Steelwing

Hibria – Silent Revenge Review

Hibria – Silent Revenge Review

“There are a lot of good bands down there in South America and they always seem to pop up out of nowhere and surprise you. Brazil’s Hibria did just that with their 2004 Defying the Rules debut, which rocked a type of heavy power metal quite similar to Riot‘s Thundersteel mixed with classic Euro-power like old Helloween. It was surprisingly mature and polished for a debut and had a number of great songs that earned permanent playlist rotation. Their Skull Collectors follow-up was solid enough, but I didn’t think much of the Blind Ride platter released in 2011. I feared they were in the classic Dimishing Returns Death Spiral and hoped they could find a way back to the glory of that awesome debut.” Nothing is worse than a promising band caught in a creative death spiral! Can Hibria avoid disaster and guide the ship back to the promised land of power metal? Steel Druhm is on scene and it was clearly the wrong week for him to quit sniffing glue.

Angrily Unreviewed: Split Heaven – Street Law

Angrily Unreviewed: Split Heaven – Street Law

Our first entry in the Angrily Unreviewed sweepstakes is Street Law, the third release by Mexican retro metallers Split Heaven (available on Pure Steel Records). Following in the footsteps of other 80’s style retro rockers like Steelwing, Enforcer and Wolf, Split Heaven serves up old school metal with a patina of hard rock and more than a little cheese (the album cover alone is worth fifty pounds of Velveeta). Now, before you turn up your elitist metal nose, this is some powerful, authentic stuff from a bunch of hungry youngins and it rocks harder than Thor at a Manowar concert. Songs like “Time Warrior,” “Street Law,” “Lonewolf” and especially “Night of the Jaguar” overflow with unrestrained enthusiasm and exuberance and manage to hit that 80’s style dead on. Closest in sound to Enforcer, they actually remind me a lot of Theatre of Fate-era Viper, old Obsession and Attacker, these guys play fast, loud and with real urgency. Great riffs are everywhere and while there’s that typical Maiden style here and there, they do their own thing as well. The vocals by Eligio Valenzuela are high pitched and a bit shrill but go along quite well with the vintage riffing and soloing style.

Battle Beast – Steel Review

Battle Beast – Steel Review

So there Steel Druhm was, sitting with a promo entitled Steel by the unknown Finns called Battle Beast. A quick perusal of the song titles made it clear they graduated Summa Cum LOUDLY from the Manowar School of Song Namery, as the numerous mentions of “metal,” “steel” and “iron” attest. The cover features a lion man fighting a robot as drawn by a ten year old at metal summer camp. Despite my renowned power metal geekdom, I felt a sense of dread and apprehension as I pressed play. Well damn it all if this thing isn’t full of surprises. Steel is a raging slab of frenetic, over-the-top 80’s metal worship that ladles out heaping helpings of thick cheese sauce and demands that you take seconds. Raging twin guitars, heroic solos, uber dramatic song structures and the vocals, Dear God the vocals!! The singer has a huge set of lungs and an even bigger set of balls which are frequently stuck in a vice! From gravelly, rasping shouts, air raid siren screams and superior singing, he can do it all and its so damn metal it kills my neighbor’s lawn. Imagine my shock to find out there are no balls to put in the vice because the HE is actually a SHE! That’s right, Nitte Valo is a true metal queen and she’s flat out brilliant on this album. However, unless you love the classic sounds of 80’s metal (think Grim Reaper, old Grave Digger, Accept) mixed with a smattering of power metal, this will leave you running for the door but quick. It revels in all the cliches and idiocy of that era and these folks certainly aren’t trying to be the next Opeth. You still with me? OK, stay with me.

Wolf – Legions of Bastards Review

Wolf – Legions of Bastards Review

The retro metal wolf is at the door again. The lupus I refer to is Sweden’s own Wolf, the one that’s been churning out their NWOBHM meets Mercyful Fate meets power metal style since 2000 and resisting all signs of modernizing along the way. Well, color them consistent because here on Legions of Bastards, their sixth album, they remain firmly planted in the 80’s metal sound and mentality. While retro-come-lately acts like Enforcer, Bloodbound and Steelwing made their bones raping the musical carcass of the 80’s, they’re all getting seriously sloppy seconds since Wolf got there first, many years ago. Past albums have been fun, energetic nods of the old school gods like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and here on Legions, the retro hero-worship continues unabated. This is 110% shameless throwback metal with enough over-the-top guitar soloing, vocal wailing and cheesy metal cliches to make Spinal Tap consider a career in disco. It’s more fun than a barrel full of Charlie Sheens and just about as subtle. If any part of you is a forward-looking progressive who wants to stop living in the past, this is very much not the band or album for you. As for me, I thrive on old timey metal cheese so this is right in my personal (cheese) wheelhouse. Set the time machine to 1986, raise the horns and read on if you dare.

Enforcer – Diamonds Review

Enforcer – Diamonds Review

Another retro 80’s metal album being reviewed on Angry Metal Guy? This place must really be going to hell in a hand basket. Well, at least one angry metal reviewer is enjoying the ride and Enforcer’s new album Diamonds would be the perfect soundtrack for any such hell bound pleasure excursion. Following along with 80’s NWOBHM worshiping peers Steelwing and Stormzone, Sweden’s Enforcer roars back to life with the follow up to 2008’s Into the Night and the results are pretty impressive and more fun than barrel full of monkeys.

Steelwing – Lord of the Wasteland Review

Steelwing – Lord of the Wasteland Review

Steelwing? Never heard of them. I toss in Lord of the Wasteland to see what I am dealing with and POW!! I get punched right in the face by an angry, metal spiked fist from 1982! This Stockholm, Sweden based band may be young and only formed in 2009, but man can they bring the pure, unadulterated NWOBHM power to the party. On this, their debut album, they shamelessly steal the best recipes from Iron Maiden, Saxon, Grim Reaper and Warlord and cook up a surprisingly fresh sounding, if utterly unoriginal metal meatloaf of riffs and attitude with enough cheese coating to choke a mastodon. Steelwing gives you eight fast and furious traditional metal anthems played by musicians who clearly worship at the altar of early 80’s metal and know exactly how that epoch of metal should sound.