While Legacy Of The Anointed (Argonauta Records) may be Spiral Grave’s full-length debut, it’s easy to also think of it as the sixth Iron Man album under a different name. After all, the musicians involved were part of that band’s last active lineup with guitarist Willy Rivera in place of the tragically passed on bandmate, Al Morris III. The style also bares a superficial resemblance to the Doom Metal approach last seen on 2013’s South Of The Earth. However, there’s a distinction between the two entities and Spiral Grave uses that connection as a springboard for their own identity.
Released an improbable seventeen years ago, Once (Nuclear Blast), the fifth album from symphonic metal pioneers Nightwish saw the band catapulted from relative obscurity and into the eyes and ears of a much wider audience. With lead single ‘Nemo’ being given regular airplay on radio and music television channels, everything seemed to be falling into place for the Finnish act.
Kris Esfandiari has released many different styles of music under many different monikers. There is Miserable, a solo, Shoegaze project of Esfandiari. Then, there’s NGHTCRWLR, an Experimental, Noise, Industrial outfit. With each project more different than the last, Esfandiari is a versatile and inventive vocalist gifted at making transgressive music. On Celestial Blues (Relapse Records), Esfandiari returns as King Woman. Following up 2017’s Created in the Image of Suffering, the sophomore album from King Woman is a shocking release that is like horror.
No matter how much you write about a record, you can never quite fully encapsulate the feelings invoked by the music. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Leila Abdul-Rauf’s (Vastum, Ionophore, Cardinal Wyrm, Fyrhtu) words about her new album, Phantasiai, go some way to explaining why this might be. She writes, by way of explanation of the record’s concept:
Having stayed with Black Sabbath until 1983’s unfairly criticised Born Again (Vertigo) album, founding member Geezer Butler returned to the band in the early nineties but with a growing desire to prove himself as a solo artist. After leaving again in ’94, the iconic bass player and moustache enthusiast teamed up with former frontman Ozzy Osbourne for a while before eventually going it alone to form G/Z/R.
Like the previous installment, the third chapter in Ripple Music’s Turned to Stone series is framed as a challenge between two contenders for Stoner Doom supremacy. But while Chapter II saw Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof put forth their competition as a battle of wits between mythic swordsmen, Chapter III is the culmination of an ongoing meme war between Merlin and Wizzerd. It also operates on a similar template as each band is given a full epic track to put their best foot forward.
Dee Snider is sixty-six years old.
What the hell happened there? When I was a teenager, sexagenarians looked and acted like sexagenarians, damn it. Politicians, gardeners, doctors, Victor Kiam (Google him, kids). The lady down the road who only ever seemed to buy tea bags and cat food, and that embarrassing uncle who used to try and Moonwalk at every family party.
Arriving in 1989 towards the tail end of the thrash metal scene, San Francisco act Mordred may have only been together for five years but showed more invention and innovation in that time than some bands achieved over a much longer period.
Nearly fifteen years ago, current Killswitch Engage members Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz teamed up to birth the collaborative project Times of Grace. This dynamic duo pushed their creative boundaries by conjuring a fresh take on the heavy-yet-melodic sound. They delivered their debut album, The Hymn of a Broken Man (Roadrunner Records) in 2011. The gloom and aggression let loose on that record was ignited by the brutally honest songwriting. The themes of struggle, heartbreak, and hope were potently delivered with a real and plaintive spirit. These two brought forth a discovery of powerful melancholy and now ten years later, they are offering a sequel to that revelation. Their second full-length Songs of Loss and Separation (Wicked Good Records) is carrying on the melodic mournfulness, yet wonderfully wholesome sound that is Times of Grace.
If you like your power metal sexy, your werewolves German, and your nuns covered in fur then today just might be your lucky day. Under the glow of the full moon, faces painted, and armed with another batch of songs about priests, angels and lustful desires, those lecherous lycanthropes Powerwolf have returned with Call of the Wild (Napalm Records), another batch of saucily sacrilicious earworms (wereworms?).