Wuthering Heights

FKÜ – 4 – Rise of the Mosh Mongers Review

FKÜ – 4 – Rise of the Mosh Mongers Review

FKÜ might be the oldest old-school thrash band you’ve never heard of. As the story goes, the original lineup of Freddy Krueger’s Ünderwear (amazing name, BTW) formed in Sweden way back in 1987, influenced heavily by S.O.D. With no recorded output, they went on hiatus for over a decade before finally re-forming, shortening their name, and releasing their debut Metal Moshing Mad in 1999. As the title implies, 4 – Rise of the Mosh Mongers is their 4th album.” Mr. Fisting has imposed some draconian and inflexible rules for how he rates re-thrash albums. Can FKÜ escape the swirling vortex created by his maddening and confounding need to demand originality from a genre that’s very existent depends on non-originality? Tune in and find out!

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.

Wuthering Heights – Salt Review

Wuthering Heights – Salt Review

Well shiver me timbers, it’s a pirate metal concept album! Sure, Running Wild has been doing that since 1987 but can you ever really have enough pirate metal? Yarr, I think not me mateys! So it is with open arms I welcome Salt, the new album by Denmark’s Wuthering Heights. Salt is the band’s fifth release and although they began life in 1997 as a power metal unit, I am not exactly sure how to classify them now. They still have many elements of traditional power metal (fast, galloping rhythms, speedy yet melodic guitar work) but they have evolved into a far more progressive and unorthodox entity over time. So much so in fact, that yours truly couldn’t get into their past two releases because they were just too schizophrenic, scattered and disjointed. I will admit that after my initial few listens to Salt, I had exactly the same problem and was prepared to send this album down to Davey Jones’s Locker with a vicious cannonade along the lines of “ARRRRRR, she blows!!!!” Then slowly, the album’s buccaneer charm began to seep into my head and I started liking it (although at first I only liked parts of it and prepared to say it possessed merely “pieces of great, pieces of great”). However, after two days of soaking in the Salt, I have signed on for this expedition and am ready to pillage and quaff ale right along with Wuthering Heights.