Sanctuary

Toxik – Dis Morta Review

Toxik – Dis Morta Review

“Founded in 1985, New York thrashers Toxik released two albums before vanishing into obscurity. 1987’s World Circus (think Anthrax meets Sanctuary) and 1989’s Think This (think Cowboys-era Pantera meets Megadeth) have enjoyed cult-classic status ever since thanks to the band’s phenomenally technical playing, insane vocals, and bizarre songwriting. The band broke up in the early 90’s and briefly reformed in 2007 and again in 2013, and is ready to unleash Toxik’s first full-length in over twenty years.” Toxik thrashculinity.

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

“Barlow’s time as the classic Iced Earth vocalist solidified him as one of these legendary figures in my personal mythology, and that legend was only strengthened when I learned that he’d left the band to pursue a career as a police officer after the events of 9/11. His return to the mic with Pyramaze was a pleasant surprise, and I really enjoyed the 2013 self-titled debut from Ashes of Ares, the project he formed with former Iced Earth bassist Freddy Vidales. For whatever reason, I missed Ashes of Ares‘ 2018 sophomore platter Well of Souls, but when I saw follow-up Emperors and Fools had found its way into the January promo bin, I threatened violence against any reviewer who might try to take it from me.” War arts!

Project: Roenwolfe – Edge of Saturn [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Project: Roenwolfe – Edge of Saturn [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“American power metal is one of life’s great simple pleasures. Take some killer thrash riffs, find someone to wail over the top of them, and—voila!—instant US powah. Of course, the truth is more nuanced than that, but I’m not far off. My two favorite bands of all time, Nevermore and Symphony X, may embellish the style with progressive elements, but when you boil things down to what really makes both of those bands awesome, you find two things remaining: riffs and vocal theatrics.” Project: Power Wolfe.

Witherfall – Curse of Autumn Review

Witherfall – Curse of Autumn Review

“In the grand talent lottery, Witherfall hit bigly and muchly. They possess such a vast wealth of ability that it could be redistributed among any 10 lesser acts with copious chops leftover. On third album, Curse of Autumn all this talent is on vivid display as the band rips through wild, adventurous prog-power anthems tailor-made for fans of Symphony X and Nevermore. At every turn you’re regaled by the stunning shreddery of Jake Dreyer (ex-Iced Earth, ex-White Wizzard), the soaring vocal heroics of Joseph Michael (Sanctuary, ex-White Wizzard), the powerhouse technical drumming of Marco Minnemann (Steve Wilson, ex-Necrophagist), and the slick bass-work of Anthony Crawford. The sheer magnitude of what the band is capable of hangs heavy in the air every second the album plays. With so much raw potential and mega-competence however, comes a higher base level of expectation.” Curse of potential.

Neck Cemetery – Born in a Coffin Review

Neck Cemetery – Born in a Coffin Review

“Hello, neighbor. Would you like to play a game with me? Yes? How about the “guess the genre” game. You know, the one where you look at an album’s cover to see if you can predict what it will sound like? How about we start with the band name? Neck Cemetery. Yikes. That’s a bad name.” Wreckin’ necks.

Alkymist – Sanctuary Review

Alkymist – Sanctuary Review

Alkymist are here to enhance their own maturation of the progressive metal medium, imbuing a curious genre-bending identity to the extreme metal pot. Dragur are the undead – icy, chaotic, magical creatures risen from the dead to live a second life. They are the malevolence of alchemy and at the heart of this record. SanctuaryAlkymist‘s second full-length – is the sound of humanity in refuge, fighting against the twisted world of alchemy’s waste.” Magic against mankind.

Solitary Sabred – By Fire & Brimstone Review

Solitary Sabred – By Fire & Brimstone Review

“When Cypriot band Solitary Sabred entered my schedule, I looked back in the site’s archives and saw that their 2014 release Redemption Through Force had not only been covered, but highly recommended. Naturally, I was intrigued and I sampled. What I found was a heavy/power metal concept album with absolutely insane vocals. Sounding like a mixture of Manowar and Sanctuary due in no small part to singer Petros Leptos’ delivery consisting of three parts Eric Adams and one part early Warrel Dane, I immediately fell in love and ordered a physical copy of the release.” Steel thyself.

Shadowkeep – Shadowkeep Review

Shadowkeep – Shadowkeep Review

“Britain’s Shadowkeep lay more or less dormant for seven or eight years following 2008’s The Hourglass Effect, which itself was delayed due to line-up changes. This oft-contracted plague of metal bands received a cure in January of 2017 when none other than James Rivera of Helstar stepped forward and offered his services as the voice of the band for its long-awaited self-titled fourth studio album. As something of a fan of Shadowkeep’s earlier work, and especially The Hourglass Effect, I was interested to see what James would bring to the table in a setting other than Helstar (a band I’m admittedly not overly fond of).” Shadows of Hel(star).

Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord Review

Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord Review

Jag Panzer has a special page in the Big Book of American Metal, being one of the early progenitors of what was once known as “American power metal.” Their testosterone and armpit hair laden adaptation of the NWoBHM sound along with the uber metal vocals of Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin set their 1984 Ample Destruction debut apart from the typical Priest and Maiden clones, and along with similar acts like Metal Church and Helstar, they helped develop a mighty sound later pilfered thoroughly by Sanctuary and Iced Earth.” Of Deviance and Tyranny.