Although the brand of epic European power metal that Crystal Viper performs is most definitely up my street, I must preclude this review by admitting that aside from hearing the odd song here and there, I have had no real exposure to them on a studio album level. The Cult, is the Polish act’s eighth full-length release in a legacy that has thus far lasted eighteen years. At face value, a band that maintains that level of consistency would have me assume they have nailed down a singular style and were comfortable releasing records in said style without a whole lot of variation. It is therefore with a great sense of irony that my first review of their noise is of a disc which caught me completely off guard by occupying a different scene entirely. The sweetly epic elements the band is known for are certainly present in The Cult, but the power metal is largely downplayed in favour of a more classic but simultaneously epic style of heavy metal, one that calls back to the days of bands like Accept and Saxon without ever sounding derivative of either.
I think it’s fair to say that there is nothing unexciting about the prospect of seeing Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust perform under the roof of a sweaty club on a Friday night. Through their consistently solid releases and even better live reputation, these highly regarded acts in equal parts reignited interest in the possibilities of what modern thrash metal could truly offer. With Municipal Waste’s image and sound playing heavily into nostalgia for 80’s crossover acts such as D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies, Ryan Waste and the boys reminded us, for better or for worse, just how blistering the genre could be during an era where metalcore dominated the loud rock mainstream when they dropped The Art of Partying back in 2007.Continue reading
When thinking of the power metal scene in general, you would be forgiven for not necessarily considering Britain an institution of it. Considering that Germany has offered the worldwide scene the likes of Helloween and Blind Guardian, and Finnish groups such as Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, it is unsurprising that power metal shows in the UK come few and far between, despite the country’s roots in the highly influential NWOBHM genre.Continue reading
While I patiently waited in line to enter one of the most beloved metal and rock venues the North of England has to offer (Namely, Rebellion Rock Bar) I somehow got talking to a guy in front of me who aligned himself with, in his own words, “the communal religions”. While practices such as paganism, druidism and a vague belief in “old ways” will be familiar to anyone with a vague knowledge of folk metal themes, it became quickly apparent to me that Bloodywood, a band characterized by their fusing of traditional Indian instrumentation with the groove-laden riffage of nu-metal, is rapidly becoming an important band in the lives of many since they went viral in 2017. It seemed to me that the tribalism and brotherhood of this six-piece promote played a part in aiding this guy through depression, and for a band as young as they are, I was immediately intrigued by what they had to offer.Continue reading
Throughout the journey from my home in the North of England to Leicestershire’s infamous Download Festival, I could be sure of only two things as a first time attendee; that I would absolutely see Tool headline, and that I would have to endure what was to become the muddiest weekend of my life in order to reach that point.Continue reading
For the past decade or so, melodeath heavyweights In Flames have divided the worldwide metal community. After beginning humbly as a melodic side-project to Jesper Strömblad’s traditional death metal band Ceremonial Oath, the Gothenburg group went on to release a string of innovative albums throughout the mid to late 90s that earned them unanimous acclaim for pioneering a much cleaner, more NWOBHM inspired style of death metal. Alongside the likes of bands such as Dark Tranquility and At the Gates, this fresh approach took the metal world by absolute storm. However, the turn of the decade has seen the Swedes popularity tower to heights not often reached without musical compromise, a notion that most bands of their genre would never dare to entertain. In the case of Anders Fridén and co, they boldly made the decision to incorporate friendly grooves and alternative metal riffs into a core sound that was always considered to be its best when abrasive, off-putting and relentless.
Here in the UK, a power metal tour of any capacity is a cause for mass celebration due to their relative infrequency. Generally speaking, a power metal act will make a sporadic appearance in London alone, and possibly a major summer festival here and there, meaning that unlucky Richards like yours truly in the north or the Midlands will miss out on the action. However, if you happen to live in Mainland Europe, the possibilities and combinations of acts are endless.Continue reading
Often labeled as past its peak, or sometimes worse, Nu-Metal is one of those subgenres that is loathed by some and loved by others, but by some weird paradox has never failed to maintain its relevance or draw a crowd. Though djent and post Killswitch Engage metalcore is all the craze these days, I always enjoy pointing out to the naysayers that very few bands in either scene have amassed a gargantuan fanbase on the level of a Slipknot, Korn or Deftones. It is a genre that for many a metalhead such as myself and those I encountered tonight at The Bread Shed, was the first to expose them to heavy music, and its importance has clearly endured through California’s Otep, who arrive on UK shores for the first time in almost two decades for their “Art of Dissent” tour. Continue reading