Saxon

Absolva – Fire in the Sky Review

Absolva – Fire in the Sky Review

“Meat n’ taters. It doesn’t get more basic, humble, and satisfying than that. The Manchester-based Brits in Absolva are the musical equivalent of that essential cuisine staple. Having the distinction of being the backing band for Blaze Bayley, the material they create on their own is very much in the Blaze school of classic British heavy metal – familiar, comforting, and satisfying. Fire in the Sky is their sixth album and finds Absolva playing to their strengths while sitting dead center in their comfort zone.” Back to basics.

Night Cobra – Dawn of the Serpent Review

Night Cobra – Dawn of the Serpent Review

“Snakes are as metal as skulls and demons, and nighttime is when all the fun, sketchy things happen. Ipso facto, Night Cobra is a spectacular name for a metal band. Especially for one throwing back so hard to the early 80s that they probably suffered slipped discs and Romulan back gout. On their Dawn of the Serpent debut, these Texas-based retro rockers deliver a mix of NWoBHM and early American power metal.” Snake bitten.

Saxon – Carpe Diem Review

Saxon – Carpe Diem Review

Saxon was there with Elrond 3000 years ago when Sauron fell. Saxon has more albums than some of you have years on Earth. Saxon will still be releasing albums long after you are dust crumbs. These are truisms metal fans must accept before moving on and living a happy and productive existence. Now Saxon‘s 23rd fucking album is here, and it’s titled, Carpe Diem. And what can you expect to find when you follow instructions and seize the day?” Elder Godz and day hoarding.

Maule – Maule Review

Maule – Maule Review

“I’m starting my year off on a positive note. In my Top Ten(ish) column (along with many others) one commenter opined about our lack of love for melodic stuff. I really took that statement to heart and decided that for January it’s only traditional and glam metal for this olde cat. So here we go, with a new creation born on Canada’s west coast, Maule. Touting themselves as part of the new wave of traditional heavy metal, they intend to gallop their way into our hearts with churning rhythms, rousing choruses, and rather pleasant Canadian personalities.” Take off, eh?

Lucifer’s Hammer – The Trip Review

Lucifer’s Hammer – The Trip Review

“This is shaping up to be quite the old timey week for your old timey tour guide, Steel Druhm. I’ve trudged through the retro death numbskullery of Inhuman Condition, the American power metal throwback style of Starlight Ritual, and now Chile’s Lucifer’s Hammer want to drag me back to the NWoBHM era for some hard rocking fun. Banging the gong of early 80s metal since 2013, Lucifer’s Hammer dropped two prior platters of Maiden / Satan / Saxon-centric material, and third release The Trip finds them doing what they do best – crafting simple metal ditties with a minimum of bells and whistles, but plenty of hooks.” Nailed by the Devil.

Absolva – Side by Side Review

Absolva – Side by Side Review

Absolva, the act entirely composed of the touring band for Blaze Bayley, have returned with their fifth album of slightly modernized NWoBHM. I first stumbled on these gents back in 2017 when their Defiance platter wound up on my desk, and found their style easy to like and as familiar as a favorite pair of socks. This is a crew of seasoned veterans from the U.K. traditional metal scene, and guitarist Luke Appleton even finds time to play bass for Iced Earth when not touring with Blaze.” Blazing new trails.

The Rods – Brotherhood of Metal Review

The Rods – Brotherhood of Metal Review

The Rods have been kicking rocks around the metal scene’s parking lot forever. Formed in upstate New York by Dio’s first cousin, David “Rock” Feinstein, they’ve been playing a simplistic, Neanderthal version of proto-metal since 1980 with a sound that’s approximately 45% Manowar, 35% Anvil and 20% KISS. I recall always seeing their albums like Let Them Eat Metaland Heavier Than Thou in record stores as a kid, but I never bought them and none of my friends seemed to either.” Rods and sods.

Paragon – Controlled Demolition Review

Paragon – Controlled Demolition Review

“A while ago, I was walking about and found myself in want of a quick, cheap, easy snack. I knew I was close to a McDonald’s, and that a greasy, delicious McDouble was under two bucks; perfect. Yet when I reached the restaurant, something was weird: it was called “McCafe” and designed to look trendy, modern, and friendly to Starbucks-sipping screenplay scribblers. I used to be rather good at guessing an album’s genre based on the cover, but trips to the record store have proven confusing nowadays for the more extreme variants of metal.” Destroying for fun.

Herman Frank – Fight the Fear Review

Herman Frank – Fight the Fear Review

Herman Frank made his metal bones by playing guitar alongside Wolf Hoffman on Accept‘s early and influential albums like Restless and Wild and Balls to the Wall. He then took a decades-long hiatus, returning for the band’s first few post-Udo albums before decamping once again to helm his eponymous project. His solo output hasn’t fallen far from the Accept tree, but always steered closer to classic hard rock ideas and formulas. This rock influence became more prominent on 2016s The Devil Rides Out, and the trend continues on fourth outing, Fight the Fear.” Fear is the mindkiller.

Stormwitch – Bound to the Witch Review

Stormwitch – Bound to the Witch Review

Stormwitch is the Captain America of metal music: Perpetually out of sync with the times and what’s going on around them. Heavily influenced by the NWoBHM, they released their Walpurgis Night debut in 1984 just as the style was on the wane. They switched to a more commercial style on albums like 1986s Stronger Than Heaven as the thrash explosion engulfed the world. By 1989 they were dabbling in cheesy, ballad-heavy Euro-power as extreme metal was growing in popularity and the whole scene was on the brink of near annihilation by the Seattle grunge movement. Long story short: Stormwitch put out 10 albums at the wrong time and never broke it big.” Witches, man…