Running Wild

Sölicitör – Spectral Devastation Review

Sölicitör – Spectral Devastation Review

“2019 was a dream for me when it came to reviews: nearly 20% of the albums I covered were released by bands within 150 miles of my house, and of those several can be found in my own Puget Sound area of Western Washington. Quayde LaHüe and Mortiferum impressed me, and the now infamous “Skelator Incident” induced heretofore unseen levels of arousal and nearly resulted in my actual firing from this site. Naturally, I couldn’t resist the temptation to grab the debut of Seattle’s Sölicitör.” Criminal sölicitatiön.

Stormwarrior – Norsemen Review

Stormwarrior – Norsemen Review

“Aeons ago, long before I answered the casting call to write for this prestigious hostile work environment or had even commented on a review, I was but a reader and lurker of the site. Even then, I imagined that I might one day find my name written upon the sacred digital stone of AMG’s “About” tab. I fancied that I might form an inseparable bond with one Swordborn, the site’s apparent resident cheese custodian. In my fantasies, we’d frolic together through meadows like metal Cupids, firing 4.0’s and 4.5’s at power metal albums all willy nilly, laughing all the while.” Oh, so this is one of those fanfics.

Aephanemer – Prokopton Review

Aephanemer – Prokopton Review

“The vaunted sophomore album. The dreaded sophomore album. It’s a metal rite of passage nowadays, fully reflective of our hyper-streamlined society, for the raw and promising to go from who-the-fucks to our favorite bands in an insanely compressed period of time. This tends to be especially true for AMG favorites—see Wilderun, Æther Realm, Khemmis, Cân Bardd, Altars of Grief, Hamferð, etc., etc. Since the opening bars of their 2016 debut Momento Mori, I prayed that someday Aephanemer would assume their rightful place in that most hallowed legion.” One giant step.

Thornbridge – Theatrical Masterpiece Review

Thornbridge – Theatrical Masterpiece Review

“When it comes to power metal, I’m really not difficult to please. My expectations for a good example of the genre are no more elevated than the baseline that Helloween established over three decades ago; the material needs to be fun, energetic, and hooky, and if a band can pull this off, I ask for little else. I don’t think there’s a power metal act out there that fails to identify this recipe for success, yet so very few of them manage to capitalize. The style is plagued by countless bands rehashing watered down pop melodies against toothless power chords, seemingly unable to perceive that they utterly lack the charisma that elevated their influences. Thornbridge sees these pretenders, and says ‘we can do better.'” Though, with a name like Theatrical Masterpiece, there is a sense that they might be setting expectations a tad high.

Toxik Attack – Assassinos em Série Review

Toxik Attack – Assassinos em Série Review

“I’m proud to tell you that I happen to be AMG’s resident specialist when it comes to Portuguese language thrash/speed releases from Helldprod Records. No other writer here can boast the honor of reviewing such a record, >and now I’ve done it twice in my illustriously short career. It may be an impossibly narrow niche, but hey, you have to start somewhere! Assassinos em Série is the debut album from Portuguese band Toxik Attack, and it is my next great hope for thrash in 2019.” Closed for remediation.

Gnosis – The Offering of Seven Review

Gnosis – The Offering of Seven Review

“Way back in 2015, the great Al Kikuras gave a review of The Third Eye Gate, the debut album from Floridian black metal act Gnosis. In that review, he eloquently explained the tightrope balance of empathizing as a musician, how difficult it must be to watch someone rip an album you worked on diligently to shreds, as well as the hard work of being a reviewer doing said shredding. It’s a complete and utter duality that, as a fellow part-time musician, I can completely relate to. After all, it’s never fun to put your heart and soul into something, just to watch someone tear it to pieces. And with that, three years later, they return with The Offering of Seven and I am the man-cat to review it.” Art and punishment.

Monument – Hellhound Review

Monument – Hellhound Review

“When does homage cross over into plagiarism? When does admiration become unhealthy obsession? These are questions one must confront when reviewing Hellhound by U.K. traditional metal fiends, Monument. Sporting several former members of White Wizzard, the band unsurprisingly sets out to showcase their love of 80s metal in ways so shameless and graphic, decorum almost prevents me from discussing them here. Almost.” Hellhounds and copycats.

Under Siege – Under Siege Review

Under Siege – Under Siege Review

“I can never quite get my head around how quickly Bandcamp staked out such an integral position in my life. The online marketplace is responsible for expanding my listening horizons as well as keeping me attuned to what people I respect (and El Cuervo) find worthy of purchase. Plus, letting me truffle-pig for releases that might not hit the promo bin is how I found Æther Realm. It’s also how I came across Under Siege. The Italians’ folky, eclectic brand of melodeath hooked me from the start, and the notion that their debut might go unreviewed was too painful to allow.” The agony and ecstasy of the fanboy.

Blazon Stone – Down in the Dark [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

Blazon Stone – Down in the Dark [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

“Though pirate metal has branched out in recent decades, Running Wild‘s bloody cutlass is still the measuring stick for wannabe scalawags. Blazon Stone defer to the captain publicly, but in quiet plan mutiny. Steal the dread captain’s ship and plunder the high seas with it? Nonsense! No one can best the the captain… can they? Blazon Stone certainly try.” There can be 3 pirate-themed metal bands when 2 are dead.

Silver Wind – Legion of the Exiled Review

Silver Wind – Legion of the Exiled Review

“France’s Silver Wind seems to be a pretty low-profile act, despite having formed (according to the label’s press release) in 2005. Legion Of The Exiled is the band’s first full-length, and an evident stepping stone from 2013’s Fight For Glory EP – which is regurgitated in its entirety (three songs) here. Comparisons of the band’s inceptive sound to Hammerfall and Enforcer incited some mild interest in me, but clones of this style are not exactly hard to find, and in my experience, the doppelgangers are almost invariably somewhat sloppy and/or without much novelty to them.” Something funky in the wind.