ALBUM REVIEW: Venom Inc – There’s Only Black


 

It’s probably fair to say that when Venom Inc. released full-length “debut”, Avé in 2017, expectations weren’t too high. Formed by guitarist Mantas (aka Jeff Dunn) and frontman Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan in the wake of the duo’s former band M:Pire of Evil, Venom Inc. appeared to some as a simple rebranding. A change of name with little hope of successfully rekindling past glories. They were wrong.

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ALBUM REVIEW: H.E.A.T. – Force Majeure


 

As subtle as a brick and as silly as a juggling monkey riding a unicycle, Swedish Hard Rockers H.E.A.T are back with new album Force Majeure (earMUSIC). It is the Swedes seventh record and despite its over the top, everything and the kitchen sink nature it is a damn good time. It is a rich mixture of AOR, glam metal and hard rock with big riffs, flashy solos and huge choruses coming at you thick and fast. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Monolith Zero – Monolith Zero


 

Here comes summer.

From the opening strains of Monolith Zero’s Monolith Zero (Noise Machine), ‘Seeker (Noise Machine)’ it feels like a drive up Route 1 with the breeze in your hair, the Pacific to your left and mountains to the right. It’s open and airy, full of swirling shades of blue. Monolith Zero has a forward galloping momentum that is infectious. The album gives you itchy feet, you just want to get out and drive (or run, or ride a horse really fast)!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Fozzy – Boombox


Whether it is due to the day-job of Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho, or their weird roots and route, stumbling into being a “proper band” by evolving from a high-profile covers act formed by former Stuck Mojo six-stringer Rich Ward, rightly or wrongly (and the answer is wrongly, by the way), it took 2017’s breakout anthem ‘Judas’ (from the album of the same name), a bona-fide fists-in-the-air voices-to-the-sky classic anthem, to put a stamp of credibility on the twenty-year labour of musical love of Ward and Jericho and push them headfirst through the glass ceiling and into the next level of mainstream consciousness.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Tysondog – Midnight


From escaping their leash and running amok in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene of the early eighties to being put to sleep just five years later, Tysondog may have only had a short life but still managed to make a name for themselves in a highly competitive scene. A packed Neat Records roster including the likes of Raven, Saracen, Avenger and Venom, plus a proliferation of compilation albums available at the time helped the band attain a level of prominence, their song ‘Eat the Rich’ featuring on the likes of British Steel, Metal Killers Vol 2, and Axe Attack.

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EP REVIEW: Vio-lence – Let The World Burn


Bay Area thrashers Vio-Lence might have only been around for eight years but what a magnificent near-decade it was. From their classic hyper-aggressive debut Eternal Nightmare (MCA Records) to the controversial lyrics of ‘Torture Tactics’ and a deliciously questionable vegetable soup and vinegar “vomit bag” plastic record sleeve, the band also launched the career of a certain Robb Flynn who went on to form 1990s game-changers Machine Head, eventually to be followed by guitarist Phil Demmel. With three studio albums under their belts, the band went their separate ways in 1993, only becoming a full-time going concern again in 2019.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Spirits of Fire – Embrace The Unknown


While Embrace The Unknown (Frontiers srl) sees Spirits of Fire continue down the path of classic metal emulation last seen on their 2019 debut, its presentation sees more polish this time around. The production job courtesy of Aldo Lonobile, is considerably cleaner than before, giving the performances much better clarity. Guitarist Chris Caffery continues to lead the charge with an array of Savatage-inspired acrobatics while bass legend Steve DiGiorgio and drummer Mark Zonder make for a hard-hitting rhythm section without getting too flashy.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Zeal and Ardor – Zeal and Ardor


Versatility is something that, depending on the bands and or sub-genres I listen to, has become the main characteristic I look at when listening to new bands and/or new records. Zeal & Ardor checks all of the boxes when defining versatility. This is a band that exceptionally fuses heavy music with some more popular sounds. Have you ever thought you were going to listen to a Black Metal album with R&B melodies and more? Zeal & Ardor has it for you in their latest release Zeal & Ardor (MVKA).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Tony Martin – Thorns


Tony Martin has kept his name out there with some guest performances in recent years but full-lengths have been unfortunately rare to come by. Thorns (Dark Star) the singer’s third solo album, has been a long time coming, being his first full appearance since Giuntini Project‘s IV in 2013 as well as his first proper solo outing since 2005’s Scream (MTM). While this effort could’ve just been a stopgap for Martin to reassert his brand of doomy AOR, it ends up being an opportunity for him to explore some different aspects of his style.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Saxon – Carpe Diem


With the heart attack suffered by frontman Biff Byford back in September 2019 and the global pandemic which followed shortly after, NWOBHM legends Saxon have had a rough old ride the last couple of years. Therefore, Carpe Diem (Silver Lining Music) – translated from Latin into English as “sieze the day” – stands not only as an album title but as a clear and heartfelt message to all.

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