ALBUM REVIEW: Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic

If Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining Music), the new album by Canadian speedsters Annihilator, is anything to go by, then relocating to the UK is probably the best move the band’s mastermind Jeff Waters has made for years. Consistency has been an issue with Annihilator for some time, but since the recruitment of English bassist Rich Hinks, the band have not only rediscovered their classic sound but a new lease of life in the process. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Amberian Dawn – Looking For You

Starting out in 2008 as a neoclassical power metal act, Finnish band Amberian Dawn have continued to evolve and refine their sound over the years. Now, with their ninth full-length release, Looking For You (Napalm Records), the band have decided to fully embrace their already less than hidden inner Abba, even recording in Benny Andersson’s own studio and using some of the legendary Swedish pop band’s original equipment. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Victorius – Space Ninjas From Hell

Sometimes you really do only need to look at an album cover to know what you’ll be getting, and just one glance at Space Ninjas From Hell (Napalm Records), the latest album from German power metal act Victorius will be more than sufficient. Reveling unashamedly in its distinctly mid-late 1980s vibe, the frankly ridiculous cover art features robot ninjas, laser katanas, electric shuriken, dragons, purple skies, plenty of fire, and flying sharks shooting lasers from their eyes. If none of that piques your interest even slightly then it’s probably best to move swiftly along. Continue reading

CONCERT REVIEW: Max and Iggor Cavalera – Birmingham 02 Academy 2

Probably due to the bitterly cold December weather, the Academy 2 is already full to bursting by the time opening act Healing Magic hit their stride. Featuring a Cavalera who prefers to spell his name correctly, the Arizona based band are fronted by Max‘s youngest son Igor, and kick off the evening with some Black Sabbath inspired riffery which unsurprisingly goes down well in the home of metal. Continue reading

LIVE REVIEW: Amon Amarth – Arch Enemy – Hypocrisy: Live at Birmingham Academy

There’s a wonderfully surreal moment in The Simpsons when Abe Simpson inexplicably proclaims, “the Swedish are coming! The Swedish are coming!”. Well, tonight in frosty Birmingham, that’s exactly what’s happening. Hailing from the land of Abba, Ikea, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, three of the finest exponents of melodic death metal have landed in Blighty to bang heads and kick bottom. Continue reading

FEATURE: Facing Life Without Slayer

Slayer, photo credit Gary Alcock

From the first day of December 2019, we enter a dark, horrifying new era. Life without Slayer.

Sorry. Life without SLAAAAAYYYERRR!!!

There, that’s better.

From the moment I discovered Slayer on a compilation album called Speed Kills back in 1985, my life was changed forever. Just the sound of their name was enough. Everything you needed to know about the band encapsulated in two perfect syllables, especially when screamed at an ear-splitting volume or when chanted with thousands of other like-minded blood-hungry psychopaths. Continue reading

LIVE REVIEW: Agnostic Front – The Take: Live at Mama Roux’s, Birmingham, UK

For years, metal and hardcore have been regular bedfellows but that wasn’t always the way. Back in the ’80s, metalheads regularly ran the risk of getting beaten up if they attended hardcore or punk shows. Skins and Mohawks did not take kindly to long-hairs stepping onto their turf, and vice versa. It wasn’t until the emergence of more popular bands like Slayer who, by straddling both genres, showed that the two sets of fans were capable of co-existing without confrontation.

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