Savatage

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?

Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman Review

Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman Review

“Against seemingly impossible odds, Queensrÿche roared back from the adult-contemporary abyss two years ago with their self-titled album. The band had parted ways acrimoniously with vocalist Geoff Tate, replacing him with newcomer Todd LaTörre (Crimson Glory) and reconnecting to their prog and metal roots. The resulting album was shockingly good, proving that the band could indeed survive without their former frontman. Now that that’s been settled, the band’s 2nd act continues with Condition Hüman. How many Bitcoins would Gëoff Tate pay for this bad boy?

Jorn Lande and Trond Holter – Dracula: The Swing of Death Review

Jorn Lande and Trond Holter – Dracula: The Swing of Death Review

When word of this rock opera treatment of Dracula from none other than The Rock King and Trond Holter (current guitarist for Rock King’s solo albums) hit the streets, let’s just say there was a difference of opinion between AMG and myself as to the merits thereof. Never much of a Jornophile, AMG wanted no mention of it on his pristine webpage. But how can we ignore a Broadway-inspired concept album about that immortal Lord of Darkness, Dracula Von Impalerstein?” Are you ready for the Dracula Spectacula? Jorn is and he’s chewing on your scenery.

Retro-spective Review: Lizzy Borden – Master of Disquise

Retro-spective Review: Lizzy Borden – Master of Disquise

“Lizzy Borden was the charming tyke famous for chopping up her folks with an axe (allegedly). Lizzy Borden the band (and the man) are much less famous, and that’s why I’m casting the attention nets back through time to land their magnum opus for your consideration. As part of the wave of slightly glamy hair metal acts that spewed from L.A. in the 80s, Lizzy and W.A.S.P. were basically cut from the same animal print cloth. They wanted to be metal, but sought to incorporate lots of radio friendly hooks and glam, sleaze n’ trash theatrics.” Ready for a hair metal rock opera? Wait, come back, it’s really good!

Retro-spective Review: Warrior – Fighting for the Earth

Retro-spective Review: Warrior – Fighting for the Earth

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to this little gem of an album. It pretty much defines the term “forgotten classic” and I’m sure many never even heard of Warrior. They’ve had an extremely stop-start career, having released only four albums in 30 years, but their 1985 debut Fighting for the Earth is a classic piece of 80s metal loaded with top-notch, super memorable anthems that straddle the line between a classic, old school style and gritty hard rock. Sounding like a mix of early Savatage, Obsession and Armored Saint, it’s one of those platters that epitomized the early American metal sound and after this release they were often spoken of in the same breath as Queensryche as the “next big thing.” Steel Druhm grew up with this album and he’s always annoyed nobody knows about it. So…know about it!