Tarot

Witchcraft – Black Metal Review

Witchcraft – Black Metal Review

“Magnus Pelander, the sole remaining founding member of Witchcraft, takes the reins on Black Metal, seemingly completely. There is his voice, and there is soft plucking on an acoustic guitar, and these two sounds comprise almost the entirety of the Black Metal sound. It sounds very different than the Witchcraft usual — certainly, it stands completely apart from Legend and Nucleus.” One man, one guitar.

Rämlord – From Dark Waters Review

Rämlord – From Dark Waters Review

“No one expects the Rämlord, nor should they. Formed by members of such wildly diverse acts as Impaled Nazarene, Legenda, and National Napalm Syndicate, Rämlord is a strange new act purpose-built to defy genre boundaries as they explore classic metal styles. On their debut, From Dark Waters they attempt a near herculean amount of genre hoping, dragging in influences from goth rock, hair metal, hard rock, 80s radio rock and a few other odds and sods along the bumpy journey they fashion for the unsuspecting listener.” Rämming speed!

Excalion – Emotions Review

Excalion – Emotions Review

“Once upon a time, your friendly neighborhood Steel Druhm was a big time power metal nerd. I loved nearly all of it, no matter how cheesy, poppy, dragon intensive or elf friendly it was. With advancing age and the inevitable cynicism that follows, my tolerance for saccharine-sweet Euro-pop-power diminished, and I’ve became increasingly judicious in what is deigned worthy for admittance in the ears ov Steel. One of the few power metal albums I still return to regularly is Excalion‘s 2007 opus Waterlines. The Finnish act found a near-perfect blend of heaviness, accessibility and over-the-top fun on that platter and its withstood the test of time and shifts in listening habits.” Songs and Emotion.

Æther Realm – Tarot [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

Æther Realm – Tarot [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

“Why do I do this? I am not paid to write here; I wouldn’t mind but I never set out to cash in on my inconsistent drivel at 700 words a pop. Love of the gig, the craft, the community all register and indeed carry me when nothing flows and everything comes out like shit, but that did not impel me to sign up. Having something to say reads more like a line on a CV than a raison d’etre, but maybe. Tarot make me think so. I can count on one hand the number of records that so immediately and viscerally impacted me as Æther Realm‘s second effort. Rectifying its absence here might just be why Jørn put me on this planet.” Jorn to review.

Excalion – Dream Alive Review

Excalion – Dream Alive Review

“There was a time not so long ago I would have argued for Excalion being one of the best Euro-power acts out there. 2007s Waterlines was and is one of my most played albums in the genre, and 2010s High Time followup was more polished but no less striking and addictive. It seemed as if the band was on the verge of breaking into the next level and giving Sonata Arctica and Stratovarious some serious competition. Then the guns fell silent and Excalion disappeared. I wrote them off as another promising act that died before reaching their full potential and moved on. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to see their name floating in our promo bay and I hoped they could pick up where they left off nearly a decade ago.” Keeping the dream alive.

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!

Yer Metal Is Olde: Sonata Arctica – Ecliptica [Revisted]

Yer Metal Is Olde: Sonata Arctica – Ecliptica [Revisted]

Fifteen years doesn’t seem like that long ago, but at the time I was a 17 year-old who would soon be writing for Al Kikuras at the legendary Unchain the Underground and getting deep into the back end of all the great metal that was coming out of Europe. On the top of my list was my discovery of cheesy power metal. At the time I was swimming in Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, and Symphony X (not Eurometal, I know) records for the first time and really finding my footing. One day while surfing the Internet I stumbled upon a streaming radio station and heard a song called “Letter to Dana.” I was stunned. Shocked. Cheesed out. And totally in love.” Can Ecliptica Revisited rekindle Angry Metal Guy’s innocent youth? Read on and find out!

Ayreon – The Theory of Everything Review

Ayreon – The Theory of Everything Review

“Of all of Arjen Lucassen’s projects, Ayreon is his best known and my least favorite. Having previously given both The Human Equation and 01011001 a shot, Ayreon really was a nut I couldn’t crack. Partially this is because I think the rock opera genre of power/prog metal bands à la Avantasia or Timo Tolkki’s Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Avalon tend to lack vision; but the writers also lack the kind of talent necessary that make undertakings like Jesus Christ Superstar or Little Shop of Horrors fun and interesting.” One does not simply write a 600 word review for a 90 minute concept record from Arjen Lucassen. Click to see the epic of The Theory of Everything.

Eternal Tears of Sorrow – Saivon Lapsi Review

Eternal Tears of Sorrow – Saivon Lapsi Review

Eternal Tears of Sorrow is an exceptionally fruity band name. The mere mention of it conjures images of a self-serious, black-garbed goth band (see photos) with a sultry, pouty femme fatale as front woman. If the name was keeping you away, you missed out on a quality band that blended black metal with melodic death, goth rock and symphonic power metal with good to great results. While I enjoyed all their albums, their crowning achievement was 2009’s Children of the Dark Water, which hit on the perfect combination of bombast, dark atmosphere, extremity, beauty and song writing that was shockingly good from stem to stern. At times it sounded like Cradle of Filth at their most symphonic mixed with early Cemetery, with traces of Kalmah, Insomnium and Amorphis added for good measure. After waiting over three years for a follow-up, we finally get Saivon Lapsi and with the long wait after such a great album, expectations were unavoidably high.” So… does this live up to those great expectations, or is it more of a bleak house? Get it? [YOU’RE FIRED!AMG]