Savatage

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.

Ross the Boss – Born of Fire Review

Ross the Boss – Born of Fire Review

Ross the Boss is one of those bands I can’t help rooting for, being as it’s the outfit of Ross Friedman, the man behind the guitar on all the classic Manowar albums. Those platters were a huge part of my early metal education and I still cherish them dearly, as all trve metal fans should. Ross’ post-Manowar projects have been somewhat hit or miss, and 2018s By Blood Sworn was very disappointing despite some major league talent coming on board to help out. Because of this, I majorly tempered expectations coming into their 4th album, Born of Fire.” Who’s the Boss?

Vision of Choice – Mistress of the Gods Review

Vision of Choice – Mistress of the Gods Review

“And then a record comes along that takes me right back to that storied past and refills my magic bar to 100%. Mistress of the Gods, the debut album from Germany’s Vision of Choice is one of those records. After close to thirty spins of this 57-minute monster, I’m still trying to come up with the best way to describe what it sounds like. Here’s the best I got: take the masculine riffs and baritone bellows of a band like Omen, mix it with some German speed a la Helloween or Blind Guardian, add some eccentric Savatage flair, and round it out with Mötley Crüe and Van Halen, and you might get close.” Hot pocket o’ metal.

Dr. A.N. Grier’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

Dr. A.N. Grier’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

“Remember that scene in Ghostbusters (the real Ghostbusters…) where Winston tells Ray, ‘If someone asks you if you are a god, you say yes!’ Well, if someone asks you if you want to write a guide for teaching organic chemistry, you say hellafuckingno. I’m serious. Do yourself, and everyone around you, a favor. So, yeah, this year’s been nuts. Thankfully, there’s Angry Metal Guy—a solace for all metalheads to come together and be verbally abused and cat-tailed in the company basement.” Cat’s got yer list.

Mistheria – Gemini Review

Mistheria – Gemini Review

“If only it were that simple. Completely instrumental albums are more difficult to write, I think because we are automatically drawn to voices. Without a vocalist, the tracks must be carefully composed to guide the listener’s attention and keep a sense of structural flow and integrity. Gemini is not carefully composed. Gemini doesn’t have flow and barely any structure. Rather, Gemini is a group of very talented musicians wanking onto a biscuit and hoping you’ll eat it.” Don’t eat the buttermilked biscuits.

Adagio – Life Review

Adagio – Life Review

“Unlike other genres, power metal isn’t one that I can freely delve into – I need a little consideration before I lunge into that fray of fromage. Having spent most of my adult life in front of a classroom full of students with inevitably big ideas, patience is not a virtue I was born with but one I have since earned by iron and blood. The kind of patience that allows me to sit in wait for an album with a little more crunch; a little more progression à la Symphony X, Borealis or Kamelot.” Patience is a virtuoso.

Witherfall – Nocturnes and Requiems Review

Witherfall – Nocturnes and Requiems Review

“When you spend a lot of time sorting through an overloaded promo bin, sometimes it becomes hard to see the dark forest from the evil trees. You look for the big releases, separate out the worst of the unsolicited junk, try to find things to appease the overly finicky tastes of our diva fancypants drama club review crew – it’s a real grind. And sometimes as you grind along, you spot an unheralded dark-horse that you just have to hear. That’s how Witherfall came into my life.” Tales of romance in the promo bin.

RAM – Svbversvm Review

RAM – Svbversvm Review

“With the worldwide influence of Sweden on two fronts in the metal world and their universally hostile furniture-based takeover through Ikea (complete with Pictionary instructions and oddly tasty meatballs), it’s almost funny to see Sweden cheekily stealing from the initially British-led style of old-school heavy metal and RAM it down all of our throats with a record called Svbversvm.” Svbmit!

Dark Moor – Project X Review

Dark Moor – Project X Review

Dark Moor has been tilting at windmills a very long time. As one of Spain’s longest-running power metal bands, they’ve had successful early albums like The Hall of the Olden Dreams and The Gates of Oblivion which benefited from crisp writing and the raspy roar of Elisa Martin. When she was replaced by Alfred Romero on the band’s eponymous 2003 album, they lost a bit of what made them stand out.” Grab your tinfoil hat and open your X-File!

Circle II Circle – Reign of Darkness Review

Circle II Circle – Reign of Darkness Review

Circle II Circle keeps chugging along, tirelessly offering a stripped-down, threadbare reminder of what Zak Stevens era Savatage sounded like – just in case those albums get raptured away or something. This is their seventh album of mid-tempo metal with hard rock and AOR influences, and though the blueprint delivered some good moments (Watching in Silence, Burden of Truth), the past few outings felt increasingly watered down and bereft of inspiration, culminating in the dissipated lethargy of 2013s Seasons Will Fall.” With two spheres in the title, how can you go wrong?