Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2016, five-piece thrash outfit High Command follow up their 2017 debut full length Beyond the Wall of Desolation with digitally released single Everlasting Torment(both Southern Lord). Continue reading
After months of rumours fuelled by glimpsed sightings and blurry photographs taken outside recording studios, the worst kept secret in rock was finally confirmed at the end of September this year. With a sudden flurry of activity on their website, the announcement was clear. AC/DC was back.
Showing no visible signs of wear and tear, classic Los Angeles metallers Armored Saint return with eighth studio album Punching the Sky (Metal Blade). Noted for their consistency in both output and personnel, you have to go all the way back to 1987’s Raising Fear (Chrysalis) to find a studio album with a different line-up. A surprising level of stability considering two lengthy hiatuses and the untimely death of original guitarist Dave Prichard.
Sometimes a title is all you need. And, as it unleashes a victorious scream of power metal majesty heard three townships away, Metal Commando (Nuclear Blast Records), the latest album from Primal Fear, is absolutely one of those titles. Continue reading
The world of Extreme Metal (at least in the UK) experiences a strange phenomena whenever Cradle of Filth prepare to release a new album. Thousands of inexplicably angry internet voices all join in unison with pre-prepared mantras of, “just another watered down Cradle album”, “they’ve been shit since Principle/Dusk/Cruelty/Midian” (delete as applicable), and “Dani sounds fucking terrible these days”. Sometimes after only hearing one song, or on occasion, none at all.Continue reading
Formed in 2007 by guitarist Camden Cruz and former vocalist Bryan Edwards, Floridian Power Metal act Seven Kingdoms are following up their 2016 crowdfunded EP In The Walls with a crowdfunded full length. After raising nearly double the amount required on Kickstarter, the band’s fourth album Decennium has now been picked up by Napalm Records, with the label signing the band, and redistributing their entire back catalogue in the process. Continue reading
Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee got his newest band, Red Dragon Cartel, together last year and their eponymous debut album (Frontiers Records) shows that there is some great potential. The album features others who are well-known to metalheads such as Maria Brink of In This Moment and former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno on some of the tracks.
The second track ‘Shout It Out’ could very well be the next anthem at sports games. If not that, it can certainly get the crowd going as an opening song. It has the crunching guitar sound that many metalheads desire as well as singer Darren James Smith yelling “Who’s your master?”
Brink on ‘Big Mouth’ is a welcome change in the male dominated sound of the album. Her singing style goes well with the band’s sound. It is a song that both fans of Jake E. Lee and In This Moment are sure to enjoy.
The finale of the album, ‘Exquisite Tenderness,’ is a bold move for a heavy band. It shows that Lee is more than just a talented guitarist. He had written the piece at the age of six when he was being trained as a classical pianist. It’s a perfect way for someone who has been praised for his guitar work to give listeners a bit of a surprise.
The bonus track on this edition of the album is an acoustic version of ‘Feeder’. This version is better than the one that actually made it onto the album. It is more interesting to listen to the acoustic guitar solo because it is a break from most of what the album sounds like. There is also more of Lee’s piano chops to be heard here.
Overall, the album seems to suffer from sounding a little too generic. It is disheartening to say that about a guitarist who has played with some big acts. However, ‘Exquisite Tenderness’ and the acoustic version of ‘Feeder’ prove that Lee and the rest of the band still have a few tricks up their sleeves.