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REVIEWS 2021 - Page 3

Page 2   Index

RENEGADE ANGEL: Forevermore - Single
(Self released on April 23)
This song has a metal ballad feeling, ",paying homage to nostalgic chord progressions that pull at the heartstrings with their sense of familiarity", as they describe it in the press release. In other words pretty soft, but I think it's o.k. at least. Not much else though. They have to make stronger songs that this if they really want to impress.
facebook.com/AngelRenega
Published: April 19

REACH: The Promise of a Life - Album
(Icons Creating Evil Art on April 23)
This would probably fit perfect for the Swedish outtakes to Eurovision Song Contest. So I call it schlager rock. It's a mixture of rock guitars and pop melodies. But they are not afraid to spice it with all kinds of unexpected (at least for a rocker) genres. And these genres are neither rock or pop, but sounds more like cabare music to me. It's a funny little thing with this band that makes them interesting and unique. But they don't add that little touch to every song though, just a few.
They succeed to do something good once in a while, and their strongest card is the choruses, which are very hit friendly. I guess that fans of modern rock with melody could like this band. Or fans of the adventures of a band like QUEEN for example.
REACH is a Swedish trio founded in 2012.
facebook.com/reachofficialsweden   icea.se
Published: April 19

POVERTY'S NO CRIME: A Secret To Hide - Album
(Metalville Records on April 30)
This German band celebrate their 30th anniversary, and it's 5 years since their last album was released. "A Secret To Hide" is their 8th album, which is a progressive metal and rock adventure in 8 acts. The songs are around 6-10 minutes long.
Now progressive metal and rock might not tell you that much about their sound, so if I'm going to be more specific I would say that it's hard melodic rock music. Sometimes more rock, sometimes more metal, but always catchy and melodic. They are not too complicated. It simply sounds like real songs and not just a technical mess. And I like what I hear here. This is one of few progressive albums that are worth listening to.
Due to the lockdown, the members recorded their parts in their own bedroom, kitchen or living room. That's nothing that you can hear though.
metalville.de
Published: April 18

NINKHARSAG: The Dread March Of Solemn Gods - Album
(Vendetta Records on April 30)
NINKHARSAG formed in 2009 to create cold and majestic black metal in the good old way, with inspiration from legends like MERCYFUL FATE, BATHORY and METALLICA, as well as Scandinavian 90s acts like EMPEROR, DESSECTION and MAYHEM. Their debut album, "The Blood of Celestial Kings", was released in 2015. And now it's time for their second attack.
Vocals and drums are violently aggressive, while the guitars produce beautiful melodies. It's almost like a mix of black metal and heavy metal. And that makes this band a little extra good according to me. I really like this album!
Not that I have any greater knowledge of the British black metal scene of today, but to me this is one of the most interesting bands in this genre from UK right now.
ninkharsag.bandcamp.com   vendettarecords.de
Published: April 18

MOTHER ROAD: Drive - Album
(Metalapolis Records on April 23)
MOTHER ROAD was born out of the ashes of SOUL DOCTOR (from Germany) and STEELHOUSE LANE (from USA), to create a modern version of 70s bands like FREE, BAD COMPANY and early WHITESNAKE. Their debut album, "Drive", was released in May 2014, and is nowadays almost sold out. But when their latest album, "II", was released a few months ago, people started to ask for that first album. So the record company, Metalapolis Records, got the idea to re-release the debut.
Said and done, and now it's here. And this sounds really good to me, as it really sounds like one of those bluesy hard rock bands from the 70s. So this is something that you really should check out.
metalapolis.eu
Published: April 18

CONCLAVE: Dawn Of Days - Album
(Argonauta Records on April 23)
This might be something for those of you who like it heavy.
CONCLAVE is a doom metal band from Massachusetts, USA. Their last album, "Sins Of The Elders", came out in 2016. But now a new album is finally ready to be released.
This album is filled with heavy riffs and hypnotic guitars. Sometimes it's melancholy and acoustic, and sometimes they just crush. We get 5 songs, and they are between 6:39 to as long as 13:34 minutes.
conclave1.bandcamp.com   argonautarecords.com
Published: April 18

ESCAPE: Fire in the Sky - Album
(AOR Heaven on April 30)
After decades of silence, AOR/melodic rock band ESCAPE are reborn with a new lineup and ready to release their third album, "Fire in the Sky". It actually seems like all these songs are taken from previous Vince O'Regan releases, and some of them are over 30 years old. But everything has been re-recorded with the technology of today, which gives the material a big and fresh sound.
This is a great album with fantastic songs, so it's a must for every fan of AOR and melodic rock. Well, even fans of melodic hard rock, as it's actually on the border to that.
Any song that I don't like here? No, everything is delicious!
escape-band.com   aorheaven.com
Published: April 17

Brian Island: Brian Island - Album reissue
(AOR Heaven on April 30)
Funky soul music? Well, that's what I think the first song sounds like anyway. Not really something for this website. But the rest of the songs are AOR, so o.k. then.
Brian Island's real name is Brian Cowieson, and he's a Canadian bass player and vocalist. He has played with many local acts, written songs for other artists and scores for movies and TV shows. He was part of the AOR band PROTOTYPE, which released an album back in 1983.
This self titled debut seems to be his one and only solo album, where he teamed up with his old mate from PROTOTYPE, guitarist and producer Dan Lowe. It was originally released in 1989, and has a typical sound from that time that they call hi-tech AOR, with lots of (too much according to me) adult pop. It reminds me of Peter Gabriel or something. But if you want something soft and melodic, then I won't stop you from listening to this.
This album was initially only released in Canada, and is extremely rare to find nowadays. But now a limited edition of 500 copies, with 1 bonus track, is available in the end of April.
aorheaven.com
Published: April 17

AXEWITCH: Out of the Ashes Into the Darkness - Album
(Pure Steel Records on April 30)
This Swedish heavy metal band existed back in the 80s already, and released 2 demos, 2 EPs and 3 albums between 1982-1986. Now, after an eternity, they are back again with a new album. And what we get is true European heavy metal in the good old 80s style. So in other words really good stuff for every true fan of old school metal.
I don't really know what else I can say about this. But on the other hand I guess that's enough.
axewitch.com   puresteel-records.com
Published: April 17

STORMWIND: Rising Symphony - Album reissue
(Black Lodge Records on April 30)
Another great album from STORMWIND, who released 7 albums between 1996-2004. And this is how melodic metal is supposed to be done! Melodic but yet powerful, and most of all fantastic songs. It once again makes me think of the neo-classical stuff that Yngwie Malmsteen did in the 80s, but there's more influences than that of course. I would guess that power metal as well as Dio-era and Tony Martin-era BLACK SABBATH is another influence.
Now it's not any amateurs involved here. Except for mainman Thomas Wolf, we had people like Thomas Vikström (THERION, CANDLEMASS), David Wallin (HAMMERFALL), Andreas Olsson (ROYAL HUNT) and Kaspar Dahlqvist (DIONYSUS).
"Rising Symphony" was orginally released in 2003, but have now been re-mastered, and will also be available on vinyl for the first time.
Pre-order: smarturl.it/BLOD155
Published: April 16

WITCH HUNT: Rock n' Roll Possession - Album
(Dead Center Productions on April 23)
WITCH HUNT is a speed metal band from Bogotá, Colombia. They were first active between 2006-2009. But in 2016 they were back again. Main influences are 80s acts like ONSLAUGHT, VENOM, CELTIC FROST, SLAYER, STEELER (Germany), MERCYFUL FATE and many others of the same era.
During the first years of existance they released a single and participated on a couple of South American compilations. In 2019-2020 they finally recorded their first full length album, "Rock n' Roll Possession". And if I got it right, this album was released on cassette and CD in the end of 2020, but will now also be available digitally for most of the world.
The songs here are pretty fast, but not extremely fast. They succeed to blend in some melody here and there as well, which I like. Yes, these songs are good, and I don't have much else to say..
facebook.com/witchhunt.force
Published: April 15

VITTRA: Wardens - EP
(Emrinc Records on April 23)
VITTRA is part of the new wave of Swedish death metal, and this is their debut EP.
But the story began in mid-2017, and in 2018 the lineup was complete. Inspiration came from bands like DISSECTION, early IN FLAMES, MEGADETH, AT THE GATES and similar thrash and melodic death metal acts.
Their music is powerful and full of melodies and hard riffs. These 4 guys know how it's supposed to be done.
This is just a digital release.
vittraofficial.se
Published: April 15

BLACK RHENO: Battle Ready - Single
(Dead Set Records - Out now)
A big fat groovy slice of sludge is what we get from this Australian band. It's also described as brutal stoner groove. Any of those descriptions works for this, because they blend stoner, sludge and even grindcore, and then they add some groove to that. This is really hard and heavy. No doubt about that.
An interesting thing is that this trio consist of just a drummer, a guitarist and a singer. Because their sound is so fat that you would think that there would be a bass too, or even a second guitar. But no.
BLACK RHENO released their debut album, "Noise Smasher", in late 2019.
blackrheno.com
Published: April 15

SEVEN DOORS: The Gates Of Hell - Demo
(Redefining Darkness Records on April 16)
This is a 1-man death metal project from Cornwall, UK, created by Ryan Wills and focused on themes based around 70s and 80s horror movies. Among his influences are early GORGUTS, ASPHYX, early DEATH, and SKELETAL REMAINS.
This is really old school. So people who have a love for old demo tapes should give this guy a try, because it's absolutely not bad at all.
This demo is available as cassette and digital.
redefiningdarkness.com
Published: April 14

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT: LTE3 - Double Album
(InsideOut Music on April 16)
Well, these guys waste no time. They put my stress level on the top at once. This is really a playground for adults. But what can you expect from prog stars like Mike Portnoy (TRANSATLANTIC, SONS OF APOLLO, DREAM THEATER), John Petrucci (DREAM THEATER), Jordan Rudess (DREAM THEATER), and Tony Levin (KING CRIMSON, Peter Gabriel)? This is something for those of you who are into more adventurous prog rock. The songs seems to be built on improvised jam sessions, and the whole album is instrumental - no vocals at all!
The story about this band started back in 1997, and can therfor be seen as one of the first supergroups in the prog rock genre (nowadays we have lots of them as you may know). A self titled debut album was released in 1998, and followed by "LTE2" in 1999. But after that Petrucci and Portnoy invited Rudess to join them in DREAM THEATER, which became the end of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. There have been a few reunions through the years though. And then came a pandemic who forced people to sit at home in quarantine, so suddenly they felt that they had the time to record a new album after more than 20 years.
Well, if you're into this kind of stuff, then you have to check this out, because you will probably love it.
facebook.com/mikeportnoyofficial   facebook.com/johnpetrucciFB   facebook.com/tonylevinofficial   facebook.com/jordanrudessofficial
Published: April 13

The JEFF CARLSON BAND: Yesterday's Gone - Album
(RFL Records on April 23)
In 2001 Jeff Carlson was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, as well as Crohn's disease. He had fallen ill, and was rushed to the hospital to have emergency surgery, where he actually died for almost 3 minutes on the operating table. He then underwent 4 more surgeries, and still continues to deal with both of these diseases today. "This new record was written for everybody out there who is faced with challenges that life throws at you, and you keep going", as he says. The major theme of the record is hope in a world that need more light instead of darkness.
The JEFF CARLSON BAND comes from Las Vegas, Nevada, and they play melodic hard rock that can be both catchy and heavy at the same time, but often with a strong chorus. "Yesterday's Gone" is their debut album, which have plenty of good songs. This is simply something that I recomend you to check out.
jeffcarlsonband.com   rflrecords.com
Published: April 13

EXTINGUISH: Extinguish - EP
(Creator-Destructor Records on April 23)
EXTINGUISH formed in 2017, and hailing from Sacramento. Now their debut EP is ready to be released, which is an aggressive hardcore attack. Their goal seems to be to achieve the darkest/hardest sound they can, merging elements of death metal with the classic 90s hardcore sound. Their sound is somewhere between death metallers OBITUARY and GRAVE, and hardcore bands NEXT STEP UP and GUT INSTINCT.
When the world is like it is today, these guys hardly hold back with what they think about things. Typical punk lyrics you could say, but yet important matters. And they are really angry, which you can hear when you listen to these 6 tracks.
The metal elements makes the sound heavy, but as they play hardcore it's hardly slow. This is totally o.k. to me.
extinguish.bandcamp.com   creator-destructor.com
Published: April 13

DISFUNERAL: Disfuneral - Demo reissue
(Redefining Darkness Records - Out now)
The band name DISFUNERAL might makes you think of a d-beat hardcore/punk band from the 90s worshiping DISCHARGE, and beginning their band name with DIS. But this is a French death metal band, who formed in 2015. Their only release thus far has been a self titled EP, that came out in 2017. But they are currently working on their first full length album.
This demo is a re-release of a demo EP, which has now been released on cassette and digital. And it sounds really good to me. Simply old school death metal and no bullshit. So if that's what you like, then you should absolutely give this band a chance.
disfuneral-fr.bandcamp.com   redefiningdarkness.com
Published: April 13

LEACH: D.O.D - Single
(Brutal Records on April 16)
Brutal Records has signed Swedish band LEACH, and their adventure together start with this single, which features vocals from Björn "Speed" Strid (SOILWORK, The NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA). A full length album, titled ",Lovely Light of Life", will be released on May 21.
This band has their own little blend of thrash, hardcore, metal, punk and even a bit of traditional rock and roll. But if we want to make it easy for ourselves (as many want to nowadays), we can just call it thrash n roll. It's energetic, catchy and powerful at the same time.
facebook.com/leachswe   brutalrecords.bandcamp.com
Published: April 12

CRYPTS OF DESPAIR: All Light Swallowed - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records on April 23)
Much noise from this Lithuanian band. But then it's the more brutal kind of death metal that they play. It sounds like they have let a beast come out to ravage. The sound is raw, extreme and very violent. It's mainly fast and intense. But once in a while they slow down and become almost atmospheric. But that's just to catch the breath before the next attack.
I guess it's not so bad, but I have definitely heard better in my life.
facebook.com/cryptsofdespair   tometal.com
Published: April 12

MY REFUGE: The Anger Is Never Over - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on April 23)
MY REFUGE is an Italian power/heavy metal band, formed in 2010 by guitarist Mauro Paietta. The band released 2 self produced EPs in 2010 and 2012, before they signed a record deal for their full length debut, "A Matter of Supremacy", in 2015. In 2020 the band became an international project instead, involving musicians from as much as 14 countries and 4 continents. The new album, "The Anger Is Never Over", is the result of this new lineup.
This is a melodic album, but yet powerful. Most songs are good stuff, so there's not much to complain about here. In other words, absolutely worth checking out.
facebook.com/MyRefugeMetal   prideandjoy.de
Published: April 12

BACKWOOD SPIRIT: Fresh From The Can - Album
(Pride & Joy Music on April 23)
BACKWOOD SPIRIT were founded in Örebro, Sweden in 2014 by guitarist and songwriter Kent Engström. On vocals we find the legendary Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, KHARMA, KARMAKANIC, X-SAVIOUR, TALISMAN, SWEDISH EROTICA, MÅRRAN etc). Their first self titled album was released in 2017. And since then they have been working on their next album, "Fresh From The Can".
Their influences comes from classic rock and bluesy hard rock. I would like to add a pinch of Americana too, as I hear a touch of country rock in some of the songs. Really good stuff anyway. No doubt abaout that. I would guess that this is the kind of album that could be interesting for many different kinds of rock fans.
facebook.com/backwoodspirit   prideandjoy.de
Published: April 12

ASTRAKHAN: A Slow Ride Towards Death - Album
(Melodic Passion Records on April 23)
Yes, a slow ride it is, and very emotional and dark too. I don't really know what I should think about this band. They might not be totally useless, but they are not that much fun either. I guess it's supposed to be some kind of progressive soup in the more melodic league. But as you might know by now, that's not always my kind of soup. In their better moments they reminds me of EVERGREY though, which is not so bad after all.
ASTRAKHAN comes from Stockholm, Sweden, and was formed by members of PAIN OF SALVATION, ROYAL HUNT, HOUSE OF SHAKIRA etc. in 2013. Their debut album, "Retrospective", was released the same year, and followed by "Adrenaline Kiss" in 2016. In 2020 they released an album filled with music from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar", which was much more interesting to me than this album. Their music is described as "dark cinematic progressive rock".
facebook.com/Astrakhan.band   melodicpassion.com
Published: April 11

GIOTOPIA: Trinity Of Evil - Album
(Self released on April 16)
I don't know, but this sounds cheap somehow. They try to be so epic and dramatic, but just fail as they doesn't seems to be professional enough. And then there's that false laughing here and there that just sounds stupid. What is so damned funny? And sometimes it sounds like they have let a drunk man that they found on the way to the studio sing. The first track, "A New Saga", is just talk and talk for 2 and a half minutes. But sure, there is a few tracks that are good, like the title track for example. It could have been great though with better musicians.
The music that they play is heavy/power/fantasy metal, and this is these Belgian's third album. We get both female and male vocals from several different people. I'm sorry that I have to complain so much when they have been so ambitious and and all. But if it's of any comfort, it's just my opinion.
giotopia.com
Published: April 11

MONARCH: Future Shock - Album
(Self released on April 16)
MONARCH is a heavy metal band from San Diego, consisting of Matt Smith on vocals and guitar (NIHILIST, DAMCYAN), Casey Trask on guitar (The THREE TREMORS, CAGE), Gabe Mendez on bass (SUPRA SUMMUS), and Adam West on drums. The band formed in 2007, and released their debut album, "Go Forth... Slaughter", 10 years later, which was a raw thrash metal album.
Now their second album, "Future Shock", is here. And this time the music is more heavy metal and possibly speed metal, even though there's some thrash metal too. Very good stuff that you should give a try.
monarch.band
Published: April 11

The MIGHTY ONE: Torch of Rock and Roll - Single
(S.A.O.L Music - Out now)
Canadian hard rockers The MIGHTY ONE released their new album, "The Torch Of Rock And Roll", on March 26. And that's where this song comes from, which is a heavy rocker about the life of a true rocker.
This is a song that is both heavy and melodic at the same time, and it also has a good chorus. This is absolutely worth checking out.
Not much else to add..
torchofrockandroll.com
Published: April 11

BUSHIDO CODE: The Ronin - Album
(Upstate Records on April 16)
BUSHIDO CODE comes from Pennsylvania, and consist of scene veterans. They blend death metal influences like DEATH and OBITUARY with thrash influences like TESTAMENT and METALLICA, then add some hardcore like ALL OUT WAR, AGNOSTIC FRONT and BURIED ALIVE.
Their roots go deep into the Pennsylvania hardcore scene, and this band was formed in 2017. They have previously released 2 albums.
Well, this album is hard and heavy stuff. That doesn't mean that they are slow though, which their influences should reveal. Pretty o.k. for a while, but hardly a future classic in my collection.
facebook.com/bushidocodemetal
Published: April 10

Brown Acid: The Twelfth Trip - Compilation
(RidingEasy Records on April 20)
It's amazing how much great stuff there still is to discover from the 60s and 70s that never really got the chance. But you could say that this collection is their little revenge. 12 volumes now, and you could think that the material that they find would be weaker. But no, this is just as strong as the other volumes. This whole compilation (all volumes included) is (according to me) without a doubt the crown jewel among the RidinEasy releases.
This time we get the chance to get familiar with the sound of The WATERS, VILLAGE S.T.O.P, WHITE LIGHTNING, Shane, ACE SONG SERVICE (or A.S.S.), OPUS EST, MOPPTOPS, ARTIST, STAGEFRIGHT and DICKENS.
The music is as usual heavy rock, hard rock, heavy psych, proto-metal and similar. All tracks are long-lost, rare and/or previously unreleased songs.
ridingeasyrecs.com
Published: April 10

BONGZILLA: Weedsconsin - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records on April 20)
BONGZILLA was formed in Wisconsin, USA in 1995. They released a dozen songs on EPs and split singles during their first 3 years, before they signed to Relapse Records in 1998. They released 4 albums between 1998 to 2005, but remained active until 2009, when they took a quietly hiatus.
But in 2015 they were back again, and have been playing live since then. But no new record has been released though. But in 2020 they started to record some new songs for several releases, and 1 of them is this new album, titled "Weedsconsin" (they like their marijuana a lot I might add). They are nowadays a trio, as Cooter Brown had to retire due to health and family reasons. So today's lineup is: Muleboy (bass, vocals), Spanky (guitar), and Magma (drums).
I can imagine this band standing on a stage filled with so much smoke that you hardly can see them. But you will definitely hear them, as they play on highest volume. This band is really heavy, but yet catchy somehow - A mixture of crushing stoner doom and psychedelic space rock you could say. This album is full of heavy riffs and psychedelic jams. There's actually more instrumental parts than vocals here.
bongzilla666.com   heavypsychsounds.com
Published: April 10

23 TILL: Ännu Ekar Ropen - Single
(Beat Butchers - Out now)
Swedish veterans 23 TILL return with a new single. And this is the first taste of something new from them since their 2019 album "Shake It Baby!". On this song they have co-operated with members of the Swedish reggae legends KALLE BAAH, so you can expect a mixture of that and the 23 TILL sound here. It's actually a pretty soft song for sunny summer days, but it sounds good to me anyway. Maybe a little unnecessarily long though with its 5:35 minutes.
facebook.com/23TillOfficiella   beatbutchers.se
Published: April 9

DINOSAUR JR.: Garden - Single
(Jagjaguwar - Out now)
Their new album, "Sweep It Into Space", will be released on April 23. "Garden" is the second single from that album. Another nice, soft and catchy little piece that hardly rock that hard. It's almost a little too nice actually, so I have decided that this is probably not a band for me after all.
youtube.com/watch?v=Hu0_TOybRx0
Published: April 9

ALTZI: Point Of No Return - Single
(RA Music - Out now)
Hard pop as a friend called it in the 80s. Very melodic hard rock with a pop twist is another good description to this. A very good song anyway. And that's the most important thing.
We get the song both in English and Spanish, but ALTZI comes from Sweden. This is their first single out of 4, which will result in a EP later this year. Their debut album, "All Eyes On Me", will be released in early 2022.
altzi.se
Published: April 9

SHADOWSPAWN: The Biology of Disbelief - Album
(Emanzipation Productions on April 16)
This is the third release from these Danish death metallers. And it's a powerful mixture of heavy and groovy riffs that we get here. They are hardly the fastest death band, but far away from doom heavy. It's something for fans of BENEDICTION, ASPHYX and ILLDISPOSED they say. It sounds good to me anyway, so I think that you should give this a try.
I don't really know what else I should say about this..
facebook.com/shadowspawn   emanzipation.dk
Published: April 8

WARTOOTH: Programmed Dichotomy - LP
(Self released on April 9)
It seems like WARTOOTH wants to show us all how thrash metal is supposed to be done. So they deliver their 8 tracks with speed, anger and lots of energy. And the result sounds like they would be influenced by several legendary bands from the old school - Both American and European.
WARTOOTH comes from Brisbane, Australia, and consist of the 2 Knappstein brothers Andy and Wally. "Programmed Dichotomy" was actually released a year ago, but will now also be available on vinyl (as the modern people call it, I say LP).
This is a damned good thrash album!
signup.wartoothmetal.com
Published: April 7

THRONE: Pestilent Dawn - Album
(Redefining Darkness Records on April 9)
"Pestilent Dawn" is the debut album from this Michigan band. And this is really hard and brutal black/death metal in the old school. Except for some short pieces here and there, it's full speed ahead from the first to the last second. A very fast and intense experience actually. So be prepeared to get blown to pieces if you want to listen to this band.
Even though this is a bit noisey, it's hardly any chaos. They succeed to arrange some kind of melody, which drives the songs forward. But I would not recomend this for people with a weak heart or bad nerves.
redefiningdarkness.com
Published: April 7

PHLEBOTOMIZED: Pain, Resistance, Suffering - Mini Album
(Petrichor on April 9)
PHLEBOTOMIZED were formed back in 1989, but formally changed their name to the current one in 1990. During the 90s they released several demos, EPs and full length albums. The band split up in 1997, but reformed in 2013. A comeback album, "Deformation Of Humanity", was released in 2019.
"Pain, Resistance, Suffering" is a new 7-track mini album (too short to be a full length, but a little too long to be a EP, I suppose?). The music is a mixture of melodic death metal and doom metal. It's brutal yet melodic, but also heavy (not extremely heavy though). And this is not bad at all. They have their own little sound somehow, which they spice with keyboards and violins.
phlebotomizedmetal.com   hammerheartpetrichor.com
Published: April 6

Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA: Spirit Of Alchemy - Album
(Metalville Records on April 9)
This sounds like a hard rock/heavy metal album from the 80s. Which I guess is the whole idea. But at the same time it's said to be their heaviest album to date. These 9 tracks are really good anyway, so it's of course worth listening to.
Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA is the brainchild of Swedish drummer Johan Kihlberg, who formed the band in 2011 after over 30 years of performing with members from legendary bands like KISS, THIN LIZZY, EUROPE, RAINBOW and MÖTLEY CRÜE. After 5 albums as IMPERA, he decided to go in a heavier direction, and Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA was born.
On each album Johan has invited friends from the rock and metal community to add that extra touch to the songs. This time the musicians are bassist Johan Levén (EUROPE), multi-musician Snowy Shaw (KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, SABATON, DREAM EVIL etc etc) on drums, vocals by Jonny Lindkvist (NOCTURNAL RITES) and guitars by Lars Chriss (LION'S SHARE). But the album also features people like Mats Vassfjord (220 VOLT) - bass on "Lost Your Life To Rock'n'Roll" - and Pontus Engberg (KING DIAMOND etc) - bass on "In Heaven".
We get an album with lots of variation. It's mainly heavy and melodic, but the last track, "Battle", sounds like a soundtrack to an adventure movie.
metalville.de
Published: April 6

EXTERMINATED: The Genesis of Genocide - Album
(Comatose Music on April 9)
Couldn't the drummer afford to buy a whole drum kit? Because it sounds like he's beating on a tin or something. Same irritating sound, fast as fuck, all the time. It really destroy the experience. On the other hand I don't think that I would have liked this anyway. Some kind of ultra fast grindcore/death metal that sounds chaotic. Not really my thing, sir. This is just a hell of a noise!
EXTERMINATED is a Philippine duo with Ace Estandian (ANAL FISSURE, GUILLOTINED) on guitar and drum programming and Myke Pardo (ANAL FISSURE) on vocals.
Rubbish! Rubbish! Rubbish! As the old man said.
facebook.com/ExterminatedPH   comatosemusic.com
Published: April 6

NIGHTRAGE: Abyss Rising - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
Greek/Swedish melodic death metal veterans NIGHTRAGE return with the first single from their upcoming new album, "Abyss Rising", which will be released in the fall (so you can expect some more singles before that). And it's a true ass kicker. This is just as good as anything that they have released during the last years. So there's no chance that you will be dissapointed when you hear this.
I don't think that I have to say much more than that. I already look forward to hear some more..
nightrage.bandcamp.com   despotz.se
Published: April 2

APHRODITE: Orgasmic Glory - Album
(Figther Records - Out now)
This Canadian trio released their debut album, "Lust And War", in 2019, and it was a really good album. This second album, "Orgasmic Glory", is more of what we got on the debut, and actually not much of a development. So in other words speed metal with female clean vocals and not much screaming. Pretty simple but effective.
It actually happens that she scream a little once in a while, but it's mainly more or less in the same tone all the time, so some more variation and some more action in her voice would not have hurt. She has a vocal melody at least, so it's not extremely monotonous. But that's all I can complain about, because the songs are great on this album too.
aphroditemetal.bandcamp.com   fighter-records.com
Published: April 2

SUNSTORM: Afterlife - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
SUNSTORM was previously fronted by Joe Lynn Turner (RAINBOW, Yngwie Malmsteen, DEEP PURPLE etc), but has now been replaced by another RAINBOW singer: Ronnie Romero (LORDS OF BLACK etc etc). They are still a really good band though, and Ronnie is also a really good singer, so this is absolutely worth buying.
The songs are just as strong and melodic as anything from the good old hard rock bands from the 70s and 80s, even though this has a more modern sound and production.
Not much else to add..
frontiers.it
Published: April 1

SECRET SPHERE: Lifeblood - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Italian band SECRET SPHERE has been around for nearly 25 years. They are well-known for creating epic European metal of the powerful and progressive kind. This new album marks the return of vocalist Roberto Messina, who fronted the band between 1997-2012. And with him they are said to go back to their classic sound, but with more energy, bombastic arrangements, and memorable choruses.
I don't know if I have to add much more than that, because it probably gives you a pretty good picture of this band's sound. But I would guess that this is more for fans of power and heavy metal than fans of nerdy prog metal. They sounds really good to me anyway.
facebook.com/secretsphere   frontiers.it
Published: April 1

Ronnie Atkins: One Shot - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
About a year ago Danish singer Ronnie Atkins (PRETTY MAIDS, NORDIC UNION) was diagnosed with Stage 4-cancer, which is incurable. But that didn't stop him from making a solo album. And this is something that I would put in the feel good rock section. It's a softer side of melodic rock, and there's many really good songs here. The lyrics are, due to his situation, more personal and melancholy.
The album was produced by his PRETTY MAIDS bandmate Chris Laney (who also play on the album) and mixed by Jacob Hansen. Among the other musicians are: Allan Sørensen, Morten Sandager, Pontus Egberg, Anders Ringman, Pontus Norgren, Kee Marcello, Olliver Hartmann, John Berg, Linnea Vikström Egg, and Björn Strid.
facebook.com/RonnieAtkinsOfficial   frontiers.it
Published: April 1

HEART HEALER: The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
HEART HEALER is yet another project created, overseen and directed by Serafino Perugino, President and A&R director of Frontiers Music. And it's yet another project with Swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson (PRIMAL FEAR, Magnus Kalsson's FREE FALL, The FERRYMEN, LAST TRIBE, Allen/Lande, Kiske/Somerville etc). This is more ambitious than ever though, as it's an epic metal opera with a whole orchestra and only female singers. And these singers are both up and coming as well as established: Adrienne Cowan (SEVEN SPIRES, Sascha Paeth's MASTERS OF CEREMONY, AVANTASIA), Netta Laurenne (SMACKBOUND, Laurenne/Louhimo), Youmna Jreissati (OSTURA), Ailyn (HER CHARIOT AWAITS, ex-SERENIA), Noora Louhimo (BATTLE BEAST), Margarita Monet (EDGE OF PARADISE), and Anette Olzon (The DARK ELEMENT, ex-NIGHTWISH).
The opera is about The Heart Healer, who wakes up with no memory and does not know who she is. She soon finds out that she can heal people with just a touch of her hand, but every time she does, she gets weaker. On her journey to find out who she really is, she meets new characters who want to help her, those who want her help, and those who are scared of her and start to hunt her.
No, this is hardly the first or last symphonic metal opera, but it's absolutely among the better ones that I have heard. And as you might know, I'm not always such a big fan of the more ambitious and symphonic stuff. But once in a while there's something good even there.
frontiers.it
Published: April 1

HEAVY FEATHER: Mountain of Sugar - Album
(The Sign Records on April 9)
All classics has already been made, and it's not much of all the material that comes out today that I think will change that. But that doesn't mean that there's nothing good to listen to anymore. And if this album would have been released in the 1960s or 70s, then it's not impossible that at least 1 of the songs could have been a classic. Because this album is full of great songs.
Their music is, as you probably have figured out already, blues-based heavy rock, or what we nowadays call retro rock. And the singer reminds me a little of Janis Joplin, but less hoarse.
Fans of Swedish retro rockers like SPIDERS and BLUES PILLS should absolutely check this out.
heavyfeatherofficial.bandcamp.com
Published: March 31

SEA OF SNAKES: World of Fire - EP
(Metal Assault on April 2)
Debut EP from a California heavy metal band, who play in the dirty and heavy league, but yet pretty catchy and energetic. Their influences includes CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, MOTÖRHEAD, The DOORS, METAL CHURCH and DOWN. And those influences are spread all over these 5 tracks.
This is a really good debut. Now I just need some beer too, and then this on highest volume. That would almost be a party you know..
instagram.com/sea_of_snakes_band
Published: March 31

KARMA TO BURN: The Rabbit Hole - 12" vinyl
(H42 Records on April 2)
Most instrumental bands are really boring to listen to. But there's at least a few that are listenable. And I would say that KARMA TO BURN is one of those last bands. They deliver their heavy rock with energy, and it's pretty catchy, which makes it more fun to listen to than some Yngwie Malmsteen wannabe or the same riffs over and over again. But suddenly there is vocals in the 3 last songs - What a surprise! I really didn't expect that.
This album is a collection of B-sides, including their first demo and rare early recordings with vocals. So this is something really special for the fans.
KARMA TO BURN recorded their first demo in 1993, but it seems like it wasn't until 1995 that they finally released a 4-track demo tape. In 1997 their self titled debut album was released through Roadrunner Records. At that time they actually had a singer, Jason Jarosz, but shortly after the album was released they went seperate ways, and the band became an instrumental group instead. Jason didn't sing on the demo though, because at that time the singer was Jim Davison.
h42records.com
Published: March 30

MAVERICK: Ethereality - Album
(Metalapolis Records on April 1)
MAVERICK was founded in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2012 by the Balfour brothers Ryan and David. "Ethereality" is their 4th album, where they have taken the best parts from their previous albums and added that extra touch. The result is an album full of great melodic hard rock songs, that are full of heavy guitars, but yet catchy as hell. This is simply a must for fans of Swedish bands like ECLIPSE, EUROPE, CRASHDÏET and similar stuff. In other words the finest kind of melodic hard rock there is.
facebook.com/MaverickBelfastuk   metalapolis.eu
Published: March 30

TURBULENCE: Frontal - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Yeah, talk about turbulence.. In my brain! This progressive mess makes it feel like there's a whole amusement park in my head. And these 8 songs last for an eternity.
But even though I don't like it that much, it sounds like they are very good at what they are doing (but I guess that's pretty obvious for this kind of genre).
TURBULENCE is a progressive rock/metal band from Lebanon, founded in 2013. "Frontal" is their second album, which "incorporate compelling musical storytelling with a modern sound that fuses a bit of everything", as the band says.
Fans of prog will probably love this.
turbulenceprog.com   frontiers.it
Published: March 28

Issa: Queen of the Broken Hearts - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
"Queen of the Broken Hearts" is the 6th album from Norwegian melodic rock singer Issa Oversveen, who has once again partnered with Alessandro Del Vecchio and an all-star team of musicans, like Simone Mularoni (DGM) on guitar, Andrea ToWer Torricini (VISION DIVINE) on bass, Marco Di Salvia (HARDLINE) on drums, and Del Vecchio on keys.
Well, this is not so bad. They have many good songs here, and Issa is a really good singer. I guess that with less guitars this could have been pop songs instead, but now it's not really that. Fans of melodic rock should absolutely check this out though. And who knows, maybe your pop friends (if you have any) will like this too?
facebook.com/issa.oversveen   frontiers.it
Published: March 28

Gary Hughes: Waterside - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
Plink, plink on the piano and lalala vocals. That beginning is a little too soft for me actually. But after about a minute it's at least a bit more action, or rather more instruments I should say. Because it's absolutely not going any faster.
British singer Gary Hughes has done 14 albums with TEN and 1 rock opera (in 2 parts). His sound has been rooted in UFO, WHITESNAKE and RAINBOW. But his solo material is more melodic, with its roots in 80s AOR and melodic rock. And this album is something in the softer league of that, but pretty o.k. (for a little while at least).
On "Waterside" (his first solo album in over a decade) he get help from his TEN bandmates Dann Rosingana (guitars) and Darrel Treece-Birch (drums), with David Rosingana appearing on bass and Karen Fell and Scott Hughes helping on background vocals.
facebook.com/TenOfficial   frontiers.it
Published: March 28

Chez Kane: Chez Kane - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl - Out now)
The music that this woman gives us sounds a lot like I remember it from the 80s. Very catchy and melodic rock with strong pop choruses. Every song seems to be made to be a radio friendly hit song in the mid-80s. So those of you who miss those days and the music of that time should be happy to hear this solo debut.
The young British woman Chez Kane front the band KANE'D with her 2 sisters. But here she goes solo, thanks to Danny Rexon of the Swedish hard rockers CRAZY LIXX, who has not just produced this album but also written and arranged all the songs.
And if you want some of that hit potential I was talking about, then give songs like "Rocket On The Radio", "Too Late For Love" and "Ball N' Chain" a try.
facebook.com/ChezKaneVocalist   frontiers.it
Published: March 28

T.U.R.N.: The United Rock Nations - Album
(Self released and out now)
This sounds like something American from the 80s. A little like an early GUNS N' ROSES for example. But they also take inspiration from bands like SCORPIONS, SKID ROW, DEF LEPPARD and VAN HALEN. They might not have the same hit potential, but it's damned good anyway. This is a really strong debut album!
T.U.R.N. is a international band - bassist Hammer Head, guitarist DES Samita and drummer Spencer Langley are from USA, vocalist Daniel Valberg from Sweden, and Graham Lane on guitar/keyboards comes from England. Each member has recoded their parts in seperate locations around the world, and it took 3 years to write this album.
I have already told you how good this is, so now it's time for you to check them out, o.k.?
facebook.com/theunitedrocknations
Published: March 27

SickWalt: Shove n' Love - Album
(X-Ray Records/Golden Robot - Out now)
SickWalt comes from Astoria, Queens, New York, and formed in 2014. Mr SickWalt himself, frontman Walt Novak, has been backed by various NYC veteran musicians, such as legendary NYHC drummer Eric Arce (MISFITS, MURPHY'S LAW, SKARHEAD, MAXIMUM PENALTY), Rob Buckley (CRO-MAGS, URBAN SUN, M-16) and his band co-founder, Max Capshaw (SICK OF IT ALL, MURPHY'S LAW, H2O).
"Shove n' Love" is their first full length album, which was released last month. And these guys play an explosive and punky rock n roll mix of early AC/DC, MC5 and The STOOGES. But I can also hear DANKO JONES in some of the songs. And that just can't be bad according to me. They deliver their songs with much energy and passion, but can also take a step back once in a while. And the result is an album with variation and lots of good songs.
They know their roots, and "Punk Almighty" for example is a tribute to all the punk legends.
facebook.com/sickwalt
Published: March 27

LIBERTY AND JUSTICE: Pressure - Album
(Contra Records/Death Exclamations Records on March 30)
Why do they begin the album with a opera cunt singing the 4 seasons? Very stupid!
But after that it's punk for all the money that you got. Or rather classic British Oi! punk with all the typical ingredients, like harsh vocals and beer choirs. But even though they sound very British to me, this band is actually from Houston, TX. And the main goal doesn't seems to be standard Oi!. They add some hardcore and rock n roll in some of the songs, which gives them their own little sound somehow.
Well, for some reason I didn't really like them the first times I heard this album. But now that I have heard it a few times, it's actually not so bad at all. So maybe you should give it a try. 14 tracks is a little too much though.
contra-net.com
Published: March 27

THYRFING: Döp Dem i Eld - Single
(Despotz Records - Out now)
Swedish metal band THYRFING came to life in the constantly growing underground scene in the early 90s. They have so far released 7 albums, and are an important act in the sub-genre viking/pagan metal.
It's now 8 years since their last album was released, but now they are ready to release a new album again, which is called "Vanagandr", and will be released on August 27. And as you might have figured out, this is the first single from that album.
"Döp Dem i Eld" (Baptize Them In Fire) got all kinds of ingredients - it's powerful, heavy, aggressive, groovy and melodic. This is far away from the Finnish ompa-ompa metal that a band like FINNTROLL is playing. This is simply metal. And it's pretty good too.
thyrfing.com   despotz.se
Published: March 26

WHEEL: Resident Human - Album
(OMN Label Services on March 26)
WHEEL is rolling out progressive metal to alleviate your boredom. Some songs are very long - 10 and a half to 12 minutes - while others are more normal - around 4 and a half minutes. The vocals is melodic, while the guitars blend melodies and heavy riffs.
This is a typical album for fans of progressive music. But I guess that anybody who like nice melodies and vocals could like this, because it's a very kind album. However, be prepared for a musical adventure when you listen to this.
Not much else to add there..
wheelband.net
Published: March 25

SANGUISUGABOGG: Tortured Whole - Album
(Century Media on March 26)
The good thing with a band name like that is that it's very unlikely that anybody else will have the same name. The bad thing though is that nobody will remember it, especially when the "logo" is totally unreadable. On the other hand this is not much to remember anyway.
SANGUISUGABOGG is said to mean blood sucking toilet. And some of the lyrical themes are gore, disgust and perversity among other things, often inspired by classic b-movies in the splatter genre. How this band have succeeded to get signed by a big label like Century Media Records is a mystery to me (I have read that the A&R hated them first, but for some weird reason he changed his mind).
What about the sound then' Sludgy death metal or down-tuned drug death as they call it. Sometimes blast beat fast, sometimes doom heavy. I don't like that tin sound on one of the drums, and I'm not such a big fan of that cookie monster vocals. So most of these songs are actually not so good.
I would guess that a band like this doesn't have the most intelligent people among their fans. So I guess it's important to say that this is done just for fun, and should not be taken too seriously. It's just 4 guys with sick humor that like to play extreme metal.
The band comes from Ohio, and is said to be a MUNICIPAL WASTE of death metal. They have previously released a EP, "Pornographic Seizures", in 2019.
centurymedia.com
Published: March 25

CRYPTOSIS: Bionic Swarm - Album
(Century Media on March 26)
This Dutch trio was formerly know as old school thrashers DISTILLATOR in the European underground scene. Now they have decided to start all over again with the new name CRYPTOSIS. Why you might ask? Well, I guess they thought that the sound of these new songs was so different from what they did before, so they simply wanted a new fresh start.
And then your next question is if it actually is that different? Yeah, it's hardly the classic old school thrash sound that we get here. They have rather created their own wild sound, with a blend of blackened death, progressive thrash and symphonic metal. If I should try to compare them with a other group, then I would say TRIBULATION. Not that this is the same, but it might give you a better idea at least.
Then comes your third question I suppose: Is it any good then? Well, I would say that it's actually not so bad. The main ingredient still seems to be thrash metal, but in a new and different way. You should give it a try.
cryptosis.net   centurymedia.com
Published: March 25

OXIDIZE: Dark Confessions - Album
(WormHoleDeath Records - Out now)
Swedish band OXIDIZE was started in the spring of 2017. The members have experience from other bands, like ARCTIC VOID, WINGS OF DESTINY, CRYSTAL EYES, BRASSMONKEY etc. I think they are from the same area, or near, where I live (Borås), but I actually don't know much else about them. This seems to be their debut album as OXIDIZE anyway.
What they deliver is a powerful but yet melodic kind of heavy metal, and I really like what I hear on this album. Yes, all 12 tracks are fantastic! So you simply have to ckeck this out.
facebook.com/Oxidize.Sweden   wormholedeath.com
Published: March 24

IRIDESCENT DUNE: Kingdom Of Me - Single
(Self released - Out now)
IRIDESCENT DUNE is a 1-man band with Charlie Murphy, who follow his own path when it comes to metal music. This is mainly thrash metal though, but with elements of all and nothing. It would surprise me a lot if this song suddenly would become a hit in the metal underground, becuse it's actually so odd that I don't really know how to describe it. Not totally bad though.
So if you want to know what this song really sounds like, then you better listen for yourself.
iridescentdune.bandcamp.com
Published: March 24

CORPORATE CONTROL: Whatever It Takes - Album
(Perris Records - Out now)
The German Marcus Boeltz formed CORPORATE CONTROL in 2019 together with the Americans Paul Sabu (Alice Cooper, John Walte) and Barry Sparks (Yngwie Malmsteen, SCORPIONS, DOKKEN). Now their debut album is here, which gives us a healthy dose of AOR/melodic rock. You can hear the past, even though the sound is modern. They also use some unusual instruments for the genre, like sitar, madolin and cello.
The songs are catchy and good, so this is something that you should try. And I just don't know what else I should say.
wavepowerblog.com   perrisrecords.com
Published: March 24

ALTA REIGN: Mother's Day - Album
(Rat Pak Records - Out now)
Drummer Jeff Plate (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA (aka TSO), SAVATAGE, ex-METAL CHURCH) has teamed up with keybordist Jane Mangini (TSO) and some other people. Their debut album, "Mother's Day", was released in January this year, and is the end result of 30 years of writing, listening, learning, planning and waiting for the right moment to put this all together.
The music that we get is an interesting combination of melodic, progressive, hard rock and straight up metal. And this is performed by very good musicians. Most of these 13 tracks are good, so there's not much to complain about.
facebook.com/altareign   ratpakrecordsamerica.com
Published: March 24

1782: From The Graveyard - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records on March 26)
"From The Graveyard" is the second full length of the occult doom trio 1782, where they give us 8 tracks in 43 minutes. It's slow and dark, but with a powerful sound. A big minus is that they sometimes repeat the same riffs for way too long. But otherwise they are pretty o.k.
1782 formed in December 2018. The name of the group was taken in honor of all the "witches" murdered by the bigoted minds of many generations. It didn't take long before they entered the studio (Jan. 2019) to record their first single. And already next month they recorded their first full length album, which was released in May 2019. A split album with ACID MAMMOTH was released in 2020.
1782doom.bandcamp.com   heavypsychsounds.com
Published: March 23

MARASMUS: Necrotic Overlord - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records on March 26)
MARASMUS are hardly doing anything wrong here, but they are neither the best or the worst death metal band that I have heard. They are just lurking around somewhere in the middle. Some people will probably love this though.
The band features members of UNMERCIFUL, and they play US death metal (they are from Kansas City). It's a lot of riffing and intense drumming. The vocals is harsh and raw. It reminds me of a bulldozer which crushes everything in its way. Yet there's some kind of melody in all the noise, so it's not just chaos.
If you like it fast and brutal, then give this a try. It will probably make you bang your head so hard that you will get a whiplash.
marasmus.bandcamp.com   tometal.com
Published: March 23

GRILLIJONO K.O.: Napalmia Korville - Album
(Inverse Records/Secret Entertainment on March 26)
This Finnish band is playing energetic rock while the singer is screaming like he would have been a member of some classic Finnish hardcore/punk band from the 80s. Result: Turborock. That's what they call their music anyway. But I think it sounds like punk rock in the same style as TURBONEGRO's classic album "Ass Cobra". They might not have the same hit potential as the Norwegians used to have, but this is absolutely not bad anyway.
If I should describe their sound a bit closer, then you could say that it's a combination of different elements of punk rock and metal, and even some melodic pop music. Bands like KVELERTAK, The HELLACOPTERS, GLUECIFER and SLAYER have all had an impact on their sound. All lyrics are in Finnish.
GRILLIJONO K.O. has previously released a EP and some singles, but "Napalmia Korville" is their first full length album.
grillijono-ko.bandcamp.com   inverse.fi
Published: March 23

GRANDE ROYALE: Carry On - Album
(The Sign Records on March 26)
The first song reminds me of TURBONEGRO in the late 90s, but it's mainly The HELLACOPTERS around the same time that the other songs reminds me of. In other words really good stuff if you ask me (which you do as you read this). The songs are filled with adrenaline, and at the same time damned catchy. More or less every song out of these 11 tracks are great, so there's not much to doubt when it comes to this album. Just get it!
"Carry On" is the fifth full length from these Swedish rockers. We also get guest vocals from Dregen (BACKYARD BABIES, The HELLACOPTERS) on "Just as Bad as You".
granderoyaleoff.bandcamp.com
Published: March 23

IRONBOURNE: Ironbourne - Album
(Pure Steel Records on March 26)
The members of IRONBOURNE are from Ludvika, Sweden, and have been playing in various bands through the years. Since 2019 it's IRONBOURNE that is the band, and this is their debut album.
The years of playing in other bands can be heard, and it's most of all the early heavy metal and NWOBHM that you can hear here. So fans of that should be interested, because this is really good. All 9 songs are really strong.
A song that stand out from the rest is "Varsel", which is the only song in Swedish. Would be nice with some more songs in Swedish in the future.
facebook.com/ironbourneofficial   puresteel-records.com
Published: March 22