The world is in disarray. Leaders are untrustworthy, people are divided over almost every issue and every day brings new adversity and disappointment. At a time when distrust outweighs optimism there is surely no better opportunity for music to provide a much-needed escape from all the despondency and pessimism. So what do you do if you happen to be UK symphonic Goth metal act Cradle of Filth? That’s right. You release an album called Existence is Futile (Nuclear Blast Records). That’ll cheer everyone right up.
A lot has changed in metal over the last thirty years but you wouldn’t know that by listening to the latest release from German thrash veterans Paradox. A sequel to their 1989 classic, Heresy (Roadrunner Records), Heresy II – End of a Legend (AFM Records) continues the story of the Cathars and the 13th century Albigensian Crusade, an ambitious conceptual endeavour that actually pays off.
Lars Ulrich of Metallica has announced a new special on the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) for Mandatory Metallica, a new limited-engagement SiriusXM radio channel with music and content curated by the band. This new artist-branded channel, a return of their previous 24/7 programming, coincides with the 30th anniversary of the release of The Black Album, which saw a deluxe rerelease September 10th, 2021. Read our review here. Watch a video message from Lars about the show.
When every superlative known to man has already been used a hundred times over, it’s difficult to find something to say about Iron Maiden that hasn’t already been said. Every lyric, song, album and music video has been rated and evaluated to within an inch of its life. Business dealings and interviews are scrutinized in microscopic detail, and the minutiae of every record cover examined and dissected like a hairy art project. The moment anything regarding the band is released, the global hive mind that is Maiden’s information-hungry fan base not only know about it but have already expressed their opinion.
With no less than twenty-two studio albums behind them, NWOBHM legends Saxon are back again but with something a little different this time. Instead of just rummaging around in the attic for an old live recording, or throwing together a contractually obliged “Best Of…”, Barnsley’s finest have taken their time during lockdown to produce something a little more imaginative. Looking to the past, the band has recorded Inspirations (Silver Lining Music/Militia Guard), a collection of songs by artists who made an impact on them at the start of their musical journey. Continue reading
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.
It was a drizzly, grey Saturday morning sometime in 1982 and I was being dragged around the shops by my parents. At some point, we ended up in a WH Smiths record shop. I wasn’t even into music then, of any description, but I flicked idly through the vinyl anyway just to pass the time. By chance, two tall, long-haired cavemen clad in denim and leather came and stood next to me. When one of them leaned over and picked up something called The Number of the Beast it grabbed my attention instantly, my ten-year-old face transfixed by the artwork on the front. As he lifted it out, I noticed more artwork, this time on the back of his jacket. Iron Maiden – Purgatory. It looked magnificent. I’d never even heard of Iron Maiden before then and I certainly didn’t know who or what a Purgatory was, but I knew I wanted to see more. Grabbing the next record in the section, my eyes didn’t leave the intricately painted sleeve until my parents came and literally pulled it out of my hands. Killers.
Most reviews and articles concerning Norwegian dark hearts Okkultokrati seem to contain slightly differing classifications of the band’s sound. I’m no different: if you’re going to mould the likes of Motörhead, Emperor, and Sex Pistols into a ball of spewing hate, you’re playing Punk / Black ‘n’ Roll as far as I’m concerned. Anyone care? Of course not. More interesting is the decision of certain band members to change their stage names in a move that seems purely designed for new album La Ilden Lyse (Southern Lord Recordings), and which corresponds with a further evolution of the sextet’s direction.Continue reading
I’m just going to come right out and say it: Italy’s Forgotten Tomb is one of the most criminally underrated bands in the Harsh Doom arena, most probably because its early fanbase still feels aggrieved at its reinvention from a Black metal band. Get over it: it’s been that way for the last seventeen years and eight albums. With a solid unit existing throughout that period, it’s also safe to say that this is more than Herr Morbid‘s project, and new album Nihilistic Estrangement (Agonia Records) continues to display the trio’s ever-strengthening unity with expansions on the core sound.Continue reading
When Green Carnation, the progressive Norwegian sextet that gave birth to avant-Black pioneers In The Woods, split for the second time in 2007, no-one gave it a cat in hell’s chance of reformation. Yet the green (ahem) shots of recovery spawned with 2018’s live album Last Day of Darkness (Prophecy Productions), and here we are with the band’s sixth album Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist), in what is the 30th anniversary of its formation.Continue reading