REVIEWS 2020 - Page 6

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NUCLEAR WARFARE: Lobotomy - Album
(MDD Records)
South German thrashers NUCLEAR WARFARE are celebrating their 18th anniversary as a band. And they do this by releasing their 6th album, "Lobotomy". All 9 songs are faithful to the thrash of the 80s. It's a homage to the old German scene as well as the Bay Area scene, but somehow they add their own touch too. This is of course something for fans of the old school, and hardly for those who prefer modern thrash metal (is there any people like that?).
For some reason they went all the way to São José dos Campos, Brazil to record this album.
Published: Sept. 18, 2020

NIGHTRAGE: Poems Doomed To Oblivion - Single
(Despotz Records)
Yet another single from their first demo, that was originally released 20 years ago, but will be released again (still not sure when though). Why not just release the record instead of releasing singles from it? Seems to be a little stupid according to me, as the recording is already done and should be ready to be released at once. But what do I know?
In 2000 NIGHTRAGE was just a duo, featuring the 2 guitarists Marios Iliopoulos (still in the band) and Gus G (FIREWIND, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, DREAM EVIL). But they were obviously no amateurs, which the 2 singles that I have heard so far is proof of. It might not be as great as the band is today, but absolutely not bad anyway.
After this demo the guys moved to Göteborg (aka Gothenburg), Sweden and NIGHTRAGE became a real band with the help of some Swedish gentlemen (I think they had Tompa from AT THE GATES on vocals the first time I saw them live?).
Published: Sept. 17, 2020

CORNERS OF SANCTUARY: Into The Fight - Single
(RFL Records)
I had just posted my review of their previous single, when they suddenly release another. But anyway.. As I said then, US metal band CORNERS OF SANCTUARY will release their new album, "Heroes Never Die", on October 30. And that's where this song comes from, which is another o.k. song, but maybe not among their few stronger songs. I'm pretty sure that it will melt in pretty good on the album though.
Published: Sept. 17, 2020

TRISHULA: Time Waits For No Man - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
British melodic rock band TRISHULA is the brainchild of guitarist Neil Fraser, accompanied by vocalist Jason Morgan. Prior to forming TRISHULA, Neil and Jason spent many years recording and performing with local bands. The debut album with TRISHULA, "Scared to Breathe", was released in March last year, and now it's time for their second album.
This is something for fans of 80s melodic rock/hard rock. And it's absolutely not bad at all. They might not reinvent the wheel of rock, but this is really good. Not 1 single bad song among these 10 tracks.
Published: Sept. 16, 2020

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: Diamond In The Rough - Album reissue
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
Canadian keyboard player Lewis Nitikman began his professional music career in 1981, when he joined STONEBOLT at the age of 21. His major influence is early Elton John. After studying music at Barklee College of Music in Boston, he decided to record his own album, which was originally released in 1988.
Now that solo debut will be re-released. And this edition is said to be identical to the 1996 version on Long Island Records, with the 2 bonus tracks "I Believe In This Love" and "Tell Me". Only a limited edition of 500 copies will be available exclusively from AOR Heaven.
What we can find here is mainly melodic rock/AOR. But there is also some tracks that are best described as soft rock/pop. It all sounds so 80s that I think it's 1988 again. But he has some good songs here, no doubt about that. Everything might not be so great, but nothing is so bad that it sucks anyway.
Since the album was released, Lewis has relocated to Sheffield, England, where he have had a long musical partnership with singer/songwriter John Reilly. He has also recorded an album with former AGENT vocalist Troy Reid, and 1 with his STONEBOLT band mate Ray Roper under the name STRANDED.
Published: Sept. 16, 2020

DANGEROUS PROJECT: Cosmic Vision - Album
(Shaded Moon Entertainment)
Neo-classical heavy/power metal with a Yngwie Malmsteen-wannabe on guitar, who can't just play 1 chord at the time, but have to play on the whole fingerboard at once. This is a little too much sometimes because of that, but mainly very good material. Fans of Yngwie, but also RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE, will probably like this a lot.
The group originally formed in Lima, Peru in 2005 by Oscar J. Martin and Eddy Geott (both from YAWARHIEM). They recorded a demo, "Love Me Tonight", under the name DANGEROUS, and then they went seperate ways. But in 2015 they decided to revive their old project, now as a complete band called DANGEROUS PROJECT. In the beginning of 2018, the band began to work on their first album, "Cosmic Vision". The album was first released on various digital platforms, but has now also been released on CD.
Published: Sept. 16, 2020

ATLAS: Parallel Love - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
"Parallel Love" is the second album from British melodic rock band ATLAS, where they chose to pursue a heavier edge for the production, while staying true to their roots in melodic rock and AOR.
Well, they are hardly doing anything wrong here. They trust in the good old artists of this genre. And even though I have heard it a thousand times before, I really like it. And so will you..
Not much else to add actually.
Published: Sept. 16, 2020

ZHAKIAH: Where The Light Will Thread - Album
(Melodic Passion Records - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
And what was that useless intro good for then? But after that it's much better.
ZHAKIAH was formed in 2018 by Jani Stefanovic (The WAYMAKER, DIVINEFIRE, SOLUTION 45, MISERATION, CRIMSON MOONLIGHT, MEHIDA, ESSENCE OF SORROW etc etc), who play guitar, bass, keyboard and sing. Alfred Fridhagen (ReinXeed, GOLDEN RESURRECTION) play drums. And the music these guys create is melodic death metal with its roots in the Gothenburg sound. But I also think it sounds a bit progressive actually. He adds his own touch with pretty advanced guitar playing anyway. But let's just say that it's a good combination of aggressive thrash, melancholic melodies and heavy/groovy elements.
I'm not sure if that gives you a better idea of what this sounds like, but it's absolutely not bad at all, so give it a try.
Published: Sept. 15, 2020

The WAYMAKER: The Waymaker - Album
(Melodic Passion - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
The WAYMAKER was formed in 2019 by Christian Liljegren (from Sweden) and Jani Stefanovic (from Finland). They have previously worked together in DIVINEFIRE, who produced 5 albums between 2005-2011. Now I'm not sure if I have heard that band, but people who like majestic melodic metal should absolutely check out this album, because this is really good stuff. They mention Yngwie Malmsteen's RISING FORCE, STRATOVARIUS, MASTERPLAN and KAMELOT as their influences.
I should also mention that we get some female vocals by Katja Stefanovic, which spice it up and give the songs some more variation.
Well, all these people have many years of experience, and you can really hear that on this album.
Published: Sept. 15, 2020

(Argonauta Records - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
MOS GENRATOR play a heavy but catchy kind of stoner rock. These 3 tracks reminds me of early Ozzy-era BLACK SABBATH. And that's not bad of course. It seems to be demo recordings from May 2014 and June 2018, and 1 of them is a PINK FLOYD cover. They formed 20 years ago in Port Orchard, Washington. 9 studio albums has been released so far, as well as a retrospective album, 2 live albums and a plethora of split 7" and 12" singles on various labels.
DI'AUL has been around for 10 years, and comes from Italy. They are really heavy and distorted, and not as good as MOS GENERATOR. Not totally useless though, but their songs are a little too long - approxiamately 8 to 8:47 minutes. 4 albums has been released so far, and their music is a raw combination of sludge and doom metal.
Published: Sept. 14, 2020

DIRT (Redux) - Compilation
(Magnetic Eye Records - Release date: Sept. 18, 2020)
Vokonis live in their hometown
Believe it or not, but it's actually 28 years since the ALICE IN CHAINS classic "Dirt" was released. And a bunch of different bands celebrate this by playing every song from the album. The first band, THOU, is some kind of extreme metal. The next, LOW FLYING HAWKS, is psychedelic rock, and totally spaced out. Another odd bird is the last band, The OTOLITH, who play melancholy doom with violin. But the rest are more like ALICE IN CHAINS though - heavy alternative rock.
Now I have to admit that I don't have the original album (shame on me), and I don't think that I have ever heard the whole album before. Years later I heard the song "Them Bones" though, and I just loved it. So it's a big mystery why I don't have the "Dirt" album but a stupid best of collection with them instead.
Well, most of the bands here are doing a good work, and are probably pretty true to the original versions. I have not heard that many of these bands before. But I have heard VOKONIS at least, who comes from Borås, Sweden where I live. I'm not so sure about the rest though, but some of them are THESE BEASTS, HOWLING GIANT, BACKWOODS PAYBACK, BLACK ELECTRIC etc. A total of 13 bands with 1 track each, which is the whole album from the first to the last song.
Magnetic Eye Records seems to have specialized in tribute compilations like this. They have previously released albums with covers of Jimi Hendrix, HELMET and PINK FLOYD. In the future we will see covers albums with BLACK SABBATH (both "Vol. 4" and a "Best Of").
Published: Sept. 14, 2020

SOULBOUND: Addicted To Hell - Album
(Metalville - Release date: Sept. 18, 2020)
This band is like the failing link between zynth music and metal. Not really my thing to be honest, even though it's not total crap. And it's hard for me to take a band with titles like "Addicted To Hell", "Fuck You" and "Devil" seriously. Especially when it's not even a black metal band.
SOULBOUND are from Bielefeld, Germany, and they play a dark and modern kind of industrial/gothic metal. They mix catchy melodies with dystopian and socially critical lyrics. It's a mixture of stomping beats, heavy guitars and aggressive zynths. They are often energetic.
For some unknown reason, the first edition of this album also includes a bonus CD with acoustic live versions, remixes and cover songs. The album itself consist of 13 tracks, which is already too much for me, and then they want me to listen to 11 more songs that are more or less pretty boring after a while. No thanks!
Published: Sept. 13, 2020

RAGEHAMMER: Into Certain Death - Album
(Pagan Records - Release date: Sept. 18, 2020)
RAGEHAMMER formed in 2011 in Kraków, Poland. They were inspired by legends like VENOM, SODOM, BATHORY and IMPALED NAZARENE, and their first demo came out in 2012. In 2016 their debut album was released, and 4 years later they are now ready to release their second full length.
Even though this is supposed to be raw warlike black/thrash metal, this band actually reminds me a little of the Belgian crust punks HIATUS, and sometimes Swedish hardcore/punk legends ANTI CIMEX. They simply reminds me of the 90s crust and hardcore/punk scene, but with more metal then.
No matter what we call RAGEHAMMER's music, it's delivered without any compromises. It's rather fuck you than excuse me. And this is really good stuff! So no matter if you like black/thrash metal or crust and hardcore/punk, you have to check this out.
Published: Sept. 13, 2020

REACH: Motherland - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
Hell tango? Odd beat for being a hard rocker anyway. But o.k., now this is rather alternative rock, and not really good old hard rock. It's also pretty modern and almost progressive. It might not suck completely, but it's hardly a hit song either.
This is the third single this year from this Swedish trio, who formed in 2012. It's taken from an upcoming album, which seems to have been postponed due to you know what.
Published: Sept. 11, 2020

MEGASCAVENGER: Songs in the Key of Madness - Album
(Xtreem Music)
This band is hardly reinventing the wheel of death. They are simply doing exactly what you can expect from an old school death metal band from Sweden. So if that's what you are looking for, then this is absolutely a band for you.
The band is led by the well-known Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER, PUTREVORE, RIBSPREADER etc), and this is their fifth album. MEGASCAVENGER blend heavy and catchy death metal, like GRAVE and ILLDISPOSED, with a hint of gore, like EXHUMED, IMPETIGO, GHOUL, FRIGHTMARE and BLOOD FREAK.
The album also features guest vocals and guitar solos from members of MACHETAZO, CROPSY MANIAC, WOMBBATH, FONDLECORPSE and PAGANIZER.
Published: Sept. 10, 2020

Neal Morse: Sola Gratia - Album
(InsideOut Music - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
Another progressive rock soup, with all kinds of magical herbs. There's as much as 14 tracks here, but many of them are pretty short things, while others are a little longer, so I guess it's o.k. for a change. And some of all these songs are actually very good, so why complain? Just listen and enjoy the ride.
American multi-instrumentalist and singer Neal Morse should be no stranger if you like progressive rock and metal. Among the bands he has been playing with over the years are SPOCK'S BEARD and TRANSATLANTIC, which he left (yes both) in 2002 to focus on a solo career instead, sometimes under the name The NEAL MORSE BAND.
"Sola Gratia" seems to be a concept album based on the apostle Paul. And according to Neal himself, if you love albums like "Sola Scriptura" and "Question Mark", then you are really going to love this. And this might just be part 1..
The album was recorded "virtually" in April 2020 at the height of the Coronavirus lockdown, with long term collaborators Mike Portnoy (drums) and Randy George (bass).
Published: Sept. 9, 2020

NAPALM DEATH: Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Sept. 18, 2020)
Napalm Death at Metaltown
Actually I don't really know what I should think about the new album from grindcore pioneers NAPALM DEATH. Is it really grindcore anymore? Sure, it's often fast, but not as fast as it used to be. It all sounds a bit different. You could say that it's more experimental nowadays than it was before, which end up in a wild mixture of metal, hardcore, punk and even some alternative music.
The songs I like best is the more straight and fast tracks, which the majority of the songs are. But I don't really know if I like the few post-punk songs that they have here.
They obviously go their own way, and have their own ideas about how to do songs. And I let them have that freedom after almost 40 years of service.
Published: Sept. 9, 2020

TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Ambush - Album reissue
(Mighty Music - Release date: Sept. 18, 2020)
"Ambush" was recorded in 2012, and it was the last recording with guitarist Dean Robertson. It was also the first album to feature current bass player Gav Gray. The album has now been remastered, and also features 4 bonus tracks (1 studio outtake, 2 live tracks and 1 demo song).
This is a really strong album with lots of great songs, so if you don't have this album already, then you better check it out.
Published: Sept. 9, 2020

DEMOLIZER: Thrashmageddon - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
Danish thrashers DEMOLIZER are ready to release their debut album, which is a powerful and crushing experience. It's hard and fast, but these songs are also full of riffs and hooks. If you like SLAYER, EXODUS, MUNICIPAL WASTE and similar, then this is something for you. Simply good songs worth to remember.
The band have previously released a EP, "Ghoul", in 2018, and have already been on a tour in Russia. With this release it's time for the rest of the world to discover them. So do that!
Published: Sept. 9, 2020

The DEATH WHEELERS: Divine Filth - Album
(RidingEasy Records - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
Instrumental psych/heavy rock inspired by instrumental rock, proto-metal, punk and funk. Or the soundtrack to a fictional bikesploitation flick that never was, made on the border between MOTÖRHEAD, The CRAMPS and Dick Dale. It's raw and powerful, and very riff-based compositions that they have made. Something that you can smoke illegal substances to (like they seems to like to do).
The DEATH WHEELERS is a Canadian quartet, and this is their second adventure.
Published: Sept. 9, 2020

DARK RITES: The Dark Hymns - Album
(Brutal Records - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
Fast and hard, but yet melodic, death metal is what we get from this trio. And this is definitely not bad at all. Mainly just good songs on this album. So you just have to give this a try.
The band was established in 2016, and the members are all from different countries - UK, USA and Canada. "The Dark Hymns" seems to be their third album, which is also the first recording with new singer Kole Cook (aka Kole Blooded).
Published: Sept. 9, 2020

ABSTRACT SYMPHONY featuring Mark Boals: The Hidden Empire - Single
(RFL Records)
A symphonic and neo-classical metal song that last for as long as 7 minutes and 17 seconds. Absolutely not bad, as it reminds me a little of RAINBOW actually, but also Yngwie Malmsteen of course. And somehow they succeed to not bore me to death, even though this song is pretty long.
ABSTRACT SYMPHONY comes from Valparaíso, Chile. "The Hidden Empire" is the first single from their upcoming album, "Tartaria: The Empire Hidden From History", which is set to be released later this year. This song also features a guest apperance from former Yngwie Malmsteen singer Mark Boals, which is doing a really good job.
Published: Sept. 9, 2020

WINTER'S VERGE: The Ballad Of James Tig - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
WINTER'S VERGE is said to be one of Cyprus' most successful metal bands. They have since their formation in 2005 released 4 albums and 3 EPs. Their music is a powerful mix of epic, melodic and symphonic metal. But let's call it power metal to make it easy. It's often bombastic anyway.
It looks like it has taken them 3 years to complete this album, but then it's also said to be their most ambitious project to date. And ambitious it is indeed, but also very good. I think that this could be something for all kinds of different metal fans, but first of all those who like symphonic metal, power metal and melodic metal.
Published: Sept. 8, 2020

Tina Schüssler: Verwirrte Welt - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
This is actually a very boring album. Hard and heavy guitars are mixed with vocals in German, but they don't have any good melodies, and therfor not 1 single good song on the whole damned record. 13 tracks of this is way too much for me.
The music is some kind of mixture of rock and hard rock, sometimes with a touch of pop thrown in.
Tina Schüssler had a career as a kickboxer, which she has oficially ended. Since 2018 she is a singer instead.
Published: Sept. 8, 2020

PUTRID OFFAL: Sicknesses Obsessions - Album
(XenoKorp - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a hell of a ride.
The first track is a pretty useless intro, but after that all hell's breaking loose. Cool sound though. They have that fat and heavy death metal sound, but play pretty fast. Some parts of these songs are actually grindcore.
PUTRID OFFAL has been around for nearly 3 deacades, so they are veterans in the extreme metal underground. It seems like it took them 25 years before their first full length album, "Mature Necropsy", finally came out in 2015. That's already 5 years ago, but now their second full length, "Sicknesses Obsessions", is ready to be unleashed.
If you like it extreme, but still with a melody, then this is something for you.
Published: Sept. 7, 2020

NIGHT: High Tides, Distant Skies - Album
(The Sign Records - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
Night live somewhere
Swedish band NIGHT started out as a JUDAS PRIEST and SAXON worshiping band, which you can hear on their debut from 2012. But they have now transformed into a classic rock act instead, with loads of proto-metal influences. This is guitar-based and timeless hard rock with lots of melody. And it sounds like it's influenced by THIN LIZZY, DIRE STRAITS, 70s SCORPIONS and 70s BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. But then they put their own twist on the whole thing, and out comes their own little sound. So in the end I think that NIGHT just sounds like NIGHT.
This is an excellent album! I really like these 9 tracks. And so should you.
Published: Sept. 7, 2020

SVEDERNA: Härd - Album
(Carnal Records)
This is raw and aggressive, just like black metal should be. But they combine that with melodies, so it's not just a wall of noise. They have also choosen to sing in Swedish, which is a good language for this kind of music. And the lyrical themes deal with the imminent fall of the world around us and the necessity for a return to a natural way of life. So no satanic macho shit here.
"Härd" is currently available on CD and digital, but a vinyl release is planned for later this year.
Published: Sept. 6, 2020

PAIN OF SALVATION: Panther - Album
(InsideOut Music)
Progressive electro metal or progressive pop? Because that's what this sounds like to me anyway. Very soft and melodic metal, with lots of zynth/keyboards, and pretty technical, and sometimes atmospheric. But the title track is suddenly nu metal. Seems to be another odd band.
This Swedish band are obviously veterans by now, as they started back in 1991. This is their 11th album, which is a concept piece that delves into the conflicts and contradictions between so-called normal people and those who are wired entirely differently.
PAIN OF SALVATION are said to be at the forefront of the progressive rock and metal scene, so they are probably doing this very good according to those who know. So take my opinion with a pinch of salt.
Published: Sept. 6, 2020

OVER THE VOIDS: Hadal - Album
(Nordvis Produktion)
I came home angry (nothing unusual) and put this record on. Felt a little bit better for a while at least.
This is a 1-man band with somebody called The Fall (MEDICO PESTE, MGLA live, OWLS WOODS GRAVES), who comes from Poland. Very good black metal with nice guitar melodies is what we get from this person. And the main influence here is probably the bands from the 90s, but there's a good balance between atmosphere and aggression. There's also passages of clean vocals and acoustic guitars.
This is simply damned good stuff, and you have to check it out.
Published: Sept. 6, 2020

The OBSESSED: Live at Big Dipper - Album
(Blues Funeral Recordings)
The OBSESSED formed in 1980, which is 40 years ago. They built a bridge between metal heads and punks with their music, which was crunchy, sludgy and dissonant, but yet hooky, American doom.
"Live at Big Dipper" presents the trio at their early peak in 1983, burning hot from sharing stages with IRON CROSS, DEAD BOYS, SCREAM, The EXPLOITED, BLUE CHEER and DEATH ROW, not to mention a near miss supporting MOTÖRHEAD. It's not the best sound quality on this live recording, but I have heard worse. It's probably straight from the mixing board or something like that. Hardly a professional recording anyway, as it's very raw and noisey. But I guess it has its own little charm somehow.
We also get a handful of demo recordings from the early days, which has better sound quality.
Well, if you like it heavy and much guitar, then this is something for you. But if you don't like the bootleg sound, then you better stay away from this.
Published: Sept. 6, 2020

(Metalville - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
This collective is led by guitarist Florian Zepf, who has succeeded to convince some of his international prog music colleagues that it was a good idea to work together on this album. Among these gentlemen are people like Aquiles Priester (ANGRA, Tony MacAlpine), Conner Green (HAKEN), Kevin Moore (DREAM THEATER, O.S.I., CHROMA KEY) and Luis Conte (Phil Collins). And as a very special guest, Derek Sherinian (SONS OF APOLLO, DREAM THEATER) play all keyboards. Vocals is handled by the Serbian singer Vladimir Lalic (ORGANIZED CHAOS).
Well, as you probably have figured out already, this is another very ambitious project. And the music that they have created together is also very ambitious. Progressive metal with all the typical ingredients, you could say. So pepole who like that should absolutely check this out, because you will probably like this a lot.
Published: Sept. 5, 2020

OCEANS OF SLUMBER: Oceans Of Slumber - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Sept. 4, 2020)
This album last for as long as 1 hour and 11 and a half minutes. It's said to redefine the band's sound. And I think I'm willing to agree, because this is a progressive hybrid of all and nothing - doom, extreme metal, melodic metal, pop, and then some.. Sometimes it's melancholy, sometimes heavy, sometimes extreme, sometimes dramatically, sometimes symphonic, and so on. You get all emotional expressions that exist (more or less).
This is not an album for those who want straight rock songs with hit potential, but for those who want it to be more ambitious.
Published: Sept. 5, 2020

MAD SIN: Unbreakable - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Sept. 11, 2020)
It's 10 years since these crazy Germans released their last album, "Burn And Rise". But now they are back and ready to release a new album again.
The story begins in Berlin in 1987 though, which is the year when MAD SIN was formed. They released 14 albums and 8 EPs until 2010, when it was time for a break.
Their music is mainly psycho/punkabilly, but there is some other influences here too (like country and The MADNESS for example). So sure, there's variation at least, but it always sounds like MAD SIN, and they have some good songs here. But 16 tracks?! That's too much at once! I guess they were a little too hungry after all the years of not playing together.
Their music might sound a little crazy, but this is professionals who seems to know exactly what they are doing. And their lyrics always have a serious message, so don't let that scare you away.
Published: Sept. 5, 2020

L.A. WITCH: Play With Fire - Album
(Suicide Squeeze)
I have been writing about this female L.A. trio a few times lately, as I have reviewed their singles. But now it's time for the album where those singles comes from. And well, this is not a bad album.
L.A. WITCH have their own special sound, which (as I have said before) reminds me of garage rock. And what makes me think of garage rock is mainly because their sound is drenched in reverb. But it's obviously more than just that here. Sometimes it's almost surf rock, and sometimes almost punk rock. Add a pinch of psych rock to that, and there you have it. You can hardly complain about too little variation here anyway.
Something that there isn't that much variation in is the vocals. More or less the same "I don't care" voice all the time. Some more action once in a while would not have hurt.
Published: Sept. 4, 2020

KÖRGULL THE EXTERMINATOR: Sharpen Your Spikes - Album
(Xtreem Music - Release date: Sept. 9, 2020)
This little band was started in 2004 by Joe Bastard as a side project of his main black metal 1-man band AKERBELTZ, as he wanted to explore the thrash side of black metal. But the project was left aside until 2007, when he crossed his paths with Mark Wild, and together with Lilith on vocals (and Drizzt from the band EMPTY as session bass) recorded 4 songs for their first split in their garage/rehearsal room. During that rehearsal the 3 of them showed chemistry and started to compose new songs. They recruited Steel Maniac as bass player and was finally a band. He has since then been replaced by the producer Javi Félez (aka Javi Bastard, from GRAVEYARD, TEITANBLOOD, BALMOG etc). They have also added a second guitar player to the lineup, Ghorth (DECAPITATED CHRIST, ONIROPHAGUS).
"Sharpen Your Spikes" is their fifth album, but they have also released a few split releases with various bands through the years.
This is raw and dirty speed/black/thrash metal, with influences from bands like DESASTER, DARKTHRONE, VENOM, BATHORY, SODOM, MOTÖRHEAD and VOIVOD. Black metal with punk attitude you could say. And I like what I hear here. This is absolutely not bad at all.
Published: Sept. 4, 2020

(RFL Records)
This is the first single from their upcoming 7th album, "Heroes Never Die", which will be released on October 30.
CORNERS OF SANCTUARY comes from Philadelphia, U.S.A., and they play a mixture of US metal and European heavy metal. Sometimes it's good, and sometimes not so good. This song is however among the good ones, so it might actually be worth checking out for you.
Published: Sept. 3, 2020

BURIAL REMAINS: Spawn Of Chaos - Album
(Raw Skull Recordz - Release date: Sept. 5, 2020)
The Dutch death metal scene have had some really good bands during the years. 1 that I really like is ASPHYX. And here's another great band, BURIAL REMAINS, who deliver some old school death just the way we like it. It's down-tuned and heavy, but also aggressive and raw. And there's even some nice guitar melodies here and there.
BURIAL REMAINS features members of FLESHCRAWL, GRIM FATE etc. Their debut album, "Trinity of Deception", was released in July 2019. They originally started in December 2016 as MIASMA OF GUILT, but it didn't work as planned, so they parted ways with each other in 2017. But in the end of the same year they decided to continue with the band, but now under the new name BURIAL REMAINS instead.
And here we are in 2020, and their second attack is ready to be unleashed.
Published: Sept. 3, 2020

(Self released)
This BAND OF BROTHERS comes from Sweden, and play a melodic kind of rock. The members comes from bands like ANGELINE and HION MARTELL. And as the title says, this is their second album. Their first, self titled, album was released 5 years ago, and was followed by a EP in 2016.
Most of these 8 songs are good stuff, so there's not much to complain about. And I don't have anything else to add..
Published: Sept. 3, 2020

AIRFORCE: Strike Hard - Album
(Pitch Black Records - Release date: Sept. 4, 2020)
Here's yet another band who play classic 80s heavy metal. And this could be something for those of you who worship bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, QUEENSRŸCHE etc.
AIRFORCE began when a band called E.L.-34 split up in the mid-80s. Chop Pitman (guitar) and Tony Hatton (bass) decided to form a new band, and found, thanks to Steve Harris (IRON MAIDEN), drummer Doug Sampson (ex-IRON MAIDEN). The band did concerts for 11 years with various vocalists, before the members went seperate ways. Tony continued with the band, but with other musicians. In 2016 the original members decided that it was time for a reunion. A few singers has once again come and left, but the singer on this album is Flavio Lino. And former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di'Anno is doing a guest apperance as well.
Well, this is really good stuff, so you simply check this out and that's it.
Published: Sept. 3, 2020

YOHANNANS: Punk's Not Dead EP - EP
(Y art & label)
The Bristles at Henriksberg in GBG
Why 2 old punks decided to play something that sounds like old electronic/zynth music might be a good question. And it might also seems to be a little funny that they declare that "Punk's Not Dead", when they don't even play pure punk themselves. But they actually criticize today's punks in that song - Both the old and the new generation.
When they add some electric guitar, it almost reminds me of ONKEL KÅNKEL, even though this is much more serious/politically correct. We have songs about being alienated, human kind and even a tribute to the Danish musician Kate Pussi (LOST KIDS).
The band was started in the end of 2018 in Landskrona, Sweden by Svegis and Puma, both from The BRISTLES. The name YOHANNANS is a tribute to Tim Yohannan (founder of Maximum Rock n Roll magazine). They have during their short existance as a band released several EPs and singles, as well as 1 album (it's all available on their Bandcamp page).
I might not have been so impressed by any of these 4 songs the first time I heard them. But now that I have heard this EP a few times, it's actually not so bad after all. Try it.
Published: Sept. 2, 2020

SISTER: Vengeance Ignited - Single
(Flick Records)
Here's the second single from their upcoming 4th album. And this Swedish band really knows how to deliver a fist in the face, even though it's in the shape of a song. Hard rock/metal in the same style as HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and possibly CRASHDÏET, but this time with just a little bit more bite. I like it. And so should you..
Published: Sept. 2, 2020

(Icons Creating Evil Art - Release date: Sept. 4, 2020)
Swedish metal band SERPENT OMEGA released a self titled album in 2013, which sold out in just a few months. Since then it has been silent. But after 7 years they are now back with their second album, simply titled "II".
This band mixes a headstrong drink of sludge, doom, metal and crust punk. Most of these 7 tracks are heavy stuff, even though there's an explosion here and there once in a while. They paint dark, anxious and barren landscapes. There's despair, hopelessness and rage. And that might sound very depressive to you, but I can promise you that the music that they create is actually really good.
They have their own little sound, and are therfor hard to put in just 1 specific genre. But I would guess that if you like it hard and heavy with a touch of crust, then you will find this band very interesting.
Published: Sept. 2, 2020

The HAWKINS: Silence Is A Bomb - Album
(The Sign Records - Release date: Sept. 4, 2020)
Swedish band The HAWKINS play a catchy, melodic and energetic kind of rock. And my opinion is that they have many good songs among these 12 tracks. This will make your speakers vibrate of ecstasy, so you have to give them a try of course.
The group started in March 2013, and their influences seems to come from classic rock as well as Swedish rockers like The HIVES and IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC. During the early years they released some EPs and singles, and played live everywhere they could. In October 2017 they released their debut album, "Ain't Rock N Roll", which was followed by a European tour with CORRODED in early 2018.
Published: Sept. 1, 2020

(Self released)
First of all, there seems to be more than 1 band called HANOVER FIST. However, this trio are from New Hanover County and Wilmington NC, U.S.A. They originally formed in 1996 and released 2 albums in the first 4 years. After the passing of drummer Jamie Mintz, the remaning members went seperate ways. But in 2016 they decided to reform with the new drummer Eric Stahle.
Now their third album is here, which gives us both hard rock and heavy metal, with influences from both the past and the present. They give us as much as 14 tracks, which is too much at once. Pretty good though, I can't deny that. All songs doesn't really work though.
Some of the better songs are "Jukebox Dancer", "Captain" and "Risky Business".
But why they had to destroy a cover of BLACK SABBATH's "Sweat Leaf" by mixing it with some hip hop song called "Peace Pipe" is a very good question. It's just a few lines though, I might add. And that's not the only cover here. They also play "Black Out" by SCORPIONS.
Published: Sept. 1, 2020

FUZZSTAINZ: Sick! Sick! Sick! - 7" EP
(Beluga Records)
The FUZZSTAINS is a trio from southern Sweden, and consist of members from The BRANDED. They play a primitive kind of garage rock, which is pretty raw and dirty in its sound. But this is really cool stuff, and very good, so you simply have to check them out at once.
This is their debut release, which features 2 songs: "Sick! Sick! Sick!" and "Thinking 'bout Me". I hope to hear more from this band soon.
Published: Sept. 1, 2020

ZAKK SABBATH: Vertigo - Album
(Magnetic Eye Records - Release date: Sept. 4, 2020)
Believe it or not, but it's actually 50 years since BLACK SABBATH's self titled debut album was released. And the American tribute band ZAKK SABBATH - featuring Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY), Blasko (Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie) and Joey Castillo (DANZIG, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) - celebrate this by recording the whole album. And the reason why they have titled it "Vertigo" is because the album was released on Vertigo Records.
This is of course a legendary album, that changed the whole world of music when it was released on Friday the 13th in 1970. This was goodnight hippie and hello darkness, you could say. Sure, there had been heavy bands before, but nothing as heavy as BLACK SABBATH, and especially the song "Black Sabbath".
ZAKK SABBATH's version of this milestone is pretty true to the original album, so don't expect any surprises. They even recorded it live, just like BLACK SABBATH did. So yes, this is good stuff of course. But you can stop searching for a digital version, because this album will only be released on CD, CD/DVD and LP.
Published: Aug. 31, 2020

DESOLATOR: Sermon Of Apathy - Album
(Black Lion Records - Release date: Sept. 4, 2020)
From Stockholm, Sweden comes DESOLATOR, who formed in 2009. A city well-known for many of the classic death metal acts of the 90s. And this band seems to follow in the same foot steps, even though they also seems to take inspiration from the American scene. And they are among those bands who have a good mixture of the fast and the heavy, which I like. Yes, this is good stuff my friend.
The final track, "The Great Law of the Dead", features Oliver Palmquist (PHIDION) and the legendary Karl Sanders (NILE).
DESOLATOR started with a demo, "Gravefeast", in 2010, which was followed by a split with DARK REVIVAL and MASS HUMAN PYRE in 2011. Their first full length album, "Unearthly Monument", came out in 2013. And in 2016 the EP "Spawn of Misanthropy" was released (re-released on CD in 2018).
Published: Aug. 31, 2020

DEAD LORD: Surrender - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Sept. 4, 2020)
Dead Lord at Sticky Fingers in GBG
Swedish hard rockers DEAD LORD has already come to their 4th album, and it sounds as usual more or less. In other words just as it should when it comes to this band. These guys live, eat, shit and sleep rock music. But yet it's a little hard for me to actually describe their sound for somebody who have not heard them before. But I would guess that fans of guitar-based good old catchy hard rock from the 70s and the 80s, with twin-guitars and solos, will like this band a lot. And you can probably get the feeling that they are trying to do new classics for the classic rock genre.
Good stuff for simple rockers who need a relief when they come home from work.
Published: Aug. 31, 2020

OLDFASHIONED IDEAS: Skallen In I Väggen - Album
(Contra Records)
OLDFASHIONED IDEAS is like a crossing between the Swedish bands GATANS LAG and KÖRSBÄRSFETTERA. Simply good street punk in Swedish. And this is actually their first album with lyrics in Swedish. On their 5 previous albums they sang in English.
Their songs are melody-driven, but at the same time angry, and with a harsh voice. There's also female backup vocals, as well as trumpet and saxophone.
The band formed in 2009, and their first album, "We're In This Shit Together", was released in 2010.
Well, this is absolutely worth checking out if you like true punk.
Published: Aug. 30, 2020

ABE AND HIS BABE: You're Not Wrong - Single
(Self released)
ABE AND HIS BABE is a Swedish 1-man band with Albin Samuelsson. He describe his music as alternative rock with influences from the 90s rock and punk. And I guess that is a pretty correct description. This song is not so bad at all, so I think that you should give him a try at least.
He has previously released the single "Never Around", which I think is a little bit better actually. So, check out that song too.
..and that's all I have to say about that.
Published: Aug. 30, 2020

RAMOS: My Many Sides - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
This is the debut solo album from guitarist Josh Ramos (HARDLINE, The STORM, TWO FIRES), which also features guest vocals from people like Eric Martin (Mr. BIG), Danny Vaughn (TYKETTO), Harry Hess (HAREM SCAREM), Joe Retta (HEAVEN & EARTH), Terry Ilous (XYZ), John Bisaha (The BABYS), Tony Harnell (ex-TNT), and the last recording from the late Tony Mills (ex-SHY, TNT).
Just that should make you interested, if you like melodic rock then. And interested you should be, because Mr. Ramos also have some really good songs here and not just the right singers. Simply good stuff.
Published: Aug. 29, 2020

LIONVILLE: Magic Is Alive - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
LIONVILLE started in 2010, and this is their 4th album. Their music is soft melodic rock/AOR, which fans of TOTO, Richard Marx, GIANT, BAD ENGLISH, SURVIVOR and BOULEVARD should like a lot.
They are nor better or worse than any other band in this genre, so you should absolutely give them a try if that's what you like.
I don't have much else to say about this though, as I can't hear anything that is extra good. Luckily there's nothing that is extra bad either.
Published: Aug. 29, 2020

FORTUNE: The Gun's Still Smokin' Live - CD/DVD
(Frontiers Music Srl)
After the release of their album "II" in 2019, they went to Milan, Italy for an apperance at the Frontiers Rock Festival on April 27. This was filmed and recorded, and has now been released as "The Gun's Still Smokin' Live".
They have many good songs here, but 2 of my favorites must be "Don't Say You Love Me" and "What A Fool I've Been". Nothing is bad though, so this is of course worth checking out.
As you might know, FORTUNE released their self titled debut album in 1985. After that it was silent for many years, but in 2016 they were finally back again.
Now I'm waiting for their third studio album.
Published: Aug. 29, 2020

DUKES OF THE ORIENT: Freakshow - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Another progressive rock band that reminds me of GENESIS and some of the solo stuff from some of that band's members. But also several other bands and artists in this genre. It's very catchy and melodic, and actually not so bad. So this could absolutely be worth a try even though you might not be into progressive music. I think that fans of melodic rock will also like this actually.
DUKES OF THE ORIENT is a collaboration between vocalist John Payne (ex-ASIA, GPS) with keyboardist Erik Norlander (LAST IN LINE, Lana Lane, ROCKET SCIENTISTS), and this is their second album.
Published: Aug. 29, 2020

BLACK ROSE MAZE: Black Rose Maze - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Rosa Laricchiuta is a singer, songwriter, and performer from Montreal, Quebec. In 2015 she auditioned for the third season of "La Voix", Quebec's version of the popular TV show "The Voice". It was a succees, so Rosa then released 1 album in the Quebec market before beginning work on her first English language album in 2016. After that she joined the popular American band TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA for their annual mega tour of the United States, and got signed thanks to her bandmates.
BLACK ROSE MAZE is her own project, which gives us driving hard rock with a powerful female voice. The sound is modern and melodic, but this is absolutely not bad. Rosa have many good songs on this album.
Jeff Scott Soto is doing a guest apperance on "Laws Of Attraction".
Published: Aug. 29, 2020

ARCTIC RAIN: The One - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
What we have here is described as "a new melodic rock sensation from Sweden". The goal for the band is to write songs with strong melodic rock vibes based around the type of tasteful instrumental harmonies typical for a lot of bands in the 80s and 90s. A revival of sorts, but with a modern touch, both melodically and for the overall sound.
Among their influences are well-known acts like WHITESNAKE, Mr. BIG, FOREIGNER, TALISMAN, DEF LEPPARD, TOTO, TREAT, DOKKEN and JOURNEY among many others. So I guess that you are starting to get the picture now. And this is really good stuff! They deliver excellent songs, and really seems to know exactly what they are doing. So you simply can't miss this!
Published: Aug. 29, 2020

METZ: Hail Taxi - Single
(Sub Pop)
This is the second single from their upcoming album, "Atlas Vending", which will be released on October 9. A little bit better than the first single, "A Boat To Drown In", actually. That song was a bit weird and way too long. But this song is more like noisey punk rock, even though it's pretty kind. This song could also have been shorter, even though it's just 4 and a half minutes. But otherwise o.k.
"'Hail Taxi' is about looking back. The lyrics deal with the idea of reconciling or coming to terms with who you were and who you've become", says frontman Alex Edkins about this song.
Published: Aug. 28, 2020

L.A. WITCH: True Believers - Single
(Suicide Squeeze)
There seems to be some more punk attitude in this song, which I like. So there might be some hope after all when it comes to their new album, "Play With Fire", which is out now (have not heard it yet though, but will soon listen to it and let you know what I think).
Like I have said before, this Calfornian rock trio blend the psychedelic 60s and early punk rock of the 70s with the art rock of the 80s. This gives them a special sound, even though they most of all reminds me of good old garage rock.
If you are going to try just 1 song with this band, then try this one. O.k.?
Published: Aug. 28, 2020

GHOST AVENUE: Even Angels Fail - Album
(Self released)
GHOST AVENUE comes from the suburbs of Oslo, Norway, and the band was formed in 2002. They play classic/traditional hard rock/heavy metal, and deliver a mix of melodic and catchy songs with hard riffs, pounding bass, screaming solos, twin-guitars, hard-hitting drums and powerful vocals. The inspiration comes from various sources, but the main influence is from the golden era of the 80s hardrock and heavy metal.
Now it might sound like this is yet another band who try to sound like something from the past, but they have their own sound at least, which will fit both the old and the new generation.
"Even Angels Fail" is their 4th album. And it's a pretty good album, so maybe you should give them a try?
Published: Aug. 28, 2020

The RIVEN: Windbreaker/Moving On - 7" Single
(The Sign Records - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
The RIVEN released their self titled debut album last year, and now they are back with a new 7" EP in a limited edition of 500 copies (the first single, "Moving On", is available digitally since May 15).
When I reviewed their album I wrote that they makes me think of Swedish bands like SPIDERS, BLUES PILLS and GRAVEYARD, but also something more emotional with THIN LIZZY. I'm not so sure that I hear the same thing this time, even though they are still influenced by the bands of the 70s. It's rocking and it's catchy as hell. We get 2 excellent songs of hard rock. This is simply a must!
Published: Aug. 27, 2020

ACID TEARS: Drowning - Single
(Self released)
Looks like this single was released about a month ago. But anyway..
They start very soft, then heavy guitars, and then some screaming before it's melodic again. And after that it's mainly a melodic rock song of the modern kind. I guess it fits better on some pop nerd's radio, because the only good parts are the heavy guitars here and there.
ACID TEARS is a trio from Zimbabwe, who was formed in 2015, even though they wasn't fully active until years later.
Published: Aug. 27, 2020

TULKAS: The Beginning Of The End - EP
(Noble Demon - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
TULKAS comes from Mexico and has been around for 10 years. During that time they have released 2 studio albums.
What we have here is a new 5-track EP, which features 4 own songs and a cover of METALLICA's "Shortest Straw". It's said that they have "renewed their classic thrash metal sound and turned into the new wave of thrash metal, with more aggressive, fast and technical compositions". Well, they are doing a really good job here anyway. No doubt about that. These guys are professionals.
This EP can be seen as an appetizer for a new full length.
Published: Aug. 26, 2020

KENZINER: The Last Horizon - Album reissue
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
When KENZINER had released their second album, "The Prophecies", in 1999, it took a whole 15 years before their next album, "The Last Horizon", was released in 2014. And that last album is now being re-released with new artwork and remastered.
The music that this Finnish boys play is a melodic kind of neo-classical/progressive power metal. They might not always make it easy for themselves, but they have plenty of good songs among these 10 tracks, so there's nothing to complain about as far as I can hear.
Published: Aug. 26, 2020

DIAMOND DOGS: Weekend Monster - Album reissue
(Wild Kingdom Records - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
With this album DIAMOND DOGS have made the perfect start of a party night. It's still damned good rock n roll and British R&B that you just must love. This band really know how to make great rock songs. It's catchy and full of passion.
This album actually consist of 2 EPs. Just a few months before the making of their second album, "As Your Greens Turn Brown", DIAMOND DOGS had a pre-session in the same studio. Those recordings resulted in the 5-song EP "Among The Non Believers" (2000), and it was meant to work as a teaser for the album. Then in 2001 the group for the second time met up with producer Tomas Skogsberg, and made the EP "Shortplayer" (2001). These 2 EPs have now been put together as a longplayer named "Weekend Monster".
This Swedish rock n roll band has released lots of records through the years. And as I have said earlier, their 10 first years (1993-2003) are currently being reissued. This will include 5 albums plus all singles and EPs. That's a lot of rock n roll. But this is my favorite band from Sweden in this genre right now, so that's hardly a problem for me anyway.
Published: Aug. 26, 2020

Tony Mitchell: Church of a Restless Soul - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
The first song, which is the title track, is a combination of gospel and rock. The rest of the songs is simply melodic rock. And sure, this is not so bad. He might not do anything unique, but it doesn't always have to be unique. As long as it's good, it's good enough for me. And this is good (in case you didn't get that).
Who is Tony Mitchell then? Well, he is probably best known for being the singer/songwriter of 90s melodic rock band KISS OF THE GYPSY. But he has also sung and/or played guitar for Rick Wakeman, Alice Cooper, Jon Anderson, ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, and Tony Hadley & IT BITES. He has also been writing and recording for various other bands and artists, as well as TV and media. Some other bands that he has been a part of are KINGDOM OF DEADMEN and DIRTY WHITE BOYZ.
Musicians on this new album include people like Danny Vaughn (TYKETTO), Tim Manford (DANTE FOX), Neil Ogden, Paul Hume (DEMON & LAWLESS, DIRTY WHITE BOYZ), Nigel Bailey (BAILEY, 3 LIONS, DIRTY WHITE BOYZ), The ROGUES GALLERY ROCK CHOIR, Shawn Charvette and Josh Tabbie Williams (MIDNITE CITY).
Published: Aug. 25, 2020

TANNA: Storm in Paradise - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
Tapani "Tanna" Tikkanen is a Finnish man who launched the group TANNA in the mid-80s, and they released a few albums who seems to have been succeesful in Finland. The band broke up in 1989, but reunited again in 1993 with a different lineup, which just lasted for 2 years.
Now TANNA is back once again with a new album. But it's once again also new members, and even a new sound they say (well, I have not heard any of the previous albums). And that sound is melodic hard rock with pop hooks, that often reminds me of the 80s - Somewhere between Bryan Adams and BON JOVI, and possibly the softer stuff with THIN LIZZY. There's many good songs among these 13 tracks, but a small disadvantage is that a few of the songs seems to have too many verses, which makes the chorus repeat unnecessarily much.
Published: Aug. 25, 2020

STORMBURST: Highway To Heaven - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
Many of these songs reminds me of 80s SCORPIONS and similar. Very melodic (hard) rock with strong choruses, and sometimes on the border to AOR. This is a band that you should check out if that sounds like something for you, because they have many good songs here.
STORMBURST comes from Dalarna in Sweden, and formed in July 2014. The band have members from SIX FEET UNDER (the Swedish hard rock band, not the American death metal band), STEAM, KEEN HUE and ETERNAL OF SWEDEN. Their debut album, "Raised On Rock", was released in late May 2017. And after 3 years, their second album is finally here.
Published: Aug. 25, 2020

MENTALIST: Freedom Of Speech - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
MENTALIST comes from Saarbrücken, Germany, and was founded in 2018. Their music is melodic metal/power metal with a slightly progressive touch. Main influences are bands like IRON MAIDEN, HELLOWEEN and BLIND GUARDIAN (their former drummer, Thomen Stauch, play in this band).
Well, this is absolutely not bad at all. They have lots of great songs on this album, so you should absolutely give this a try. And especially if you are a big fan of the bands that they are influenced by. Then this is almost a must for you.
Daniel Heiman (ex-LOST HORIZON) is doing a duet on the song "Belief", and Oliver Palotai (KAMELOT) is doing a guest apperance on keyboards on all tracks but "Whispering Winds".
Published: Aug. 25, 2020

(Seeing Red Records - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
This is not the German thrash metal band INTÖXICATED, but a thrash/death metal band from Florida that pre-dated the Germans nearly 20 years. The Florida band released 3 demos in the early 90s, but now they are back again with a new EP.
INTOXICATED deliver 6 hard and heavy, but not slow, songs. And this is definitely not bad at all. You have to give these guys a try.
Not much else to say..
Published: Aug. 24, 2020

OV SHADOWS: I Djävulens Avbild - Album
(Hypnotic Dirge Records)
OV SHADOWS presents a raw and intense record. This is just the way black metal is supposed to be. No symphonic crap here, and the atmosphere is cold and hard. Yet there's room for melodies and hooks here and there. I like what I hear. This is good stuff.
OV SHADOWS has previously released 1 EP (2016) and 1 album (2018). The band comes from Göteborg (aka Gothenburg), Sweden, which is a city that's more well-known for melodic death metal. This is something totally different than that though.
All lyrics are in Swedish.
Published: Aug. 24, 2020

NONEXIST: Like The Fearless Hunter - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
NONEXIST was formed in 2000 by Johan Reinholdz (DARK TRANQUILLITY guitarist), who soon recruited vocalist Johan Liiva (HEARSE, ARCH ENEMY, FURBOWL, CARNAGE) and drummer Matte Modin (RAISED FIST, DARK FUNERAL, DEFLEASHED etc). And with no rehearsing at all they entered the studio in November 2001 to record their debut album, "Deus Deceptor", which was released in May 2002. After that the members went seperate ways and did other things. In 2011 Reinholdz and Liiva teamed up again for a second album, "From My Cold Dead Hands", which was released in November 2012.
The Johan boys continued to work together until November 2015, when Liiva quit the band and Reinholdz took over as the frontman (he also play guitar). This album seems to be a solo work though, but he is joined by FAITHFUL DARKNESS members Johan Aldgård (rythm guitar) and Joakim Strandberg (drums), as well as ANDROMEDA bassist Linus Abrahamson when the band play live.
"Like The Fearless Hunter" is the 4th album, which gives us a dark and violent kind of thrash/death metal. But there's lots of variation here, with everything from crushing heaviness to hardcore/punk-spiced violence via melodic thrash metal and progressive darkness. And I can hear many good songs on this album.
Published: Aug. 24, 2020

GRUMPYNATORS: Still Alive - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
Danish rockers GRUMPYNATORS consist of 4 guys with very diverse backgrounds - 2 of them comes from the rockabilly scene, while 1 comes from classic heavy metal and 1 from hard rock. This result in a sound that pick pieces from SOCIAL DISTORTION, MOTÖRHEAD and STRAY CATS among others. But I can also hear inspiration from country and punk rock here. And it sounds really good to me. It's catchy and melodic, but yet energetic. They have many good songs here, so you should absolutely check this out.
GRUMPYNATORS have been touring all over Europe, and this is their third album.
Published: Aug. 24, 2020

POEMA ARCANVS: Stardust Solitude - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
POEMA ARCANVS is a Chilean doom metal band who has been around since the 90s, and have through the years built up a legendary status in the underground. They were originally inspired by British bands like PARADISE LOST, ANATHAMA and MY DYING BRIDE, but have found their own heavy sound a long time ago.
"Stardust Solitude" is their 6th full length album, which gives us lots of variation and different moods - Sometimes very soft and calm, sometimes hard and heavy, sometimes almost progressive, sometimes just doom metal. These 8 tracks are approximately between 5 and a half to 9 minutes.
Published: Aug. 23, 2020

PERFECITIZEN: Humanipulation - Album
(L'inphantile Collective)
This is fast and extreme tech death/grind/blastcore from Czech Republic. They slaughter 8 tracks in approximately half an hour. And during that time they succeed to challenge the extreme metal's musical limits, by including elements of all kinds of other genres.
The band was born in 2011 when 3 members of ALIENATION MENTAL decided to continue as a trio under a new name. They quickly made a demo, "MMXI", and in 2013 their debut album, "Through", was released. And it has been rolling ever since, even though this is their first album in 5 years.
The CD is out now. LP will be released on October 10.
Published: Aug. 22, 2020

VENOM: Sons Of Satan - Album
(BMG - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
Nowadays VENOM are hardly seen as the most extreme band on the planet. But on this collection we get what is known as the earliest recordings with this legendary band. At that time I'm sure that this was seen as very extreme. And their Satanic lyrics probably helped a lot too.
Today they are seen as pioneers of black metal all over the world, but fact is that if you compare these songs with black metal of today, then this is pretty harmless metal/punk. Absolutely not bad though. And you can't deny that they have had a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general.
The first tracks are recorded in their rehearsal room at Church Hall in 1979, and features original singer Clive "Jesus Christ" Archer - A very raw and noisey experience. The rest is demo recordings from 1980 and 1 from 1983, and that sounds much better, but almost a little too kind though, haha. You have probably already heard all these songs in better versions on their albums, but if you're a true die hard fan, then you must have this of course.
This album was originally issued within the fat "In Nomine Satanas" deluxe vinyl box set last year, but it will now get its own stand-alone release on CD, double LP and digitally.
VENOM are by the way still alive today and fronted by original singer/bassist Cronos, and headline festivals all over the globe and continue to release new music once in a while.
Published: Aug. 21, 2020

MANTICORA: To Live To Kill To Live - Album
(ViciSolum Productions - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
MANTICORA was formed in 1997, and they play hard hitting progressive power metal with both epic and thrash elements. Their debut album, "Roots Of Eternity", was released in the summer of 1999. A few more records has been made since then, and a few members has left and been replaced with new faces during the years.
"To Live To Kill To Live" is the follow-up to 2018s "To Kill To Live To Kill", and also the second part of the horror story that this Danish band started on the last album.
To me they sound very ambitious. This is a really epic and majestic album. But it's not bad.
Published: Aug. 21, 2020

DREAMS OF AVALON: Beyond The Dream - Album
(Metalville - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
Melodic hard rock project DREAMS OF AVALON was brought to life by the Swedish guitarist/songwriter/producer Joachim Nordlund, who started his professional career as musician in 2003 with the foundation of ASTRAL DOORS (who seems to have a creative break). He has also been involved with bands like SKY OF RAGE and SunStrike.
Joachim has always been a big fan of 80s hard rock, and especially the more mellow pace with lots of keyboards, strong melodies and hooks. And all of that can be found on this album. This is brilliant! I think of Swedish bands like EUROPE and TREAT for example when I hear this, but also John Norum's (EUROPE) first solo album, "Total Control". You have to check this out!
Published: Aug. 21, 2020

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT: 45th Anniversary, Live in London - CD+DVD, 2LP, Blu-ray
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Yes, here's another live release from BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. This time, as the title says, from their 45th anniversary, which they celebrated in 2017 with a run of festival and headline dates across the UK and Europe. On this release they were captured at Stone Free Festival in London, UK on June 17.
They start with a performence of their entire debut album, and after that we get some classics, but also some very special songs. This album sounds really good, so there's nothing to complain about.
BLUE ÖYSTER CULT will release a brand new studio album, "The Symbol Remains", on October 9. It will be their first new studio album in something like 2 decades.
Published: Aug. 21, 2020

POWERMAN 5000: The Noble Rot - Album
(Cleopatra Records - Release date: Aug. 28, 2020)
This reminds me of Marilyn Manson. Maybe not the exact same thing, but something similar at least. A mixture of dark industrial and goth rock anyway. Some stuff is good, while some stuff is less good.
When I reviewed their album "New Wave" in October 2017, I wrote that their music was "a wild mixture of this and that - hip hop rock, Marilyn Manson, arena rock, industrial rock etc". The mixture might not be that crazy this time, but there's absolutely variation between the songs on this record too.
POWERMAN 5000 comes from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and formed in the early 1990s. They have released several albums since then.
Published: Aug. 20, 2020

OGD: The Big Game - Album
(Self released on Aug. 24, 2020)
This is a new power trio from New York City. The band features Derek Olivero (guitar, lead vocals), Bobby Gavin (drums, vocals), and Dave De Ranieri (bass, vocals). This debut album is produced by Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, John Mayer). Their music is what they call modern day rock with shades of RUSH, KISS and CLUTCH. It's pretty melodic and modern, but yet some kind of radio-friendly classic rock.
Published: Aug. 20, 2020

(Infamous Butcher Records)
These guys have made an EP with covers of soundtrack songs for 80s movies. The songs that they cover are "Glory Of Love" by Peter Cetera, "Hungry Eyes" by Eric Carmen, "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" by Cyndie Lauper and "Don't You Forget About Me" by SIMPLE MINDS. Not exactly any cool rock songs, but they do these songs a little heavier and more like melodic rock songs, and it's actually not so bad for being pop songs. My favorite is the last song.
MOONLIGHT DESIRES is a Canadian band who just seems to play 80s covers. On their debut album, "Frankie Goes To Hamilton" (2014), they did classic love songs. It was followed by the EP "Just The Hits: 1981-1985" in 2017.
Published: Aug. 19, 2020

POSSESSION: Disentombed Manifestations - Double Album
(Xtreem Music - Release date: Aug. 26, 2020)
POSSESSION took its first steps in 1991, when 3 guys wanted to create music that would make a lasting impact in the metal world. It was meant to be war machine intense, but at the same time have addictive hooks. Lyrical themes would be stuff like spiritual strife and obsession with the occult. All this with a vocal range that would define the band's identity.
They were supposed to enter the studio in August 1991, but their bassist mashed his left hand in a machine, and had to cut it off. But in late 1992 they finally entered the studio to record the "Mad Crazed & Violent" cassette, which was released in early 1993. And over the next 4 years they self-financed and promoted 3 more releases, as well as recorded some rehearsals and unreleased material.
Now all their recorded material have been collected for this double CD. And it might not be "war machine intense", but they have their own metal sound. Much thanks to the vocals. It actually sounds like they have 2 singers - 1 that seems to think that he's King Diamond, while the other seems to think he's a monster. Some stuff is good, some is not so good.
Published: Aug. 19, 2020

VOLCANOVA: Radical Waves - Album
(The Sign Records - Release date: Aug. 21, 2020)
They start really heavy, but after that it's catchy, groovy and fuzzy stoner rock. It might not be anything new, and you will know their influences, but they are doing this damned good, so it's still worth checking out.
VOLCANOVA is a powerful and explosive trio that was founded in the summer of 2014, and comes from Iceland. And all 3 members are singing. But it has obviously taken its time, because it's not until now that their debut album is ready to be released. But better late than never at all as the teacher said.
If I'm going to name a favorite song, then I would say "I'm Off", which is catchy as hell. The last song, "Lights", is a little extra good too.
Published: Aug. 19, 2020

TOXIC TITO: Bestia - Album
(Release date: Aug. 21, 2020)
Here's a project from New York City who is said to blend psych rock, punk, metal and grunge. It's another band with Luis Accorsi from The SHRIEKS (which I reviewed in April). But while The SHRIEKS was more of a rock n roll band, TOXIC TITO is more punk rock. "Rock music has gone stale and moldy, pretentious and ass kissing", as they say. And this band is here to change that.
What I can hear most of all in this band's music is punky rock, possibly with a touch of the ingredients that was mentioned in the beginning. And even though everything might not be great here, most of these 11 tracks are good enough for me anyway.
Published: Aug. 18, 2020

PRINS SVART: Under Jord - Album
(Musica Ex Machina - Release date: Aug. 21, 2020)
This is the third album from the Swedish trio SVART PRINS (Black Prince). This time they have teamed up with Swedish vocalists like Mats Levén (SKYBLOOD, ex-CANDLEMASS, TREAT, Yngwie Malmsteen etc etc), Håkan Hemlin (Nordman), Janne Åström (MEDBORGARNA) and Matti Alfonzetti (SKINTRADE), who perform 1 song each. Rickard Nilsson (AVATARIUM) play Hammond organ.
The band combine the old with the new, and the result is classic hard rock, but with lyrics in Swedish, which makes them a little unique I guess. Their main influences comes from the 70s and 80s, with bands like LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, DIO, WHITESNAKE, RAINBOW and Ozzy Osbourne.
Their 2 previous albums was really good stuff, and this is another really strong album from the Prince. It's also interesting with a Swedish translation of "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)", which you might have heard with JUDAS PRIEST, even though it was originally done by FLEETWOOD MAC (if I'm not totally wrong?).
Published: Aug. 17, 2020

MERCYLESS: The Mother Of All Plagues - Album
(XENOKORP - Release date: Aug. 21, 2020)
O.k., it looks like this band has been around for 33 years, but with "The Mother Of All Plagues" they have not made more than 7 albums during that time. Well, stress is not good.
This is said to be their darkest and most hate-filled album ever, and the title might make some of you think about the COVID-19 pandemic. But fact is that this album was written and titled in 2018 already.
The first track, "Infection", is yet another totally useless intro. But after that they show us how it's supposed to be done. Raw and angry death metal. I like it!
Published: Aug. 17, 2020

GRIDE: Hluboká Temná Modø - Album
(L'inphantile Collective)
Czech hardcore/power violence band GRIDE has existed since 1996. This is their final recording though, where we get as much as 18 tracks in less than half an hour. If I get it right, 7 of these tracks are new, while the rest is taken from a split 10" with SIDETRACKED (from 2014) and a split 7" with THEMA ELEVEN (from 2009).
The music is extreme and intense most of the time, with influences from grindcore and fast hardcore/punk. It's not just total chaos and a hell of a noise though. They succeed to make songs actually.
Recomended for those who like it extreme.
Published: Aug. 17, 2020

DIESEL MACHINE: Evolve - Album
(Metalville - Release date: Aug. 21, 2020)
DIESEL MACHINE was founded in the mid-90s by former members of the L.A. bands WORLD IN PAIN and ELEVENTH HOUR. They released 1 studio album, "Torture Test", and their groove metal was compared with bands like PANTERA, CROWBAR and MACHINE HEAD. While they were working on their second album, bassist Roch Gonzales suffered a nearly fatal motorcycle accident in the summmer of 2002, which put him in hospital for 4 months. After that the band was put on hold indefinitely, and the members joined other bands.
Now the band is back again with a brand new album, and this is heavy stuff, but also hard. They blend razor-sharp riffs with hardcore vocals, which makes them very powerful.
Published: Aug. 17, 2020

DIAMOND DOGS: As Your Greens Turn Brown - Album reissue
(Wild Kingdom Records)
DIAMOND DOGS continue to kick ass on their second album, "As Your Greens Turn Brown", which was originally released in 2001. Now we get a re-release of this album, with all EPs and singles that was released around the same time - A total of 15 tracks. And this is just as good as their first album was, so if you like rock n roll and British R&B from the 70s, and most of all ROLLING STONES, then this is a must for you. It really is that simple.
Published: Aug. 17, 2020

A Fistful More Of Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 3 - Compilation
(Flying Dolphin Administration)
The first time I heard this album, almost every band was more or less the same: punky rock n roll or action rock. Sure it's good, but there wasn't enough variation.
Now that I have heard this compilation a few times, I can hear some more variation than the first time. 1 band sounds like DANKO JONES, while another sounds like The HELLACOPTERS, and some band sound like TURBONEGRO or The STOOGES. There's even some punk rock and garage rock here too, and almost every band kicks ass.
Most of these songs are just around 2 to 2 and a half minutes, so there's as much as 26 tracks here with just as many bands. And this is a very male compilation, because I don't think there's that many women in any of these groups. But there's at least 1 band with a woman on vocals, The DIRTY DENIMS.
The only ones that I have heard before are The DRIPPERS, The CHEATS and HeWhoCannotBeNamed. The rest was new to me as far as I can remember (so it could happen that I have heard 1 or 2 more).
The story behind this compilation series started 20 years ago, when ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN guitarist Sal Canzonieri partnered up with Victory Records to release compilations with the greatest rock n roll bands. 13 volumes was made under the name "A Fistful Of Rock n Roll". Many years later it was time for another run with "A Fistful MORE Of Rock n Roll", and this is the third volume.
Published: Aug. 16, 2020

DEEP PURPLE: Whoosh! - Album
Yes, this album might be a little different to what we are used to hear from these legends, but it sure ain't bad. In lack of a better description, I would say that they have found a more adult sound during the later years. It's also a variated album, with everything from thoughtful soft rockers to good old rock n roll, as well as some classic rock. I think you should give it a try at least.
This is the 21st studio album with DEEP PURPLE, and the third with producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, KISS, PINK FLOYD).
Published: Aug. 15, 2020

KAASIN: Runaway Train - Single
(Stream Peak Music - Release date: Aug. 14, 2020)
KAASIN is a new band from Norway, which was founded by guitarist Jo Henning Kaasin (Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes, Doogie White, Bernie Marsden, COME TASTE THE BAND). The rest of the band consist of his cousin Staale Kaasin (SPIDER, 2020VISON) on bass, Jan Thore Grefstad (SAINT DEAMON, HIGHLAND GLORY, TNT) on vocals, Benjamin Dehli on hammond organ/analog synth, and Rick Hagen (HEX AD) on drums.
Now their first single is here. And their music is blues-based melodic hard rock in the good old league. We talk the 70s/80s and bands like DEEP PURPLE, WHITESNAKE and RAINBOW. The really good stuff. This is a band that I like to hear more from. So if you like good old hard rock, then you must check this out.
Published: Aug. 14, 2020

SHINING BLACK featuring Mark Boals & Olaf Thorsen: Shining Black - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Here's another band that reminds me of SCORPIONS in the 80s. Very melodic, but really good, hard rock. And it's delivered through experienced musicians like vocalist Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, RING OF FIRE, ROYAL HUNT) and guitarist Ölaf Thorson (LABYRINTH, VISION DIVINE).
This is their debut album, which has many good songs, so you should not miss this album. And that's all I have to say..
Published: Aug. 13, 2020

MOSH-PIT JUSTICE: The Fifth Of Doom - Album
(Iron Shield Records/Doc Gator Records - Release date: Aug. 14, 2020)
From Bulgaria comes this thrash metal trio, even though 1 member now lives in Tampa, FL. Their first EP, "The Serpent", was released in 2012, and was followed by a few full length albums. "The Fifth Of Doom" is their fifth album.
It's mainly thrash in the good old school, even though there's some power metal and classic heavy metal too. They might not be the best band in this genre, but most of these 8 tracks are good, so it could still be worth a try.
Published: Aug. 13, 2020

AVATAR: Hunter Gatherer - Album
(Century Media)
It's often so hard and heavy that I would describe it as metalcore. But then we also have all these melodic parts, so that would not be totally correct. Well, this is obviously a band who just do whatever they want to. So I guess that wayward metal is a better description, even though I guess that progressive metal also works.
No matter what you decide to call this dark theatrical Swedish band's music, they smash the boundaries and can not really be put in just 1 genre. But that's just simply their own sound. This is their kingdom.
But if we leave the descriptions and concentrate on the music itself, then we will soon find out that there's some pretty good stuff here. And that's more important than genres of course.
"Hunter Gatherer" is their 8th album.
Published: Aug. 13, 2020

AGES: Uncrown - Album
(Black Lodge Records - Release date: Aug. 21, 2020)
AGES was formed in the winter of 2011, and are from Sweden. Their debut album, "The Malefic Miasma", was released in 2015, and since then they have been working on their second album, "Uncrown", which is now ready to be released.
Melodic black metal is probably the best description to this. The voice is harsh, and the guitar play melodic melodies, while drums and bass play fast or heavy. But that description might not say that much about how they actually sound, so maybe you should give them a listen yourself. I think it sounds really good anyway. Especially the 2 first tracks are excellent.
Published: Aug. 13, 2020

BEAR MACE: Charred Field of Slaughter - Album
(Release date: Aug. 14, 2020)
Chicago death metallers BEAR MACE formed in 2012, and are influenced by legends like DEATH, BOLT THROWER and MASSACRE. They were lurking in the shadows for a few years before they finally released their debut album, "Butchering The Colossus", in 2017. However, work on a follow-up album was delayed by turnover in the band's ranks. But now they are ready to unleash their second album, "Charred Field of Slaughter".
And what an album they have made! This is how it's supposed to be done. They deliver hit after hit, and never get weak. Fans of the old school should be very interested in these 8 tracks.
Published: Aug. 12, 2020

(River Monster Records - Release date: Aug. 21, 2020)
This band comes from South Carolina, and got started in 2018. After releasing several singles and EPs, they are now ready to release their first full length album. And this is something for those of you who think that the music scene was much more interesting in the late 70s. They take pieces of The STOOGES, SEX PISTOLS, The CRAMPS, Suzi Quatro, MC5 and The RUNAWAYS. Out comes something that we could describe as neo-glam punk, or simply cool rock n roll with punk attitude.
There's plenty of good stuff among these 10 tracks, so wheter you like punk rock, glam, garage rock or just some good old rock n roll, you should absolutely give this band a honest chance.
Published: Aug. 12, 2020

The CHEATS: Cussin', Crying 'N' Carrying On - Album
(Flying Dolphin Administration - Release date: Aug. 14, 2020)
Action-filled and energetic punky rock n roll is what we get from this band. And I really like what I hear! This is like a wild party with NASHVILLE PUSSY, DANKO JONES, TURBONEGRO, BACKYARD BABIES and SOCIAL DISTORTION. And all that will be left when they are gone is empty bottles and other garbage.
The CHEATS formed in the winter of 2001, and comes from Pittsburgh, PA. This is their 5th release.
Published: Aug. 12, 2020

MARENNA: Pieces Of Tomorrow - EP
(Self released?)
MARENNA is led by singer and composer Rod Marenna. The band comes from Brazil, and was formed in 2014. They released their first EP, "My Unconditional Faith", in 2015, and their debut album, "No Regrets", in 2017. Then they thought it was already time for a live album, "Livin' No Regrets", which came out in 2018.
Their latest EP, "Pieces Of Tomorrow", was released on digital platforms early this year. And what we get is 3 tracks of melodic rock/AOR, that sounds like it would have been recorded back in the 80s. I like it! I think of something like a heavier PHENOMENA or Gary Moore for example, even though they mention BON JOVI, WHITESNAKE, JOURNEY and H.E.AT as their main influences. Damned good stuff anyway! Some label like Frontiers Music or AOR Heaven should sign them at once.
The best track is the first song, "Getting Higher", which should be a hit song.
Published: Aug. 11, 2020


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