ALBUM REVIEW: James Durbin – The Beast Awakens


James Durbin may have been the “metal guy” during his season on American Idol, but it’s been an uphill battle for him to get any sort of street cred in the actual scene. His subsequent solo albums seemed noncommittal in terms of style and his brief stint singing for Quiet Riot felt more like an odd novelty than a real step forward. It’s hard to tell how the reception towards The Beast Awakens (Frontiers Records srl) will compare but at the very least, it’s a notable turning point on his path to Heavy Metal legitimacy.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Crystal Viper – The Cult


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.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Todd La Torre – Rejoice In The Suffering


Despite being initially judged as a Xerox frontman when he joined Queensrÿche nearly a decade ago, Todd La Torre has proven to be so much more than a great Geoff Tate impression. Far from being a hired gun, La Torre has been a heavy player in the band’s creative process and even put his talents as a drummer to use on 2018’s The Verdict while also contributing guest vocals to other projects. Considering the recent pandemic-induced schedule opening, it was only inevitable for him to finish up his long-awaited debut as a solo artist.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Crystal Viper – The Cult



 

For a band whose schtick has been carrying the torch for old school Heavy Metal, it’s interesting how Crystal Viper’s eighth album feels like a trip to their own early roots. The band didn’t venture too far from that core sound over the years, but The Cult (Listenable Records) comes with the “Running Wild as fronted by Doro Pesch” spirit that defined early staples like The Curse of Crystal Viper or Metal Nation. I like to think that recruiting Ced Forsberg of Rocka Rollas/Blazon Stone fame for drum duties was the spark for this shift in style.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Pounder – Breaking The World


When listening to Pounder’s second album, Breaking The World, one immediately notices an improvement in lead singer/guitarist Matt Harvey’s (Exhumed/Gruesome) vocal performance. His voice still has the husky, untrained timbre that was an unfortunate liability on 2019’s Uncivilized, but also has more conviction and grit behind it this time around. It may still be a dealbreaker for some listeners, but at least they didn’t attempt to put a power ballad on here…

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PODCAST: Episode 131– Gama Bomb Talk “Sea Savage” Album and How To Make Love to a Yeti


Ghost Cult caught up with Philly and Domo from Heavy Metal heshers Gama Bomb to discuss their awesome new album Seas Savage (Prosthetic Records). In a hilarious conversation over Skype, we chatted about the band’s early history up through today, the new changes in the band, their determination to constantly improve, self-producing their albums, how the new configuration of the group writes, breaking the stigma that Heavy Metal can’t be smart, their epic album artwork, and how Snowy the Yeti needs some love! Buy the album here and check out our interview. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Possessed Steel – Aedris


 

While Toronto’s Possessed Steel approached Epic Metal with a rough attitude on the EPs they released in 2014 and 2017, their first proper full-length is much classier in comparison. The style is as grandiose as ever, but a greater emphasis on intricate guitar harmonies and polished production gives Aedris (Temple Of Mystery Records) more in common with a band like Wytch Hazelthan Atlantean Kodex. Further comparisons could also be made to The Lord Weird Slough Feg and Hammers Of Misfortune with the free-flowing structures and pastoral air throughout.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron


It”s been four years since Eternal Champion unleashed The Armor Of Ire in 2016, but the hype has only intensified with their sophomore full-length. Ravening Iron (No Remorse Records) continues the Austin group”s Epic Metal aspirations as the coarse but melodic guitar work casts a dungeon friendly atmosphere and the vocals forever echo Manilla Road”s Mark Shelton (RIP) with their nasally yet bombastic character. Thankfully, there are enough alternate approaches explored that keep this album from feeling like a retread. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Death Dealer – Conquered Lands


Former Manowar guitarist Ross the Boss returns with all guns blazing on Conquered Lands (Steel Cartel), the third full-length release from his subtly named Death Dealer project. In a gloriously predictable manner, the riffs come thick and fast as gods, blood, battles and all other true metal necessities rain down like exploding magma from the skies.

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