Rockshots Records

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.

Isle of the Cross – Excelsis Review

Isle of the Cross – Excelsis Review

“I admire bands who chance their arm at cracking into peoples’ music rotation, especially where their intent is to chart a new path or weave existing genres in dynamic ways. Enter Jo Schneider and the band he leads called Isle of the Cross. Excelsis is their debut release and promised to be an “enigmatic journey of sonic power.” Enigmatic is the key word as I have been unsuccessful in my efforts to learn more about the band, including the country of origin. Further promoting itself as for fans of Opeth and Symphony X is a bold strategy indeed, so I turned to my first listen with great interest.” Excelsisore!

Ravenword – Transcendence Review

Ravenword – Transcendence Review

“An Italian symphonic power metal band formed by its keyboardist and primary composer releasing their first studio album, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven.’ This is what I bring to you today, faithful readers, and I invite you to kick me TheKenWord once for every part of that sentence you feel you’ve read somewhere before.” If nights were wishes, ravens would Poe.

Blame Zeus – Seethe Review

Blame Zeus – Seethe Review

“But if we disregard the stains of the posturing rap machismo, there’s nothing inherently bad about alternative metal. Generally speaking, it’s often got muscly, infectious riffs, vocal hooks for days, and a bass presence other genres could learn from. It’s the opposite of trve and kvlt, but elitism had always been a dead end. The only thing that often irritates me greatly about alternative metal is the high levels of either emo or tough-guy bluster. So what if we replace that with a fantastic set of bronzed female vocals and a subtle dusting of prog? That’s when we get Blame Zeus.” Commence the Zeusical.

Astralium – Land of Eternal Dreams Review

Astralium – Land of Eternal Dreams Review

“Not often do shivers ripple up my spine on my morning commute. I’ll admit this feeling isn’t alien to me. Discovering transportive music that makes my heart swell is my lifeblood. I seek out shiver-inducing music, so much, in fact, that I wonder if I will one day grow immune to it. Despite this, I couldn’t contain my excitement when I rediscovered the response, known as frisson (French for “shiver”), while listening to the orchestral intro track of Astralium‘s debut album Land of Eternal Dreams for the first time.” Wishes and dreams.

Hidden Lapse – Butterflies Review

Hidden Lapse – Butterflies Review

“I’d like to invite you to take a moment and look at that album art. While you’re at it, admire the album title and band name. And now that you’ve spent three seconds doing that, you won’t be the slightest bit surprised when I tell you that Italy’s Hidden Lapse play progressive power metal with symphonic elements. If you were surprised, I’d recommend spending some more time on this site.” Butterfly effect.

Constantine – Aftermath Review

Constantine – Aftermath Review

“The name Constantine brings to mind the ancient Roman emperor who first adopted Christianity, but that’s not what we’ve got here. This Constantine is a young Greek guitar hero, and Aftermath is his second album (his first, Shredcore, came out almost ten years ago). Citing influences from Yngwie Malmsteen to Joe Satriani and more, we can expect some serious guitar fireworks on Aftermath. But amazing axemen are a dime a dozen, and blazing through tapping-arpeggio solos doesn’t always equate to great music: one has to be able to write good songs, not just good solos.” Keanu RIFFS!

Ashen Horde – Fallen Cathedrals Review

Ashen Horde – Fallen Cathedrals Review

“2018 saw my tastes begin to shift. The power metal that brought me to the dance — while still producing some gems for the year — had to watch as blackened death metal swept me off my feet and took me home once the music had stopped. A full half of my top ten for the year — and all of my top four — could have been tagged (arguably) with both “black” and “death.” While I enjoy albums of each genre on their own, there’s something about the two being combined in interesting ways that really gets my juices flowing (this is your cue to don eye protection). Hence, my interest in Los Angeles’ Ashen Horde, the proggy black/death project of multi-instrumentalist Trevor Portz and Inferi / Equipoise vocalist Steve Boiser.” Ash Hoarders unite!