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.
It takes a lot of blood, sweat, beers to make it in the music business. A lot of bands form around a good idea, some beers, mutual bands, or a few riffs, heat up, run cold and call it day. Few bands have the temerity to overcome real adversity with all the music industry shit that crushes your soul. If you know, you know. Graveslave has overcome the death of their original vocalist Don “Doombringer” Durkee in 2019, and are still here. Putting out a killer EP during the lockdown Devotion, and now a new album, this is far above what most others could muster. No matter what happens in their career, they have defied the odds for the love of music.
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.
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.
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?).
You want brutal? You got it! The debut album from Yautja (members of Thou, Coliseum, Mutilation Rites), The Lurch (Relapse Records), is that in spades. If you’re into just an all out onslaught of driving grooves mixed with crazy, double stops, and all the above, this is the cut for you! Not to get too into it, but this is right up my alley. I dig it when a band is their own thing, or their own entity, so to speak. They are just themselves.