Tad Morose

Communic – Where Echoes Gather Review

Communic – Where Echoes Gather Review

Communic sits comfortably in the subgroup of metal acts that don’t get the attention they deserve. With 4 albums of pretty consistently sharp, heavy prog metal under their belts, they’ve essentially filled the gap left when Nevermore folded shop. Albums like Conspiracy in Mind and Waves of Visual Decay¬†mixed a satisfying crunch with soaring vocal harmonies, slick progressive sensibilities and a dark edge that draws me back often.” Dark minds plot darkly.

Below – Upon a Pale Horse Review

Below – Upon a Pale Horse Review

“Being the traditional kind of guy I am, if you were to tell me there was a band taking the very best parts of vintage Candlemass and Tad Morose and expertly welding them together, you would have my undivided attention. Below is that act, and Upon a Pale Horse is their second opus of epic doom mixed with classic/traditional metal. Mystery abounds as to how we whiffed on their 2014 debut, Across the Dark River, but we did and it was a mistake we won’t be making again.” Good things come on pale horses.

Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks Review

Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks Review

“When I picked up the debut album of Serious Black for review, I knew nothing about this band. What I did know was that the band name Sirius-ly gives me an uncontrollable urge to hunt down Harry Potter and punch him in the fucking face. But once I decided to review this slab of melodic metal, I discovered that this sum bitch is serious-ly special.” Step back folks, we have another “super group” on our hands.

Wolf – Devil Seed Review

Wolf – Devil Seed Review

Wolf has been running at the forefront of the retro metal pack for a while now, surpassing even the vainglorious cheese meisters of Hammerfall. They’ve done so with slick, memorable song writing and a healthy respect for their elders like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate. Although they’re utterly devoid of originality or new influences, they’ve been uncannily skilled at aping and raping the past for golden metal moments of steel. 2011s Legions of Bastards had a strong Painkiller vibe, but Devil Seed slows things down and adopts a darker,more restive, simmering mood, like a filthy mob of commoners perpetually on the verge of rioting against the haughty upper crust.” Honey, the Wolf is at the door again!

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Trail of Murder – Shades of Art

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Trail of Murder – Shades of Art

“Is it really that time of year already? Well, not quite, but Steel Druhm needs to correct a grievous error. I admit when I blow it and entirely miss a worthwhile release. I may do so grudgingly and with bitterness, but I do it. Well, this may be my biggest miss ever, since Trail of Murder is not only a great band, but features one of my all time favorite singers, Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound).” Look, mistakes were made and finger pointing won’t solve anything at this point. I said I was sorry!!! Sheesh.

Tad Morose – Revenant Review

Tad Morose – Revenant Review

“Whenever a beloved band implodes and goes into a ten-year hiatus, you’re more than justified in viewing a comeback with a jaundiced eye. After all, times change, people change, that “special something” a band had slowly fades away from lack of use. Basically, everything falls apart and the center cannot hold. Oh and hey, Tad Morose, the once great Swedish heavy metal act is back after a ten-year lay off. What a coincidence!” Follow along as Steel Druhm reviews Revenant and learns that nostalgia is a double-edged sword with poison ivy oil on the blade. Owwww, itchy slice, itchy slice!!!

Memory Garden – Doomain Review

Memory Garden – Doomain Review

“I’m a sucker for the name “Memory Garden.” I love the classic Trouble song with that title and I’ve always appreciated this group as well. Part of the moniker love is due to having worked in a cemetery bearing that name during grad school (yes, Steel Druhm was a legitimate grave-digger), but the talent, class and polish of this outfit doesn’t hurt none either. These Swedes play a type of progressive doom that sounds like a mix of Candlemass, Memento Mori, Nevermore and Lansfear with some similarities to the material off Tad Morose‘s classic A Mended Rhyme. Never too slow and dirgey, they infuse just enough traditional and power metal ideas to move things along and they bring an exceptionally high level of musicality to the table so everything goes down smooth as buttered silk.” Proggy, melodic doom should sound good to even the most attention challenged of metal fans. Even moss peeping, anti-doomers like AMG himself might enjoy the tasteful stylings of Memory Garden.

Iron Fire – Voyage of the Damned Review

Iron Fire – Voyage of the Damned Review

Historically speaking, I think the main reason our esteemed AMG hired me, the ever humble Steel Druhm, as a reviewer/minion [I prefer the term “bitch,” actually – AMG] was to make me the resident power and traditional metal nerd (my amazing prose and rugged good looks didn’t hurt none either). While I’m predisposed to drool over most old school stuff (cause I’m old), I’m actually quite the elitist snob when it comes to power metal. There’s some good in that genre, but there are way more generic, bad and monumentally awful things lurking in the ether. Case in point, I’ve had a love/hate/meh relationship with Iron Fire over the years. Their Thunderstorm debut was decent and moderately rabble rousing, but things have been inconsistent since then and their discography reads like the good, the bad and the WTF? After being unmoved by their past few releases, I hoped for more from their seventh release, Voyage of the Damned. Turns out, I heartily appreciate the new lyrical slant toward outer space themes, as it’s a nice diversion from the usual “dragon ate my wizard’s maiden” schtick. It’s also safe to say, this is much better than expected and it slowly won me over, despite initial doubts. Roping in elements of Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Grave Digger and Metalium, this features some highly enjoyable Euro-power with some surprisingly heavy moments. It also delivers far less generic freight than past Iron Fire shipments. While not exactly a “must hear” album, Voyage ends up being a solid release from a band with a spotty track record.

Bloodbound – Unholy Cross Review

Bloodbound – Unholy Cross Review

When I first heard that super talented metal vocalist Urban Breed had left the excellent Tad Morose I was very unhappy. When he popped up in the strangely corpse painted but great classic metal band Bloodbound for their 2006 debut, I was happy again. Then he left, then he came back, and now he’s left yet again. C’mon man, what the hell are you doing? As the ever fickle Mr. Breed contemplates his career options, the boys in Bloodbound soldiered on without him and are set to release their fourth platter Unholy Cross. With vocals now being handled by Patrik Johnansson (Dawn of Silence), Unholy Cross finds Bloodbound bouncing back and forth between their usual classic metal sound and modern Euro-power metal similar to Edguy, Mystic Prophecy and Stratovarius. Gone is the slick blend of classic and modern metal they explored on 2009’s excellent Tabula Rasa and sadly, a lot of the overall excitement seems leeched from their sound this time as well. While still worthwhile, this is inferior to their earlier material, especially Tabula Rasa.