ALBUM REVIEW: Crom – The Era Of Darkness


 

In the battle for memorable metal, style or substance often battle for dominance. While Germany’s Crom may seem to lean more towards “style” in their sturdy and reliable brand of Trad/Power hybrid metal, the songs on the new release The Era Of Darkness (From The Vaults) also contain a strong measure of strength in the sword arm and fire in the heart.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Riven – Peace and Conflict


I’ve always pictured the Stockholm-bound The Riven as the Swedish version of Thulsa Doom – similar vibes, similar undertones, and similar upbeat resonances. The RIven, as far as I observe, has always been influenced by the sounds from the golden age of classic rock; the 1970s and 1980s. Their sounds are genuinely hard-hitting, sharp-shooting, and they appear to be the kind of sounds that would make you want to headbang as the exciting memories in your head replay themselves in retrospect whilst you listen to them. In terms of genre classification, they might pass as heavy blues rock with progressive, psychedelic, and classical influences and a strong emphasis on menacing riffs as well as vigorous vocals.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Skid Row – The Gang’s All Here


The Gang’s All Here (earMUSIC) is the sixth album from New Jersey’s Skid Row. Of course, the gang in question is somewhat different from the one that emerged in the late eighties with Sebastian Bach at the helm. The core lineup of guitarists Dave “The Snake” Sabo and Scotti Hill plus bassist Rachel Bolan has remained since 1987, but many drummers and singers have come and gone since the band’s 1999 reformation. Rob Hammersmith has sat behind the kit since 2010, whilst former Swedish Idol winner Erik Grönwall only joined earlier this year, replacing ZP Theart.

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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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