Rockshots Records

Karpenter – Sleepless Review

Karpenter – Sleepless Review

Karpenter plays an Americanized version of the Swedish sound which was foundational to bands like As I Lay Dying, along with the Swedish take on that Americanized Swedish sound which was done by Soilwork and In Flames on Stabbing the Drama, Sworn to a Great Divide, A Sense of Purpose, and Come Clarity. The newest of the above is thirteen years old, the oldest sixteen – Karpenter is an unintentionally hard-hitting commentary on the passage of time.” Sleeping in the past.

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.

Bloody Hell – The Bloodening Review

Bloody Hell – The Bloodening Review

“I’m a simple kind of metal fan. If you title your album “The Bloodening,” I’m going to seize the promo and run off into the night cackling like a crazed seal. Finnish heavy metal act Bloody Hell gave me just such an opportunity with their sophomore opus and I’m truly thankful. I’m less thankful for that eye-scorching poopsicle of an album cover, but you can’t always get what you want. You may get what you need though, if brainless, testosterone-powered 80s metal with both fists in the beer barrel is what you require.” The BloodeningER.

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.

Blue Hour Ghosts – Due Review

Blue Hour Ghosts – Due Review

“NASA once lost a perfectly good spacecraft due to a units error, which led to a miscalculated course and a fiery collision with the destination planet. The navigation team had raised concerns that it was off course before the actual crash, but no action was taken. Managers preferred to assume everything was fine until it was too late. Here on final approach hoping everything is fine is Italy’s Blue Hour Ghosts with their second album, Due.” Brace for impact.

Souls of Diotima – Janas Review

Souls of Diotima – Janas Review

“The line that separates symphonic metal from pop metal is — well, it’s not really a line, is it? It’s hard to inject pop into your metal without diving headfirst into symphonic territory. Okay, let me try again. The Venn diagram that distinguishes between symphonic metal and pop metal leaves a lot open to interpretation.” Pop in a orchestra pit.

Selenseas – The Outer Limits Review

Selenseas – The Outer Limits Review

“Seeing the almighty “power metal” banner waving boldly above a Pile of Intrigue in the Promo Pit is a fascinating experience, because it never fails to bring out my optimism and cynicism in roughly equal amounts. On the one hand, I love power metal. On the other hand, it’s such a straightforward genre that even established acts occasionally have trouble with a potentially generic sound. As per usual, optimism won out, so today I will tell you about my experience with Selenseas, a Russian group dabbling in symphonic power metal.” Power outage.

Sinisthra – The Broad and Beaten Way Review

Sinisthra – The Broad and Beaten Way Review

Sinisthra isn’t a band on the lips of many outside their home country of Finland, and I’m not sure they’re all that well known there either. Their biggest claim to fame is the presence of Tomi Joutsen on vocals. He appeared on their debut way back in 2005 before he was recruited by Amorphis, and after he was, the band went into a state of cryonic freeze. Over the years the various members continued to write music for an eventual followup.” Is this the Way?

Thy Despair – The Song of Desolation Review

Thy Despair – The Song of Desolation Review

“I’m a sucker for epic-sounding music. From Two Steps from Hell‘s “Heart of Courage” (the main opening theme song of the hilarious TV show Nathan for You) to Yanni‘s scintillating “Nostalgia,” I have a sweet spot for shimmering synths and bombastic orchestral swells. So naturally, when I saw that Thy Despair included a Game of Thrones metal lyrics cover video in their promo materials, I took the bait.” It’s a trap.

Enzo and the Glory Ensemble – In the Name of the World Spirit Review

Enzo and the Glory Ensemble – In the Name of the World Spirit Review

“First off, I’d like to apologize if you can’t hear me too well. I’ve been instructed to shout over the anguished shrieks of the Master of Muppets, who’s having a tough time right now. You see, we’re gathered here today to review In the Name of the World Spirit, the third release from Enzo and the Glory Ensemble, the progressive metal project masterminded by Enzo Donnarumma (Members of God), which is a touch outside of the creature’s usual wheelhouse. But positive, progressive, slightly cheesy power metal is something that I happen to delight in, so here we are! Embracing the glory (ensemble).” Double Glory Awaits.