REVIEWS 2020 - Page 8

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(Self released on Dec. 6, 2020)
DESPERATION BLVD is a new band from Italy, and this is their first release, a 6-track EP. Among the guest musicians on this debut are David Reece (ex-ACCEPT, BANGALORE CHOIR) and Thomas Silver (ex-HARDCORE SUPERSTAR) among others.
I guess it's not so hard to figure out from the band name what this band sounds like. Yes, it's sleaze rock in the same style as GUNS N' ROSES, FASTER PUSSYCAT, BULLETBOYS, L.A. GUNS, PRETTY BOY FLOYD, BANG TANGO, VAIN, BABYLON A.D., TUFF and DANGEROUS TOYS. And they have many good songs here, and they deliver them with the right attitude, so this is of course something that you should listen to.
Except for 5 original songs, we also get a cover of DURAN DURAN's "Hold Back The Rain".
Published: Dec. 2, 2020

The BATES: Unfucked Live - Album reissue
(Glitterhouse Records - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
The album start with some German chick talking for 4:20 minutes. How funny is that to listen to? Especially as I don't even speak German. But otherwise we get some really good punk rock here.
Do a cover of "Kill That Girl" by RAMONES is totally o.k. of course. But "Yesterday" by The BEATLES? Not o.k.! They also play covers of some classics from the 50s/60s. Why so many covers?
The BATES were besides DIE TOTEN HOSEN Germany's most successful punk band for over a decade. The journey started in the mid-80s. They were not a political band, like most other punk bands, but sang about love, desire and party instead. After years of drug and alcohol abuse of singer/bassist Zimbl, the band decided to take a break in 2001. Unfortunately they never returned, and in 2006 Zimbl died at the age of 41. The surviving members are today working with comletely different things than punk music.
This live album was originally released in 1993, but will now also be available on vinyl and digital. It was recorded at the Outpost club in Göttingen, Germany in 1992, and it's an energetic and raw show that you really should experience.
Published: Dec. 2, 2020

SQUEALER: Insanity - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
This German band was started back in the 80s as a power/thrash metal band, and this is their 10th studio album. Some of that power and thrash metal is definitely still there, but they are not afraid to create their own sound and add a modern twist. And I think we can add heavy metal to the description as well.
What we get is 10 really strong songs, and you should absolutely give them a try, because I think you might like what you hear.
This album also has a few guest apperances from Bernhard Wiss (AXXIS), Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE, SAVATAGE, TSO), Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN, ex-HELLOWEEN) and Ingmar Klippert.
Best track: "Lose Control".
Published: Dec. 1, 2020

NOMINON: Yesterdeath - Album
(Emanzipation Productions - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
NOMINON formed back in 1993, and comes from Jönköping, Sweden. They were active until 2015, and since 2018 the band is alive again. They have release 5 studio albums and countless 7" releases through the years.
"Yesterdeath" is actually a collection of all EPs that was released between 2003-2014, which can be a little hard to find nowadays, as most of them were released on small underground labels in a limited edition. I would guess that this is also a good introduction to the band if you have not heard them before.
What music do they play then? Well, this is simply old school death metal the Swedish way. So if you like that, then you like NOMINION too, because this is really good stuff.
The band have been writing some new material, which they hope will be available next year. I look forward to hear that.
Published: Dec. 1, 2020

FOREIGN: The Symphony Of The Wandering Jew Part II - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
"The Symphony Of The Wandering Jew Part II" is a progressive metal opera that last for an eternity. Very ambitious and all, but to me it's just music in the background while I do something else, and not something that I really listen to. But those of you who liked the first part should not be dissapointed.
Author/composer/singer/keyboardist is Ivan Jacquin (PSYCHANOÏA, AMONYA, MAGNESIS). Among the guest musicians are Leo Margarit (PAIN OF SALVATION, EPYSODE) on drums, Mike Lepond (SYMPHONY X, SILENT ASSASSINS) on bass, the vocalists Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE, SAVATAGE, TSO), Andy Kuntz (VANDEN PLAS) and Tom S. Englund (EVERGREY), as well as Amanda Lehmann (STEVE HACKETT BAND) on vocals and lead guitars.
Published: Dec. 1, 2020

DEPRAVITY: Grand Malevolence - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
Warning! Don't listen to this when you have a bad hangover. They are way too technical to listen to when you have a headache. I couldn't listen to more than 3 songs before I had to give up.
Then I gave it another try a few days later, but it was still too much for me. So I guess that technical death metal just isn't what I want (which I more or less already knew). But they are probably doing a very good job here anyway.
This Australian band is fast and intense, as well as technical and almost progressive. So if you think that you have nerves of steel, then give this a try and see how strong you really are.
Published: Dec. 1, 2020

BRÒN: Pred Dverima Noci - Album
(Nordvis - Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
After something like 4 minutes they suddenly found out that they need some speed to go forward. But they can also be "atmospheric" sometimes, if you really can call reapeating the same silent thing over and over again atmospheric, but in lack of a better description..
What we get here is 3 really long pieces - 16 to 19 and a half minutes - of atmospheric black metal from the 90s. It's a blend of ethereal synths, harsh vocals, ferocious blast beats and thick atmosphere. This is said to fit fans of LIMBONIC ART, EVILFEAST and DARKSPACE.
BRÒN is a duo who formed in Scotland in 2014. They have since then relocated to New Zealand and Serbia, if I got it right. This is their fifth album anyway.
Published: Nov. 30, 2020

REBEL: Stargazer - Album reissue
(Metalapolis Records - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
In southern Germany in 1982 there was a young guitarist called Tommy Clauss, who was influenced by Ritchie Blackmore (DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW) and Mick Box (URIAH HEEP). He wanted to start a new band, and got the chance to meet British singer John Lawton (URIAH HEEP, LUCIFER'S FRIEND). Tommy boy asked John if he wanted to produce an album with his band REBEL, and John said yes. The singer in the band had a few problems to sing the songs though, so John himself simply stepped in and sang.
The result of this recording became "Stargazer", which unfortunately didn't get any bigger succees as the album wasn't promoted that well, and the band split up pretty soon. During the years the album has become kind of a cult album, but it has never got a proper official release on CD before. So now it's time for its first official CD release. It will also be available on digital platforms.
And better late than never at all, as this band have some really good hard rock songs here. Fans of old legends like URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW should like this band.
Published: Nov. 30, 2020

RAVE THE REQVIEM: Stigmata Itch - Album
(Out Of Line - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
Have the old pop band AQUA teamed up with Swedish pop artist E-Type? And become christians and started to include heavy guitars? Well, that's what this sounds like to me anyway. And sure, they are very catchy and melodic, but this just isn't my kind of genre, so I'm not impressed.
And why do I think that they are christians then? Well, what else can you think when there's song titles like "Oh, The Joy!" and "I Bring The Light" for example?
Now the funny thing is that they call this Swedish band industrial metal. Just because you play a hybrid of metal and electronic music, it doesn't have to mean that it's industrial.
RAVE THE REQVIEM released their debut album in 2014 on the Japanese label DWA. "Stigmata Itch" is their 4th album, and the first with new singer The Sister Svperior. It's described as "an intense journey with heavy guitar riffs, hard electronic percussions, delicious melodies and epic symphonies". What we here in Sweden would call schlager metal then?
Published: Nov. 30, 2020

SDI: Sign of the Wicked - Album reissue
(MDD Records)
I reviewed a brand new album with this German speed metal band in February this year. But "Sign of the Wicked" is a re-release of an old album, which also features an exclusive booklet with partly unreleased photos from 1987. The record will also present 4 bonus tracks, recorded between 1991 and 1993, originally planned for an unreleased album.
This is said to be a cult album of the German speed metal wave in the late 80s. And with songs like the title track and "Megamosh" they created 2 metal anthems, which still sounds really good after all these years.
13 tracks is what we get here, and most of the material is really good stuff. So in other words something that every true fan of 80s speed metal have to check out.
Published: Nov. 29, 2020

Reb Beach: A View From The Inside - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Instrumental guitar rock is what this guy is up to. 1 song is o.k. 10 is not. Because there's not much variation here according to my ears, so it becomes boring very fast. He is a very good guitarist though, no doubt about that. The songs are based on a guitar melody, so it's not just wild solos everywhere.
I guess that his usual employers didn't really give him the chance to show off, so here he goes all in. But we have heard the exact same thing several times now since the 80s. So do we really need another album like this? Well, some of you guitar freaks might, so go ahead then.
Reb has been playing or play with stars like WINGER, Alice Cooper, NIGHT RANGER, WHITESNAKE and DOKKEN. He was also a part of the supergroup BLACK SWAN, also featuring Jeff Pilson, Robin MacAuley and Matt Starr. When it comes to his guitar playing, he is influenced by the legendary hard rockers of the 70s. Which means a more blues-based style. This album sounds like the mid-80s though.
Published: Nov. 28, 2020

Orianthi: O - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
I hate to say this, but unfortunately Orianthi's music is not as good as she is good looking. It's simply a matter of different taste in music, as there is too much pop here for my taste. It sounds like she is doing a very good job though, but I am the totally wrong person to tell you if this is good or bad.
Orianthi is a singer/songwriter and guitarist, and this is her first new solo album in 7 years, and the first new music as a solo artist in 6 years. But she has also been playing with legends like Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana, Alice Cooper and more..
Published: Nov. 28, 2020

LORDS OF BLACK: Alchemy Of Souls - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Vocalist Ronnie Romero (RAINBOW, VANDENBERG etc) is back in LORDS OF BLACK after what we can call a short hiatus. Guitarist Tony Hernando kept on working on new songs, and when Ronnie heard what Tony had done, he immediately rejoined the band. And now the result is here: "Alchemy Of Souls".
This is a really good heavy metal album that they have made. They blend old and new metal with catchy melodies and a few progressive elements. I can hear influences from lots of other bands here, but they add their own touch to it somehow.
This is almost a must in your record collection.
Published: Nov. 28, 2020

ETERNAL IDOL: Renaissance - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
ETERNAL IDOL is a symphonic metal band from Italy, which was put together by RHAPSODY and ANGRA vocalist Fabio Lione and guitarist Nick Savio of HOLLOW HAZE. Their debut, "The Unrevealed Secret", was released in December 2016. The band now return with a new lineup, featuring up-and-coming vocalist Claudia Layline, drummer Enrico Fabris and basssist Andrea Buratto (SECRET SPHERE, HELL IN THE CLUB).
They offer us a stew of classic metal and symphonic rock with a twist of progressive metal. It's a very melodic dish that they serves. And I guess that if you like that, then this can be a lot of fun. They are at least good at what they are doing, and some songs are even good according to me, especially in the second half of the album.
Published: Nov. 28, 2020

(Interstellar Smoke Records - Release date: Dec. 1, 2020)
Both GHOST:HELLO and NIGHT GOAT are heavy and were pretty boring bands the first times I heard this split. But o.k., the last band might have been just a little bit better. But just a pinch then. So I felt like this was a pretty hopeless split, as none of these 2 bands had any songs that were good. It just went in and out, and then it disappeared.
The funny thing is that to my surprise GHOST:HELLO is actually the better band now that I have been listening a few times. So this EP is suddenly a little bit better, and not so hopeless after all. So if you like it heavy, then give this a try.
Both bands hailing from the Ohio underground scene. GHOST:HELLO is a stoner/sludge trio with veterans in the DIY scene. NIGHT GOAT is a fuzzy noise rock experience, who released their debut album, with the stupid title "Milk", as late as in December 2019.
Published: Nov. 26, 2020

HOLY DEATH TRIO: Black Wave - Single
(Self Released on Nov. 27, 2020)
Oh, the death trio is back with another cool single. And yes, it's almost as good as the first single that I heard with them a few months ago.
HOLY DEATH TRIO is a power trio from Texas, and they play a catchy kind of heavy rock with hit potential. You just have to check them out!
Published: Nov. 26, 2020

SISTER: Primal Rage - Single
(Flick Records)
SISTER is a quartet who play a mixture of punk, glam, rock and metal, inspired by MISFITS and GUNS N' ROSES among others. They have released a few albums and been touring all over Europe during the last 10 years.
"Primal Rage" is the 4th single from their upcoming album, "Vengeance Ignited", which will be released in February 2021. And this is a hard and heavy piece, with almost an industrial touch. So when it comes to this song, you can forget the description above.
Not bad, but I have definitely heard better..
Published: Nov. 25, 2020

LEDJELLY: Never Die - Album
These guys comes from Göteborg, Sweden, and they wanted me to review their new album. They said that they play rock, but some of these tracks are not really rock music according to me. And those tracks are not even good at all. What has a piano piece like "Lacrymosa" to do on a rock album? Piano and church choir is hardly what I call rock n roll. But in their better rock moments they're o.k. anyway.
LEDJELLY was formed in 2014, and say that their sound resembling of SOUNDGARDEN, BLACK SABBATH, RED FANG, ALICE IN CHAINS and similar. So groovy and melodic heavy rock then.
"Never Die" is the second album from this band.
Published: Nov. 25, 2020

v/a - Ursäkta Röran: Vi Sprängde Hela Skiten Vol. 1 - Compilation
(Grönpepparsås Records)
O.k., usually I hate streaming, but once in a while I have to make an exception. Like when there's a new compilation with Swedish punk for example. And that's exactly what this is (if you didn't figure that out).
This is available on Bandcamp only, and volume 1 features 13 bands: The PAST, ÄRKEPUCKO, C2H6O, BELTA 53, HÅRDGNISSEL, BLIMEY, N:A HOSPITALET, SYRGAS, CARTOON GIRLFRIEND, KARDBORREBANDET, GIFTIGT AVFALL, Rick Titrö & KÄRLEKSMINISTERIET and SYSTEMKOLLAPS. Most of these songs are previously unreleased material.
Now I have actually just been listening 1 time (as I said earlier, I hate streaming), but most of these bands are great. It's just a few of them that was a bit less good, so nothing sucked at least.
If you have any interest in new punk from Sweden, then you have to check this out. It's just as simple as that.
Listen here:
Published: Nov. 24, 2020

REVOLTING: The Shadow At The World's End - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
Ah, that was exactly what I needed! Pure old school death metal directly from an old grave. How could that be wrong?
REVOLTING is a death metal trio from Sweden, and it's yet another band with Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER etc etc). This is by the way one of his most long-running bands together with PAGANIZER, and also one of the most active.
This is their 7th full length, where they continue to blend classic Swedish melodies with more brutal stuff. Simply old school Swedish death metal as you know it.
Published: Nov. 24, 2020

DREAM THEATER: Distant Memories, Live in London - Live Release
(InsideOut Music - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
Poor me head.. 21 tracks of progressive metal. And I talk about the adventurous kind of progressive metal here, where just about anything can happen. But I can at least hear that they are really good musicians, and I have absolutely heard worse and more complicated music than this. So I guess it wasn't so bad after all. But it last for an eternity, and some of these songs are very long (part of the game though).
DREAM THEATER are legends in the progressive metal genre. They formed back in 1985 already. They have got 2 Grammy Award nominations and sold 15 million records worldwide.
This release was filmed and recorded at London's historic Eventim Apollo theater in February 2020, during 2 shows where they performed selections from 2019's "Distance Over Time", and the entire 1999 album "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory".
This release is available in a few different variations: 3CD+2DVD Multibox, digital album, Deluxe 3CD+2Blu-ray+2DVD Artbook, 4LP+3CD Box Set, 3CD+2Blu-ray Digipak.
Published: Nov. 24, 2020

WITCHWOOD: Before The Winter - Album
(Jolly Roger Records)
O.k., so it's already 3 years since I reviewed this Italian band last time. And those 2 albums was not even new - 1 from 2015 and the other from 2016. "Before The Winter" is a brand new album though.
They continue with their blues-based 70s hard rock, which also have progressive and psychedelic elements. And they still reminds me of legends like URIAH HEEP and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, but with their own little twist. So most of these 9-10 tracks (the LP has 1 bonus track) are very good stuff. Maybe not as good as 3 years ago, but on the other hand I can hardly remember that far back in time, haha. I remember that I really liked those 2 albums anyway, and I really wanted you to check them out (yes, I read my own review to remember that).
Well, this new album, which is their third, is also worth checking out. So just do that!
Published: Nov. 23, 2020

INTRUDER: Escape From Pain - EP reissue / INTRUDER: A Higher Form Of Killing - Album reissue / INTRUDER: Psycho Savant - Album reissue
(Lusitanian Music - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
INTRUDER is a thrash metal band from Nashville, Tennessee. They released 3 full length albums and 2 EPs between 1987-1991 before splitting up in 1992. Since then the band has reunited several times. Unfortunately their guitarist Greg Messick died in September, so I don't know what the future looks like for the band.
2 of the albums and 1 EP is now being re-released. It's simply good thrash metal in the old school, sometimes with a progressive/technical twist. This is not the hardest or fastest thrash band, even though there's fast songs too. There's melodies, and the vocals is not that harsh and angry but often clean/melodic, even though there can be some high pitched vocals too sometimes.
I must also mention that they are very good musicians. This is actually just as good as any of the bigger names in this genre. And another thing that I like with this band is that there's lots of variation.
Now all 3 records might not be exactly the same. But to me the differance is small, so I see no reason to write a review for each of them. They are all really good anyway, and that's all you need to know.
Published: Nov. 22, 2020

VOIVOD: Lost Machine, Live - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
O.k., now I'm going to try to describe VOIVOD in my own special way.. Take a pinch each of MOTÖRHEAD, Swedish hardcore/punk band KRUNCH, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and PRIMUS. There you go! Almost anyway. You are allowed to laugh at me, but this is, as you probably know already, a very special band when it comes to their sound, which is often called sci-fi metal. And this is a very technical/progressive sound that is unique. You could possibly call it progressive thrash metal, sometimes with psychedelic elements.
These Canadians have been around for 4 decades, and they already have legendary status in the metal scene. This recording was captured at the Quebec City Summer Fest on July 13, 2019, where they gave the fans both old and new songs.
Now I can hardly call myself a fan of this band, so I don't have a clue which songs that are classics, old or new. And the few times I have heard this band before, it has been a different experience. Sometimes it has been good, and sometimes not. Most of the material on this live album sounds o.k. to me though.
Published: Nov. 21, 2020

Jeff Scott Soto: Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) - Double Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Jeff Scott Soto should not be a stranger to fans of hard rock and heavy metal. He has been singing with Yngwie Malmsteen, TALISMAN, SONS OF APOLLO, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, JOURNEY etc. That doesn't seems to help that much when he goes solo though, because much of this is just too mediocre. Not bad, and he is a very good singer, no doubt about that anyway. But it sounds like this has already been done by at least 50 others, and at least 10 of them have done it better. So the studio album (disc 1) is just o.k. according to me.
The live album (disc 2), recorded at Frontiers Rock Festival in 2019, is just a little bit more interesting, as he seems to have a few better songs here. But for some reason he have to destroy some of the experience with too much talking (rather ass licking). A song like "I'll Be Waiting" for example have a really good chorus, but then he destroy it totally by talking and let the audience sing along. Nice for the audience of course, but not so funny to listen to at home.
But it could always have been worse of course. There could have been a stupid guitar solo or drum solo, or maybe even both. But luckily there isn't any of that here.
They say that Mr. Jeff has participated on more than 85 albums through the years. This is his 7th solo album, where he blend influences from melodic rock/AOR with hard rock.
Published: Nov. 21, 2020

EAST TEMPLE AVENUE: Both Sides Of Midnight - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
This band started its journey in 2018, when the Australian guitarist/songwriter/producer Darren Phillips contacted bassist Dennis Butabi (CRUZH), lead guitarist Philip Lindstrand (FIND ME, ARKADO) and drummer Herman Furin (WORK OF ART). Phillips' longtime friend and producing partner Dan Skeed (URBAN STONE) also joined the project, as well as the American lead singer Robbie LaBlanc (FIND ME, BLANC FACES). As this is a international project, each member did their parts in their own studios in Australia, Sweden and USA.
EAST TEMPLE AVENUE play a traditional kind of AOR/melodic rock, and their songs are just as good as any other band in this genre, so you have to check this out of course. Start with something like "When I'm With You" for example.
Published: Nov. 21, 2020

AWAKEN: Out of the Shadows - Double Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
AWAKEN was founded in 2009 by singer Glenn DaGrossa (ex-LAZARUS), and in 2012 their self titled debut album was released. But it's not until now that they deliver their second album, which on the other hand is a double sandwich filled with 90 minutes of music.
And the music that these Americans play is a melodic kind of progressive metal, with elements of symphonic metal. That could have been boring, but this is not boring at all. There's plenty of good stuff among these 13 tracks. And the best thing is that you don't have to be a fan of any of those genres to like this. I think that any fan of good heavy metal with lots of melody will like this.
Published: Nov. 21, 2020

AnthenorA: Mirrors And Screens - Album
(Punishment18 Records - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
This Italian heavy metal band has been gone for nearly 10 years. But now they are back with a new album, which gives us a pretty traditional sound, even though it's said to be heavier than their previous albums. This is really good stuff anyway, so you should not be dissapointed.
AnthenorA released 3 demos in the 90s, and 1 EP and 3 albums between 2002-2010.
Published: Nov. 21, 2020

Angelica: All I Am - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
This is very kind and melodic rock, often on the border to pop. And it sounds very American actually. Good or bad? I don't think that I'm the right person to judge here. But if you think my description of her music sounds interesting, then you should give her a try.
Angelic Rylin is probably best known for being the frontwoman of the cinematic metal band The MURDER OF MY SWEET. But she is also a solo artists. Her first solo album, "Thrive", was released in 2013. But it's not until now that the time was right for a follow up. This is said to fit fans of HEART, Robin Beck and ROMEO's DAUGHTER.
Published: Nov. 21, 2020

ALIEN: Into The Future - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
If you think that this Swedish band is going to sound like they did back in the 80s, then you better think again, because they don't. It's not bad, but far away from as good as their self titled debut album (1988) was. That album was full of classics and young energy. A pure AOR album. And repeat that over 30 years later is of course impossible more or less. This is more like melodic hard rock, and a little heavier. Still good though, as they still have catchy melodies.
ALIEN originally formed in the mid-80s, and had a couple of hit singles here in Sweden (not sure how big they were outside of Sweden though). The band has since then existed in different lineups through the years, but not all the time (as far as I know). The original lineup reunited for a handful of festivals in 2010. Today's lineup include Jim Jidhed (vocals), Tony Borg (guitar) and Toby Tarrach (drums).
Published: Nov. 21, 2020

SHAME ON YOUTH!: Human Obsolescence - Album
(Go Down Records - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
SHAME ON YOUTH! began to take shape with the current members in 2015. They released a demo, "Zero", in 2017, and now their first full length album is here.
The members comes from different backgrounds in music, hardcore/punk and garage rock. And this is what gives the band their sound. It's raw and dirty, fast and heavy, distorted and fuzzy. This album is full of action.
The hardest crust punk might not be interested in this, but people who like action rock with more punk should be interested in this album.
Published: Nov. 19, 2020

JADED STAR: Realign - Album
(Noble Demon)
JADED STAR is a collaboration between Maxi Nil (ex-VISIONS OF ATLANTIS) and Raphael Saini (ex-ICED EARTH). Their debut album, "Memories From The Future", was released in 2015. And now in 2020 they have a new lineup, and are ready for the next level in their career. The goal is to deliver their strongest, most emotional and heavy album to date.
So, have they succeeded with that? Maybe.. I don't think that I have heard their first album, so I can honestly not compare that with this album. But this is heavy and very melodic anyway. Some songs are good and some are not so exiting.
Published: Nov. 19, 2020

MYSTERIZER: King of Kings - Single
(Inverse Records)
MYSTERIZER comes from Oulu, Finland and play melodic heavy metal of the epic kind. I think of a band like IRON MAIDEN for example when I listen to this song. This is really good stuff, that you have to check out at once.
Not much else to add as I simply don't know much else about this band.
Published: Nov. 18, 2020

VARDE: Fedraminne - Album
(Nordvis Produktion - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
The music here is mainly 90s black metal, sometimes with elements of folk music. You could say that they blend metal riffing with folk melodies. But then comes a song like "Skuld", which is more or less industrial metal instead. And what can I say about the last track then? Also a odd bird and more atmospheric somehow, with piano and saxophone, before it gets hard and heavy for a while. Then they go back to that atmospheric thing again, and so on..
VARDE comes from Norway, and this is their debut album. The band was founded in 2017, and they have previously released 1 single and 1 EP. All lyrics are in Norwegian, and the trio features former members of NORDJEVEL, ALSVARTR and DØDHEIMSGAARD.
Published: Nov. 17, 2020

STORMWIND: Resurrection - Album reissue
(Black Lodge Records - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
This album was originally released in 2000. Except for bandmaster/guitarist Thomas Wolf, the lineup on this album also featured the Swedish musicians Thomas Vikström (ex-THERION, CANDLEMASS) on vocals, Patrick Johansson (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, W.A.S.P.) on drums, Andreas Olsson (ex-ROYAL HUNT) on bass and Kaspar Dahlqvist (ex-DIONYSUS) on keyboard. The album has now been remastered, and also features 5 bonus tracks and brand new artwork.
This album is simply a must for fans of melodic power metal and so-called neo-classical metal. These songs are really great stuff that you just can't miss.
STORMWIND released 7 albums between 1996 to 2004.
Published: Nov. 17, 2020

ELEINE: Dancing In Hell - Album
(Black Lodge Records - Release date: Nov. 27, 2020)
ELEINE is one of the few symphonic metal bands that I actually like. Now the third album from these Swedes is ready to be released, and it's said to be darker and heavier than before. They are still really good though. Because it's still hard-hitting and melodic metal of the best kind.
When it comes to the lyrical theme, they share stories of inner demons, strength and loss. And they are delivered with passion from an alternative/gothic model. The guitars are heavy, while the vocals are melodic.
Published: Nov. 17, 2020

TOXAEMIA: Where Paths Divide - Album
(Emanzipation Productions - Release date: Nov. 20, 2020)
Death metallers TOXAEMIA formed in January 1989, and was obviously 1 of the early bands from Sweden in this genre. Between 1989 to 1992 they recorded 2 demos and 2 7" EPs. The second EP was never released though, as they decided to take a break. That became a long break though. It wasn't until 2017 that they finally picked up the instruments again.
So now, almost 30 years later, it's finally time for their debut album, "Where Paths Divide", to be released. And this is something for those of you who like it the good old way - "bone-crushing, chainsaw buzzing, gore gushing old school death metal", as the press release says. This is damned good stuff!
Published: Nov. 16, 2020

SPEED STROKE: Scene of the Crime - Album
(Worldwide: Street Symphonies Records/Burning Minds Music Group - Japan: Spiritual Beast/Universal)
SPEED STROKE are 5 guys from Italy who share a common passion for the golden time of rock n roll (which I guess is the 80s in this case), when the scene was full of rock stars (L.A. for example).
The band was founded in 2010, and in 2013 they launched their self titled debut album.
The music is hard/sleaze rock with a modern production, with much focus on good melodies. And this is absolutely not bad. Just listen to a song like "After Dark" for example.
Published: Nov. 16, 2020

SKELETHAL: Unveiling The Threshold - Album
(Hells Headbangers - Release date: Nov. 20, 2020)
French death metallers SKELETHAL made their full length debut with "Of The Depths..." in 2017. 3 years later it's time for the next chapter, "Unveiling The Threshold", which is hardly any nice little lullaby. No, this is stone crusher death of the brutal kind, with a classic and raw sound that will remind you of the Swedish bands from the late 80s and early 90s. I would not call them another copy of those bands though. But sure, they are true to their roots. There's no doubt about that.
This is simply good stuff to bang your head to.
Published: Nov. 16, 2020

Alice Cooper: Rock & Roll - Single
Alice Cooper with his doll
New single with the horror rock legend Alice Cooper then. And this time it's really rocking. It's actually a cover of The VELVET UNDERGROUND, which comes as a surprise to me as I have never heard a song with that band who kicks this much ass (many, many years since I heard them last time though).
His last single, "Don't Give Up", wasn't much to sing hooray for. But if there's more songs of this caliber on the new album, "Detroit Stories" (release date: Feb. 26, 2021), then it will be a damned good record. I don't believe it until I hear it though, but there's obviously lots of hope.
Published: Nov. 16, 2020

ECLIPSE: Viva La VicTOURia - Live release
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Oh, why didn't I go to this show? It was recorded at Trädgår'n in Göteborg, Sweden on December 21, 2019, which is just an hour by bus from where I live (Borås). Fact is that I have never seen this band live, even though I have liked them a lot for a few years now (no, I'm not sure why). On the other hand they made the big mistake to not include my favorites "Come Hell Or High Water" and "Bleed And Scream" in the set list. But that's the only little thing I can complain about, and there's lots of other good songs of course.
To fill out the second disc, they have added some other candy - studio version of the Lisa Miskovsky cover "Driving One Of Your Cars", acoustic versions and some songs from their Quarantine Live session.
Bonus material on the DVD and Blu-ray is interviews with the band, additional footage etc.
"Viva La VicTOURia" is released as 2CD+DVD, Blu-ray and 3LP. It's most likely available on digital platforms as well.
Published: Nov. 15, 2020

GRILLIJONO K.O.: Fuck Me Up Before You Go-Go - Single
(Secret Entertainment)
Even though the title is in English, the lyrics are in Finnish. They call the music turborock, but I would say that it's some kind of hard rock and punk mixture. A pinch of TURBONEGRO actually, but they have their own identity. And this song is absolutely not bad at all. I think you should check it out at once.
This is the second single from their upcoming debut album, which might be a cool record according to the 2 songs that I have heard so far.
The album will be released early next year.
Published: Nov. 15, 2020

BLACK KNIGHT: Tales From The Darkside - Album reissue
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Nov. 20, 2020)
It looks like this Dutch heavy metal band have been active since 1982. But they didn't release any album until 1998. And now that album, "Tales From The Darkside", is going to be re-released. As a bonus they have included 6 live tracks - 1 from 2007, 2 from 2016 and 3 from 2017.
BLACK KNIGHT was not just satisfied with 1 specific influence, but picked the best pieces from British, German and US metal. By doing this they created their own identity, even though it's still classic heavy metal like we all know it. And this is just as good as any other band from the same era.
In 2007 their second album, "The Beast Inside", was released. Their latest album, "Road To Victory", was released in June 2020 (read review).
Published: Nov. 15, 2020

BLACK DIAMONDS: Evil Twin - Single
(Metalapolis Records)
This is a really good sleaze/hard rocker in the good old school. I think of the 80s and L.A. when I hear this. So I would guess that fans of Swedish bands like HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and CRASHDÏET will like this a lot.
It's 3 years since this Swizz band's latest album, "Once Upon A Time", was released. But now they return with this strong single, which is the first one with their new guitarist Chris (who replace Dee).
A new album, titled "No-Tell Hotel", will be released in Spring 2021. And if they have more songs like this, then that album can be really interesting.
Published: Nov. 15, 2020

BISÖNTE: Ancestral Punishment - Album
(Xtreem Music - Release date: Nov. 24, 2020)
This is a very new band, who formed as late as in early 2020. It's a collaboration between guitarist Vincente Payá (GOLGOTHA, UNBOUNDED TERROR) and singer Maria J Lladó. The other members are Andrea Trujillo on bass and Pablo Herrero on drums, both from YOKO FACTOR. The goal was to create something darker and depressing in a doom/stoner vein.
And yes, their music is really heavy, and with much distortion on the bass guitar. This is topped by clean female vocals. Among their influences are bands like WINDHAND, early BLACK SABBATH, MONOLORD, AEONIAN SORROW, AVATARIUM, TROUBLE and CANDLEMASS.
"Ancestral Punishment" consist of 6 conceptual songs, which tell a story about the invasion and destruction by external beings of everything that some believe, possess and love without worrying about what they have to do to defeat them and keep their style of life.
Published: Nov. 15, 2020

BEVERLY KILLZ: Iguana Mulata - Album
(Perris Records)
BEVERLY KILLZ comes from Milano, Italy, but are doing their best to sound like a hair metal band from Los Angeles. Which means that they play classic 80s/90s hard/sleaze rock with big choruses.
The band was formed in 2007, and released their first EP, "Straight From Underground", in 2009. The first full length album, "Gasoline & Broken Hearts", came out in 2012.
On this album we get 10 tracks, and they have some good stuff. There might not be any obvious hit song here, but it sure ain't bad.
Published: Nov. 15, 2020

PUTRID OFFAL: Live at Hellfest - Album
This band might at least be listenable on their studio records. This on the other hand is a bit more noisey, but still the same intense experience. But if you like it extreme and have nothing against lack of variation, then this might be something for you.
"Live at Hellfest" was recorded at France's Hellfest, and came as a bonus DVD to the collector first print of the new studio album, "Sicknesses Obsessions" (released on Sep. 11), that got sold out in just 3 days. It is now available digitally, both as audio and video.
The music is death/grind by the way. And as it's so fast and intense, the songs are pretty short (around 2-3 min.), so this is over in something like half an hour I would guess.
Published: Nov. 14, 2020

The OUTLAWS: Live At Rockpalast 1981 - CD+DVD
In the summer of 1981 the American southern rock band The OUTLAWS showed the German audience how it's supposed to be done. It sounds like it was an explosive show with a lot of energy. The only thing I can complain about is that they have included both a drum and several guitar solos towards the end of the show. How they could have any energy left for that is a mystery. I guess they were young and filled with testosterone and adrenaline, because the second last song (with all those solos) are actually 20 minutes long. And another thing to complain about is that we have to listen to the audience for several minutes before they finally enter the stage again for 1 last number. And then they end that song with even more guitar solos. But other than that it's all good.
The OUTLAWS are still alive today, and released their latest studio album, "Dixie Highway", in February this year. There's not a word about this live album/DVD on their official website, so I don't know it's an official release or not.
Published: Nov. 14, 2020

LEADERS AND LUNATICS: No Fear Of Repercussion - EP
(Self released on Nov. 22, 2020)
Hm, this was weird. Instead of vocals they have sampled speeches by Donald Trump, Sacha Baron Cohen, Charlie Chaplin and Prince Andrew. A different way of doing it, but actually not so interesting. The music is probably best described as alternative guitar rock. They compare themselves with acts like RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, AUDIOSLAVE and GUNS N' ROSES though.
LEADERS AND LUNATICS are an Irish/Polish band based in Dublin, Ireland, and this is their debut EP. The band was created during lockdown, and this is their way of tackling timely subjects like Black Lives Matter, Trump, Epstein, Prince Andrew and the pitfalls of social media.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020

NULL RAYS: Nocturnal Sun - Album
(Self released)
This album seems to feature something like 10 musicians. But some of them just play on 1 track, while others play on a few more. Lead singer Jason Carpenter is the only one that is featured on all 17 tracks. Yes, 17 tracks! That's way too much, sir. And the first time I heard this album it all sounded more or less the same. But it wasn's so bad anyway. ..until I came to the last tracks, which were very boring.
But already the second time I could hear some more potential in some of the songs. So I guess it's not totally useless anyway. But they could easily have thrown away 5-6 songs, becuse this album last for as long as 56 minutes.
The music then.. Yeah, how can I describe that then? Some kind of alternative heavy rock/metal maybe? They call it hard rock/metal themselves.
It seems like this band existed under the name NOCTURNAL SUN between 1997-2009. In 2020 they reformed as NULL RAYS to release a studio album of new material, and here's the result.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020

(Self released)
UTILITARIAN let the adrenaline flow with their blend of hardcore/punk and extreme metal. It's an explosive and angry protest against injustice, and a belief that we all are born equally. They are simply not happy with what our society has become, and doesn't seems to have much left for cops.
We get 3 original songs, plus covers of DOOM's "Police Bastard" and "Police Truck" by DEAD KENNEDYS. "Anarchy (Justice Without Order)" features 2 special guests: drummer Andy Whale (BOLT THROWER, MEMORIAM, DARKENED) and guitarist Paul Nazarkardeh (DE PROFUNDIS, FORMICARIUS).
This is absolutely worth checking out for both hardcore punks and thrash metallers, becuse this is really good stuff.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020

SLEAFORD MODS: Mork n Mindy - Single
(Rough Trade)
SLEAFORD MODS are just as weird as usual, so no surprise there. This song is more in their electronic/hip hop style, and not really my taste. I like it better when they add some punk attitude.
So just because of that I won't say anything else. O.k.?
Published: Nov. 12, 2020

Old Kerry McKee: Mono Secular Sounds - Album
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
I have been writing about the singles from this man, but now the album is here, which gives us a firework of raw blues with elements of both punk and metal, as well as dark American country and folk music. This doesn't really sound like anything else that I have heard, so I have nothing to compare this with.
This is a pretty cool record that you really should check out.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020

FLUSH: It Began As A Mistake - Album
(Concorde Music Company)
FLUSH play a very catchy and melodic kind of punk rock/power pop, which is compared with HÜSKER DÜ and BAD RELIGION, but with hard rock guitar riffs. But there's also room for a faster punk attack ("Two-Minute Punk Song") and a softer piece ("Chemicals and Conversation").
The band comes from Helsinki, Finland, and this is their debut album (they have previously released a EP). They have many good songs among these 13 tracks, no doubt about that, but I just don't know what else to say about this. So just let the catchy music do the talking instead.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020

ENIGMA EXPERIENCE: Question Mark - Album
(Fuzzorama Records - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
Are they going to start rocking sometime? Obviously not as they continue to play slow. Weird way to start an album I think, and hope that the next track is better. But as this first track is almost 11 minutes, it takes an eternity before it's over. That makes me lose interest.
The other tracks are shorter though, just around 2:49 to 7:49 minutes. And there are some more catchy pieces here too, even though most of this album works as background music and nothing else. The most action-filled track must be the last song, "The Zone", which is just a little bit better than the rest.
ENIGMA EXPERIENCE is a Swedish/Norwegian heavy rock band with Niklas "Mr. Dango" Källgren (TRUCKFIGHTERS), Oscar "Pezo" Johansson (ex-TRUCKFIGHTERS, WITCHCRAFT) and Maurice Adams (BREED, ex-MOTORFINGER). You could say that the music that these guys create is a mixture of acoustic, atmospheric parts and fuzz. It's mainly Mr. Dango's little project.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020

VHÄLDEMAR: Straight To Hell - Album
(Fighter Records/MDD Records/Red Rivet Records)
Spanish heavy metal band VHÄLDEMAR has just released their 6th album. And what we get is the usual traditional heavy metal that we all like. Think of your favorite bands from the 80s, and you will get a good idea about their sound. Really good stuff anyway. No doubt about that.
The band has been around since the late 90s. The debut album, "Fight To The End", came out in March 2002. And it has been rolling on ever since.
Good stuff for good people.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020

DEATHLESS DOGS: Five Across The Eyes - EP
(Self released on Nov. 11, 2020)
DEATHLESS DOGS are described as "an energetic, whiskey-fueled, blues rock duo from La Crosse, WI". The band was started in 2010, and they have so far released 3 albums by themselves. Their influences of ROLLING STONES, HEARTLESS BASTARDS, QUEEN OF THE STONE AGE and CLUTCH gives them a hard driving rock n roll sound. I guess we can call it hard rocking blues or something like that.
The first track, "Wages", is not so interesting. The second song, "Broken Years", is just o.k. "Scania" and "Faceplant" is a little bit better though. And the fifth and last track, "Bring It In", is also o.k.
What this band miss is a song that is extra good, because I can't hear it on this EP anyway. And even though the songs are not that long, approximately 2-5 minutes, it's like most of them last for too long.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020

BEHIND THE HORROR: Burn Up This Truth - EP
(Self released)
This metal band was founded by the 2 brothers Gabriel (guitar) and Lucas (drums) Alves. They released their debut EP, "...and The Horror Begins", in 2013. 7 years later they deliver their first full length album, "Burn Up This Truth", which consist of 7 tracks. The music is powerful, and have elements of progressive metal. I guess that we can call this thrash metal, even though it's not the kind of thrash that we are familiar with. The singer actually sounds like an angry Dee Snider (TWISTED SISTER).
Well, they are pretty good at what they are doing here, so I have nothing to complain about.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020

SHADOW TRIBE: Reality Unveiled - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
Finnish bass player Marko Pukkila (ALTARIA, STARGAZERY) has joined forces with vocalist Kimmo Perämäki (ex-CELESTY, SPIRITUS MORTIS, MASQUERAGE) in a new band called SHADOW TRIBE. The lineup is rounded out by Simo Pirttimaa on guitar and Petri Heinonen (KING SATAN) on drums.
Now they presents their debut album, "Reality Unveiled", which is filled with catchy melodies, even though there's a few heavier riffs too. The music is melodic hard rock/metal, and it sounds really good to me. Fans of European melodic hard rock and metal should definitely check this out.
Published: Nov. 10, 2020

LAZARUS DREAM: Alive - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
This seems to be a new German project featuring multi-instrumentalist Markus Pfeffer (SCARLETT, WINTERLAND) and vocalist Carsten Lizard Schulz (EVIDENCE ONE, DOMAIN, DEAD END HEROES, MIDNITE CLUB). Markus handle most instruments here, but drums are played by Markus Kullmann (SINNER, VOODOO CIRCLE, Glenn Hughes). Some other guests are percussionist Thomas Rieder, Sabrina Roth on flute and Thomas Nitschke on hammond and synths.
LAZARUS DREAM play what I would call timeless melodic hard rock, and I think that they do it very good. You should absolutely give them a chance.
Published: Nov. 10, 2020

Brad Brooks: God Save The City - Album
(Mouth Magic Music - Release date: Nov. 20, 2020)
Some soft and soulful rock dude that sounds like he's stuck in the 70s. I have absolutely heard better, but Brad is not totally useless though, I should add. But he's far away from the most interesting rock artist. Much because he also has a softer side, which I don't like that much.
Brad Brooks comes from Bay Area, and released his last album, "Harmony of Passing Light", in 2012. He was compared with artists like Elvis Costello, Wilco, Brian Wilson and QUEEN. He planned to head right back into the studio to record another album. But then he found out that he had throat cancer, and had to fight for his life instead. Luckily he made a full recovery, and now his back again.
Published: Nov. 10, 2020

PERIPHERY: Live in London - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
Sometimes they are stone hard and aggressive, sometimes soft and melodic, other times somewhere in-between that and then some. As you probably can understand, this is a very schizophrenic story that doesn't really fit Mr. Jimmy (me).
Mr. Göran (friend) and similar people, who actually like progressive music, might like this though.
"Live In London" is the band's first live album. It was, as the title says, recorded in London on November 15 last year. And they start with a song that is 18:16 minutes long. The songs after that is a little bit shorter though (3:46-9:28 min.).
Published: Nov. 9, 2020

GHØSTKID: Ghøstkid - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
GHØSTKID is Sebastian "Sushi" Biesler's (ex-ESKIMO CALLBOY) new group. He has teamed up with some friends for this debut album, where they blend darkness, heavy riffs and melodic melodies. His inspiration comes from Marilyn Manson, FEVER 333 and BRING ME THE HORIZON, if that gives you a better idea about the sound. But if it doesn't, then I would say that it's a wild mixture of nu metal, industrial and pop.
I'm not really sure what genre I should put this in, which some people see as something positive, but it sure ain't positive to me who want to give you a good description of the band. Modern, alternative, nu metal with pop melodies might work though.
Oh yeah, we have some guests here as well: Marcus Biscoff (HEAVEN SHALL BURN) on 1 song and Mille Petrozza (KREATOR) on 1 song. And 1 song is available in 2 versions, with Timi Hendrix (TRAILERPARK) on one and Johnny 3 Tears (HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD) on the other.
Published: Nov. 9, 2020

ANTI-LAM FRONT: Soloalbum - Album
(Second Class Kids Records)
ANTI-LAM FRONT waste no time, but start to sing immediately. They play a melodic kind of punk rock, which we use to call skate punk. Their lyrics are all in Norwegian, and I would guess that they are inspired by both American bands as well as Swedish bands.
A small problem is that almost every song sound the same after a while, even though there's a few exceptions, like some other instrument than the usual or female vocals instead of male for example. This is absolutely not bad though. And sometimes they are even a little extra good.
People who like American melodic punk rock and skate punk, as well as Swedish trallpunk should like this a lot.
Published: Nov. 8, 2020

PUTERAEON: The Cthulhian Pulse, Call From The Dead City - Album
(Emanzipation Productions - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
Lindblood with Puteraeon at Sticky Fingers
PUTERAEON deliver a crushing form of old school death metal. But it's also dark and melodic, at the same time. I really like what I hear here! This is really good.
This Swedish band was formed in 2008 by guitarist/vocalist Jonas Lindblood (TAETRE), and he released 3 demos between 2008-2009. But before recording the debut album, "The Esoteric Order", he recruited some other guys and PUTERAEON became a real band.
This is their 4th full length, which was mixed and mastered by no other than the legendary Dan Swanö (ASPHYX, BLOODBATH, CENTINEX etc etc).
They might already be familiar in the underground scene, but with this album they seems to be ready for the next step and compete with their heroes. This is just as good as any of the veteran bands that we all have heard.
Published: Nov. 7, 2020

MERIDIAN: Taking Cover - EP
(Mighty Music)
Danish melodic hard rockers MERIDIAN presents 6 covers from various genres. Everything is not rock, but it's a damned good record anyway. No doubt about that.
They are pretty true to the original versions, so no surprises there. And the artists they have choosen here are: SKAGARACK, A-HA, RANDY, Gary Moore and Phil Lynott, VAN HALEN, and Phil Collins.
So if you are into more melodic (hard) rock, then this is a must at your next party.
I just wonder when the local AOR/melodic rock band JD MILLER is going to make a covers album? Before Covid-19 they used to play acoustic covers at the pubs here in Borås, Sweden on a regular basis.
Published: Nov. 5, 2020

MERCYLESS: Sovereign Evil - EP
Death metallers MERCYLESS released their latest full length, "The Mother of All Plagues", in August this year. Now they release this digital EP, featuring covers of HELLHAMMER, VENOM, POSSESSED and MOTÖRHEAD. These songs were recorded as bonus tracks, and they recorded them live in the rehearsal room to get a raw 80s sound.
As far as I can hear, they have done a really good job here. It might not be any unique or different versions though, as they are pretty true to the originals. But you still want to hear this.
Published: Nov. 5, 2020

LION'S SHARE: Aim Higher - Single
(Self released)
Hard rock with heavy guitars, or simply heavy metal. And this is a catchy and very good single, that you absolutely should check out.
LION'S SHARE is a Swedish band. Their latest record was a 5-track EP in 2018. But they have also released their complete catalog on digital platforms. The band has since then released a few digital singles, some of which will and some of which won't end up on the forthcoming full-length album.
Published: Nov. 5, 2020

(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Nov. 11, 2020)
Swedish heavy metal band MINDLESS SINNER started as PURPLE HAZE in 1981, changed it to GENOCIDE, and then finally MINDLESS SINNER. And what we get on this vinyl is their first 4-track EP, "Master Of Evil" (1984) and a 5-track demo recording from 1983.
When I have heard their latest albums, "The New Messiah" (2015) and "Poltergeist" (2020), I have mentioned IRON MAIDEN as a big influence. But on these early recordings it sounds more raw and intense, and more like they were inspired by the whole NWOBHM scene, and not just 1 band. There's also influences from other Swedish bands from the same era. It's still very good though, so you should absolutely check this out.
Published: Nov. 5, 2020

TRIP 6: Spit - Album
(Dark Star Records - Release date: Nov. 6, 2020)
Chicago band TRIP 6 are angry, but play heavy and groovy. Among their influences are BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER, PANTERA and MOTÖRHEAD. So I guess we can label this as heavy/groove metal. Or why not "a modern touch to old school metal"?, as it says in the press release.
Whatever you decide to call this, it's not so bad. They have a good song here and there on this album, so it could be worth a try.
I don't have much else to add..
Published: Nov. 5, 2020

STARDUST: Highway To Heartbreak - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Their record label go out hard and claim that "STARDUST is one of the hottest new AOR bands to come out of the underground European scene." The band play AOR/melodic rock with catchy melodies and hooky choruses. They have previously released a EP by themselves.
Now they are becoming worldwide with their debut album, "Highway To Heartbreak", where they have got a helping hand with songwriting and production from Mark Spiro (BAD ENGLISH, HOUSE OF LORDS, GIANT) and Swedish guitar hero Tommy Denander.
And sure, this is absolutely not bad at all. They have plenty of strong material on this album. Which means that it's pretty obvious that you have to check this out at once.
Published: Nov. 4, 2020

SINNER'S BLOOD: The Mirror Star - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
SINNER'S BLOOD is a new band from Chile, who play powerful melodic metal. You can find elements of both heavy metal and power metal in their songs, and they pick pieces from both old and new favorite artists. It sounds very professional for being a new band, but at least 2 of the guys have many years of experience from other bands.
They have many good songs here, but the ballad should have fit better on a pop album. Then it would probably have become a hit as well. I'm not so impressed about it though. But that's the only song that I don't like here.
Published: Nov. 4, 2020

PRIDE OF LIONS: Lion Heart - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
This is an album full of great melodic rock, that should make 80s nostalgics happy. This genre has not changed that much through the years. But on the other hand it doesn't really have to either, as it's great as it is. And PRIDE OF LIONS is a good example of that.
PRIDE OF LIONS features Jim Peterik (The IDES OF MARCH, ex-SURVIVOR) and Toby Hitchcock. Jim is probably most well-known for being co-writer of the 80s hit "Eye Of The Tiger" (SURVIVOR), from the classic film "Rocky III". But he has also been writing songs with bands like 38. SPECIAL and LYNYRD SKYNYRD. What Toby has done is a mystery though, as I didn't succeed to find that much information about him. He is an American powerhouse vocalist they say anyway, and sing is something that he really can do.
"Lion Heart" is their 6th album. Best song is "Flagship", which has a chorus to die for.
Published: Nov. 4, 2020

DGM: Tragic Seperation - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
DGM is an Italian progressive metal band, who recently released their 10th studio album, "Tragic Seperation". It seems to be their first new album since "The Passage" was released in 2016. "Tragic Separation" is a concept album about life and everyone's path they go down between the choices they make and the subsequent consequences they bring to human lives.
To me the music is mainly melodic metal. But sure, they don't always take the easiest way through a song or play the most easy things. In this case it's not extremely progressive though. They seems to have the good taste to concentrate on making good songs, and they succeed with that according to me.
Published: Nov. 4, 2020

HUMANITY IS CANCER: Humanity Is Cancer - EP
(Redefining Darkness Records - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
This is a very stressful band. Hard and intense stuff that is a little too much for my poor nerves. Now there's just 4 songs here, but that's more than enough for me.
I guess this is supposed to be death metal, but it sounds more like metalcore, or possibly deathcore, to me. It didn't make me happy anyway, but I guess you have figured that out already (and it's probably not supposed to make people happy anyway).
HUMANITY IS CANCER comes from Cleveland, OH, and says that they acts as a reflection of society. The band was created as a writing outlet for Thomas Haywood (ex-ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, SYSTEM DIVIDE, ABORTED) since his departure from the extreme music world in 2010. Their goal seems to be to combine the heaviness and raw energy of classic death metal with the brutality and ferocity of modern extremists.
Published: Nov. 3, 2020

HANGING FORTRESS: Darkness Devours - Album
(Redefining Darkness Records - Release date: Nov. 6, 2020)
Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, HANGING FORTRESS play a hardcore-infused kind of death metal that is more influenced by the American scene than the Scandinavian. So don't expect the classic old school style here.
Does it sound any good then? Well, that depends on what you like my friend. The first track, for example, is very heavy with deep growl and much reverb. That could be something for fans of doom/death metal. The second track is faster and a bit chaotic, but still with the same kind of vocal sound, plus some heavier parts too.
And they continue like that.. Sometimes it's heavy, sometimes fast. There should have been less reverb on the vocals though. But on the other hand they are not the strongest death band on the planet.
Published: Nov. 3, 2020

SOULSKINNER: Seven Bowls of Wrath - Album
(Xtreem Music - Release date: Nov. 11, 2020)
SOULSKINNER was first formed under the name of TERRA TENEBRAE in 1997. Under that name they released a 3-track demo and 1 album, before they changed the name of the band to SOULSKINNER in 2000. Under that name they have released some more albums, as well as some split EPs. "Seven Bowls of Wrath" is their fifth album.
The music that SOULSKINNER play is death metal. Brutality meets heaviness and epic melodies in a wild mixture. They go their own way, but at the same time it's not something totally different and unique.
Published: Nov. 2, 2020

DIAMOND CHAZER: Chasing Diamonds - Album
(Fighter Records/Nuclear Nightmare Records - Release date: Nov. 3, 2020)
DIAMOND CHAZER is a heavy metal band from Medellín, Colombia, who formed in October 2017. Their music is not such a big surprise, as it's the traditional 80s style, but with some keyboard. We get lots of melodies and catchy riffs here, and their influences are taken from such various places as NWOBHM, French heavy metal, AOR and speed metal.
Their first single, "Stranger Things", was recorded in February 2018, and in April they were back in the studio to record their first EP, "Chained in Tokyo". A 2-track single, "Diamond Chazer/Poltergeist", was released in 2019.
Their first full length, "Chasing Diamonds", is actually a compilation of their previous releases, plus 3 unreleased songs (1 of them is a cover of Swedish band GOTHAM CITY). And these songs sounds very good to me. This is an album full of great songs. So if it's classic heavy metal that you want, then you should absolutely give this band a try.
DIAMOND CHAZER are currently working on new songs. I look forward to hear that, but we will have to wait until next year before that album is released.
Published: Nov. 2, 2020

FORSAKEN AGE: Heavy Metal Nightmare - Album
(Pure Steel Publishing - Release date: Nov. 6, 2020)
FORSAKEN AGE comes from Auckland, New Zealand, and have been active since 2009. They have made a few recordings through the years, but only 1 album and a EP has been released so far. That's about to change though, as their second album, "Heavy Metal Nightmare", is ready to be released.
Their musical style is 80s heavy metal, and I guess they try to be catchy and melodic. You could say that they're somehwere between the German 80s bands and NWOBHM. And the first times I heard this I actually thought that the singer was too weak. But now that I got used to her voice, it's not so bad as I first thought.
This is really good, but it could probably have been so much better with vocals like Rob Halford for example. But she can actually sing both loud and nasty. She should just do it more often.
I guess it's also worth to mention that Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-JUDAS PRIEST, Yngwie Malmsteen) is doing guest vocals on the second track, "Raven's Cry".
Published: Nov. 1, 2020

GARMARNA: Förbundet - Album
(Season Of Mist - Release date: Nov. 6, 2020)
So, Swedish modern folk music then? Not really what I use to listen to on a daily basis. Weird lyrics that are evil stories about love and death. Not exactly any happy songs, as this is pretty dark music. A little too monotonous (especially the vocals, which sounds like 2 women singing harmonies), but I guess they have some o.k. parts here and there anyway. Hardly album of the year though. The best song here is actually the ballad, "Vägskäl".
But now I'm absolutely not an expert when it comes to this kind of music, and it looks like GARMARNA has been around for something like 30 years, and released 6 albums. And even though they sing in Swedish, they have done succees all over the world and been on the top of charts in U.S.A., France and Sweden. So people who like this music should probably give them a try.
Published: Nov. 1, 2020

NUCLEAR: Murder of Crows - Album
(Black Lodge Records - Release date: Nov. 13, 2020)
NUCLEAR is a thrash/death metal band from Chile. Their first album, "Heaven Denied", was released in 2006. And now, after 5 years of silence, their 6th album is here, which gives us both violent and fast songs, as well as some heavier tracks. I have definitely heard worse than this in my life, because this is not bad at all. This is a band that you should check out, and especially if you miss the 90s.
Published: Nov. 1, 2020

NEPTUNE: Northern Steel - Album
(Melodic Passion Records - Release date: Nov. 6, 2020)
This Swedish heavy metal band started back in the late 70s/early 80s sometime. After several demos (that never was officially released) they decided to record an album, and even succeeded to make a record label so interested that they wanted to pay for the recording. Unfortunately nothing happened with that album, so they recorded some more demos before they split up.
And that could have been the end of the story. But it's obviously not. Because in 2003, without the band's knowledge, 1 of their demos, "Enemies", was suddenly released on a compilation album called "Metal Knights - The Resurgence of Swedish Steel". In addition to this, some of their old demos had leaked on YouTube and other sites. And in late fall/autumn 2017 a Greek label contacted 1 of the members to ask if they would like to release their demos on both CD and vinyl. They said yes, and since then they have reunited and released a digital EP.
On NEPTUNE's first real album, "Northern Steel", they deliver just what the title says. It's good old heavy metal in the heavier league, yet catchy and melodic. Fans of old Swedish bands like MADISON, 220 VOLT, HEAVY LOAD, early EUROPE, SILVER MOUNTAIN and GLORY should enjoy this.
We also get guest apperances from people like Pontus Norgren (HAMMERFALL), Euge Valovirta (CYHRA) and Lars Chriss (LION'S SHARE).
Published: Nov. 1, 2020

NACARBIDE: Iron Lotus - Album
(Self released)
Female-fronted heavy metal from Thailand. How often do you hear about that? Not too often I suppose, unless you live in Thailand then. But here we have one.
NACARBIDE are heavily influenced by Japanese metal, NWOBHM, hair metal and German metal from the 80s. And I actually thought that they were from Japan, as they sound a lot like the Japanese bands use to do. The band is based in Bangkok, but the members are from both Thailand and Japan.
The singer is really going all in for king and motherland (Swedish expression). Luckily she have the good taste to calm down a little too, so it's not a problem. And this is absolutely not bad. These guys really know how to play, and they have some really good songs on this album, so I really think that you should give this a try.
"Iron Lotus" is their second album, which was released earlier this year.
Published: Nov. 1, 2020

MÖGEL: ÖKA! - Single
This is not the MÖGEL from Borås, Sweden, but the old female band from Stockholm, who originally existed in the 80s. Since 2018 they are back, and have previously released 2 singles since then.
I would rather call this a rock song with punk attitude than a pure punk song, but the old punks seems to like it a lot. It's very catchy and energetic though, and it has something that I like, so it's absolutely not a bad song.
This is the first recording with their new drummer Anna Lund. And the lyrics is about all the pressure that makes us sick, and the eternal fight to produce more and more until you crawl.
Published: Nov. 1, 2020

DEAD HEAD: Kill Division - Album reissue
(Petrichor - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
DEAD HEAD was formed in 1989 in the Zwolle/Kampen area in The Netherlands. They released several demos and 2 full length albums before this third album, "Kill Division", was released. This album will now be released as a double CD and LP (with download card). The CD also includes all demos and a SLAYER cover.
The music that we get here is pretty brutal and intense thrash metal. It's raw and dirty without any excuses. In other words just like it was meant to be. It might not be a masterpiece, but it sure ain't bad at all.
DEAD HEAD is not just an old band from the past though, as they will release a brand new album in 2021.
Order via:
Published: Oct. 30, 2020

REACH: Young Again - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
REACH want to seduce us all with the thought of being young again.
..and once again they start the song like it would be a pop song, and then it turn into a very catchy and melodic rock song, with elements of pop. Pretty o.k. somehow, and a strong chorus as well. Not bad at all.
This Swedish trio seems to have many different shapes of their music. Something they all seems to have in common is a catchy pop melody somewhere. But their roots seems to be in rock music of the melodic kind.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020

PUTRID OFFAL: Necrotic Mutilation (Live at Hellfest 2017) - Single
Their latest studio album, "Sicknesses Obsessions", was released in September. But they are already now getting ready to release their next record, a live album/video, titled "Live at Hellfest", which will be released on November 13. It was filmed and recorded at the Hellfest festival in 2017, and "Necrotic Mutilation" is a first taste of this release.
This song is delivered like an avalanche straight at you. Gore death/grind made to slaughter everything in its way. Bad sound quality and noisey.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020

PURGATORIUM: Titan - Single
(Discouraged Records)
This band was originally formed back in 1989 in Tavelsjö (outside of Umeå), Sweden. They released 3 demo tapes before they went seperate ways in 1995. In 2016 the band was back again, and started to work on some new material.
"Titan" is their first new music in 25 years. It's both a contemporary and old school death metal song in the heavier league. And the theme of this song is "the demise of mankind and religious beliefs trying to withstand the awakening of a gruesomely strong Furia taking back what is Her's."
Published: Oct. 28, 2020

NIGHTRAGE: Frozen Halflight Atmosphere - Single
(Despotz Records)
O.k., yet another single (the third) from the re-release of their first demo, which was recorded in 2000 but has never been released before. But to celebrate the band's 20-year anniversary, they will finally release this recording on December 4. They are also working on a brand new album.
Anyway.. It's another fantastic song with much more melody than the other songs that I have heard so far. I think it will be very interesting to hear the whole demo, because it seems like they had really strong songs already from the beginning.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020

Jakob Samuel: End Of Days - Single
(Ninetone Records)
Jakob Samuel is the frontman of Swedish hard rockers The POODLES. But he has through the years also been working with several other musicians. Now it's time to try his own wings with a solo career as well, and "End Of Days" is a taste of that.
This song is a declaration of love for his children, so no, it's hardly the hardest rocker in town that we get here. This sounds more like a pop song to me actually, even though there's some kind rock too. It's not bad though, but I think he can do a lot better than this.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020

HELLZ: We Want Rock - Single
(Self released)
HELLZ is a solo adventure with Lisa Perry. And her music is said to fit fans of VIXEN, IN THIS MOMENT and HAILSTORM. But to me "We Want Rock" reminds me more of the Swedish hard rock n roll chicks THUNDERMOTHER. So AC/DC with lots of female attitude you could say. Not a bad song anyway, so check it out.
This is the 10th single from HELLZ in 2020. Seems like she's a really productive woman, who really love what she's doing. Respect for that.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020

ARCHITECTS: Animals - Single
(Epitaph Records)
Once upon a time Epitaph actually released good punk rock records. Nowadays they release stuff like this. Some kind of nu metal (they call it post-metalcore though) that doesn't give me that much. Heavy guitars and melodic vocals. You should know the game.
ARCHITECTS has released 8 albums so far. "Animals" is a first taste of their 9th album, "For Those Who Wish To Exist", which will be released on February 26, 2021.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020

WYTCH HAZEL: III, Pentecost - Album
(Bad Omen Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
Really nice classic hard rock/heavy metal with lots of nice melodies and twin-guitars. Not the hardest stuff, but damned good. This band actually seems to focus on making excellent songs, which I really like. Just like they did back in the 70s. And this band obviously take their influences from that era, and bands like JETHRO TULL, THIN LIZZY, WISHBONE ASH, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and BLACK SABBATH. But I guess we can also mention a more modern band like GHOST for example.
The band, who comes from Lancashire in England, was actually aiming for an album full of hits. And there is no fillers here, so they have almost succeeded with that. Almost as these songs might not be any hits. Still so damned good that you just have to check them out though.
This is the third album from WYTCH HAZEL.
Published: Oct. 27, 2020

v/a BROWN ACID: The Eleventh Trip - Compilation
(RidingEasy Records - Release date: Oct. 31, 2020)
As I have said before, these compilations of long-lost vintage 60s-70s proto-metal and stoner rock singles are excellent. Usually we get a big doze of early hard rock, heavy psych and proto-metal. But this time I think it sounds more like heavy rock. Still damned good though, and there's still some of the proto and psych stuff here, so don't worry.
What we get here is as usual long-lost, rare, and unreleased songs with 10 North American acts that you probably never ever have heard of. And these are: Adam Wind, GRUMP, BAGSHOT ROW, Larry Lynn, RENAISSANCE FAIR, ZENDIK, DAY BREAK, WEST MINIST'R, Debb Johnson and Crazy Jerry.
Just like all other volumes in this series, this is a must-have!
Published: Oct. 27, 2020

THRUST: The Helm of Awe - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
US metal band THRUST released their debut album, "Fist Held High", in 1984. Not much else happened until 2002, when they were back again with a new album, "Invitation To Insanity". Then we had to wait until 2015 before another album, "Reincarnation", was released, which was followed by "Harvest Of Souls" in 2018.
But this time we didn't have to wait so long for a new album from the boys. Just 2 years. And what we get is classic heavy metal that is both catchy and melodic. Some tracks are more epic, while some are more straight or groovy. And this is absolutely not bad at all. I think it could be of interest for fans of IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and DIO.
Published: Oct 27, 2020

SARCOPTES: Plague Hymns - EP
(Transcending Obscurity Records)
This American duo blend thrash and death metal influences with epic black metal. But that's not all elements that are involved in these 2 tracks. They have created something that sounds like their own identity, where the songs are like a long epic journey filled with action.
"The Vertigo Soul" is 6:48 minutes, while "La Moria Grandissima" is 10:44 minutes long. And somehow they actually succeed to keep me interested all the way through the songs, so they must be doing something right at least.
A new full length is in the works.
Published: Oct. 27, 2020

SARCATOR: Sarcator - Album
(Redefining Darkness Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
SARCATOR is made up of some 16-20 year old Swedes, and 1 of them happens to be the son of Marko Tervonen (The CROWN). This is their debut album, which gives us some death/thrash metal in the good old way. And these boys really know how to deliver the goods, because this tastes very good to me. This self titled album is a really strong debut.
With this album they show us all that there's still hope for the future of old school death/thrash, and I hope to hear more from this band.
Published: Oct. 27, 2020

NIVIANE: The Ruthless Divine - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
California heavy/power metal band NIVIANE have been around since 2014, and released their debut album, "The Druid King", in 2017. Now they have signed with German label Pure Steel Records, and will release their second album in the end of the month.
Their music is aggressive like JUDAS PRIEST, but yet melodic like a German power metal band. They blend both the American and European styles of metal, and it all end up in a powerful sound with a very good production. This is very good stuff!
But even though it's good, a small minus would be that these 10 tracks last for over an hour. That's a little too long actually. But otherwise, nothing to complain about.
Published: Oct. 27, 2020

NETHERBLADE: Reborn - Album
(Dark Hammer Legion/Volcano Records)
Italian thrashers NETHERBLADE has just released their first full length album, "Reborn", which has been preceded by a couple of singles and a EP. The music is pure old school thrash, so no news here. It's both catchy and intense, and their songs are really good. You should absolutely give this band a try.
NETHERBLADE was born in 2016 out of the ashes of Milan metal band BLINDEATH, and their music is compared with legends like EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, ARTILLERY, and even old MACHINE HEAD.
Published: Oct. 26, 2020

MUD CITY MANGLERS: Give Me The Hammer - LP
(Beluga Records/Ghost Highway Recording/Spaghetty Town Records - Release date: Oct. 31, 2020)
MUD CITY MANGLERS has been playing their garage rock with punk attitude since 1996, but this is just their second full length album. It's pretty loud and angry for being garage rock, and sounds more like punk to me, so they absolutely kick ass. These songs are full of energy.
What else should I say then? I would guess that fans of a band like NASHVILLE PUSSY or maybe even early The HELLACOPTERS could like this.
Published: Oct. 26, 2020


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