mean, what’s not hip about saying ‘what’s up?’ or ‘what is up? Or remember when people used the word ‘bad’ but actually meant ‘good’? Or when you use ‘cop’ instead of ‘get’ and ‘whip’ instead of ‘car’? What the fuck is going on around here? Now there’re umlauts over consonants and v’s instead of u’s. ‘Lead’ is ‘led,’ ‘funeral fuck’ is ‘fvneral fvkk,’ and ‘rand’ has a ‘5’ in front of it. And now… there’s Badd Kharma.” Fyre is hawt!!

Mystic Prophecy – Metal Division Review

Mystic Prophecy – Metal Division Review

“Back in 2007, I ran across the Myspace page of a band called Mystic Prophecy. My fire for trve heavy metal was still in its incipient stage at the time—a time that saw Manowar, Iron Maiden, and Iced Earth as my favorite bands—so when I heard “Demon’s Blood” and its immense bottom-end power metal attack on that soon-to-be-obsolete social media platform, I was giddy.” MySpace prophecies.

Freternia – The Gathering Review

Freternia – The Gathering Review

“Of all the bands that flooded the European power metal scene in the late 90’s and early 00’s, Sweden’s Freternia is certainly one of them. I’m not so much apathetic towards them as I am unfamiliar; I followed countless power metal bands in the previous decade, and while I’ve long known of Freternia‘s existence, I never got around to adding them to my rotation. In retrospect, they were a solid early example of Blind Guardian worship, and one that may have tapped into some serious potential, had they not fizzled out in 2002 after only two albums. When several members of Freternia formed Cromonic a few years back, I had thought that the latter band would serve as the former’s replacement, so I was a bit surprised when Freternia‘s comeback album, The Gathering, surfaced in the promo sump.” Join the Freternity.

Until Rain – Season V Review

Until Rain – Season V Review

“Until Rain deal in progressive metal and have been doing so since 2009, with four full-length albums already under their belts prior to Season V. I confess, I am only familiar with their most recent release, 2017’s Inure, which offered up dark, moody prog, featuring heavy bass lines and, at times, even flirting with djent and blastbeats (see, for example, “This Solitude”). I didn’t love it but I certainly liked it and there is no question Until Rain showed some vision and genuine songcraft on it.” Who’ll stop the rain?

Emerald – Restless Souls Review

Emerald – Restless Souls Review

“Emerald is a time capsule. The two years since our last meeting grayed the shit out of me, but their Swiss cheese popped out just as chipper and evergreen as I remember. I suppose I should appreciate knowing what to expect. 24 years on and 8 albums in, Emerald found their niche and niched the hell out of it. They’re the anti-power power band, the least dense of the heavy metals, sitting too squarely in the center of the palate to love or loathe. Vim without vigor, vinegar without piss, a good script but a poor adaptation. You know the drill—or do you?” Broken gems.

Steel Prophet – The God Machine Review

Steel Prophet – The God Machine Review

Steel Prophet has endured an up and down career of late. They started life as a highly prolific heavy metal band sounding like a cross between Queensrÿche and Iced Earth, churning out 7 albums between 1995 and 2004. Then they fell completely silent until 2014s surprise comeback album, Omniscient. It was a respectable reunion outing and it had me hoping the Prophet was back in a late career groove. Then another four long years went by without a peep and I assumed they were dead in the water again, until album number nine The God Machine arrived unexpectedly.” God as tech.

Athanasia – The Order of the Silver Compass Review

Athanasia – The Order of the Silver Compass Review

“Our eventual overlords may be capable of incredible feats of logic and science, but they are still in their infancy when it comes to matters pertaining to the human heart. There’s something about how humans process emotional cues and meaning that the machines haven’t mastered and it shows when they’re tasked with creative work. Now, this is a metal blog, so you can probably guess where I’m going with this. What would it sound like if AI were to create a metal album to be marketed to the masses?” By the numbers.

Full House Brew Crew – Me Against You Review

Full House Brew Crew – Me Against You Review

“I’m gonna level with all you. I own a Godsmack album. OK, fuck… I own two. But it wasn’t my fault. Where (and when) I grew up, the internet was barely a thing and censorship was real. And I don’t mean the Denver/Snider/Zappa type of censoring (though that existed, too). In my religious hometown, music is sold in the next town over, at Walmart. Which meant there weren’t many options. It was a time when possessing censored versions of Korn, Staind, Godsmack, Slipknot, and (fuck me, again) Nickelback records was rebellious.” The Devil’s photograph!