Saxon

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…

Crying Steel – Stay Steel Review

Crying Steel – Stay Steel Review

Steel doesn’t cry. Nor does Steel run, hide or eat soy-based food stuffs. He does however partake liberally of 80 heavy metal, and that’s how Crying Steel came under his iron gaze ov chrome. Hailing from Italy, this retro rocking outfit has bounced around for quite some time, managing to release a series of albums from 2007 onward, of which Stay Steel is the fourth. They describe their style as NWoIHM (New Wave of Italian Heavy Metal), which in practice sounds suspiciously like the First Wave of American Metal Inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.” Waves and metal tears.

Saxon – Thunderbolt Review

Saxon – Thunderbolt Review

“The New Wave of British Heavy Metal hasn’t been new in almost 40 years, but some of the bands birthed in that musical crucible are still soldiering on today. The chief influence for the classic mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap, Saxon, have been road warriors since the late 70s, rocking their traditional metal fare far and wide, though never coming close to the fame achieved by contemporaries like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. If awards were given for stubbornness and dedication, Saxon would win in a clean sweep, and the fact we’re reviewing their 22nd album, Thunderbolt is further proof of their taciturn commitment to this whole “metal thing.”” Saxon-ma-phone!

Quartz – Fear No Evil Review

Quartz – Fear No Evil Review

“Stylistically Quartz play traditional heavy metal in the vein of Judas Priest and Saxon, and Fear No Evil has a distinctively old school flavor. Everything about it, from the chord progressions and melodies to the warm, uncomplicated production sounds as though it was pulled straight from the early ‘80s, lending it a reassuringly authentic quality, and first impressions are positive.” Retro, Shaggy!