Proggy Power Meal artist Jeff Black has released a new single, his sixth in recent times, “Silence!” The track features James Delbridge of Lycanthro on vocals, and is a soaring, inspirational track. All the hallmarks of Jeff’s style can be heard here, as “Silence” continues to build on his previous work. Drawing influences from both Power Metal greats and Heavy Metal legends, Jeff’s recent singles have featured guests ranging from Adamantis, Seven Sisters and Greyhawk. He plans to release a new single monthly in 2021! Check out the track here only at Ghost Cult!
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?).
With nine years spent waiting since the release of their last album, 2012’s Bury The Light, Pharaoh returns in forceful fashion with their fifth full-length. The Powers That Be (Cruz Del Sur Music) could very well be the Power Metal veterans’ most aggressive outing since 2006’s The Longest Night, bringing in a borderline thrash undercurrent with the guitar’s blazing technical runs along with the vocals’ established grit. This is established right off the bat with the title track’s assertive crunch and ‘Will We Rise’ follows up the intensity with some added Classic Metal flavor.
Sometimes, even for grumpy middle-aged metal fans, wishes can come true. So when it was announced in 2017 that former Helloween members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen were to join the current incarnation of the band there was much, much rejoicing. The Pumpkins United (Nuclear Blast) single which followed swiftly dispelled any initial concerns about musical overcrowding, the band now consisting of seven members including three vocalists plus Hansen adding a third guitar, and the path to Helloween (Nuclear Blast) was clear.
It’s been well documented that the road to Aggression Continuum (Nuclear Blast Records), the latest album from Californian cyber-metallers Fear Factory, has been strewn with obstacles, challenges, and all manner of highly publicised internal disputes. Since its recording, the band has endured a lengthy legal battle which concluded with the departure of vocalist Burton C Bell, and saw guitarist, songwriter, and current studio bassist Dino Cazares winning the rights to the Fear Factory name via auction.
Like 2018’s Becoming A Demon EP before it, Silver Talon’s first full-length album feels like the missing link between Sanctuary and Nevermore. The latter is especially felt with the sweeping layers of Jeff Loomis-style shred guitar, modern tones, and densely arranged vocal melodrama ala mid-era Warrel Dane. There is also an underlying Power Metal spirit throughout is perhaps most rooted in something like Refuge Denied or even classic Queensryche. The band has only doubled down on that spirit with Decadence And Decay (M-Theory Audio).
Before getting to the bigger business of their next full-length studio album, Glory For Salvation (AFM Records), scheduled for release later this year, Italian quintet Rhapsody of Fire provides a little taster with new eight-track EP, I’ll Be Your Hero (AFM Records).
Project: Roenwolfe occupies a prime position in one of the Heavy Metal world’s more overlooked niches. Their Power/Thrash Metal fusion provides a trifecta of melodicism, intricacy, and aggression that is most directly in line with Iron Savior while also triggering associations with Helstar and Heathen, among others. Edge Of Saturn (Divebomb Records) is their first album since they debuted with 2013’s Nightmare Dreamscape. And as expected, there have been some upgrades in that eight-year timeframe.
Haunt – Beautiful Distraction
Having released six full-lengths and other assorted releases in just five years, it’s only inevitable for Haunt’s output to start getting samey. Their first (and probably not last) album in 2021, Beautiful Distraction carries on the polished, synth-laden variant of Heavy Metal last seen on 2020’s Mind Freeze and Flashback. Fortunately, the formula is still enjoyable with tracks like ‘In Our Dreams’ and ‘Face Of Danger’ offering uplifting hooks while ‘Imaginary Borders’ hits. It’s rather strange to see new versions of ‘Hearts On Fire’ and ‘It’s In My Hands’ considering their appearances on prior albums, but their later placements in the track order ultimately amount to inoffensive inclusions. As interchangeable as these albums have become lately, fans will still find their favorite pleasantries on full display.
7 / 10
Witchseeker – Scene Of The Wild
Like 2017’s When The Clock Strikes before it, the second album from Singapore’s Witchseeker offers high octane Speed Metal with a certain Hard Rock sensibility. That latter element is especially pronounced on Scene Of The Wild (Dying Victims Productions) as songs like ‘Rock This Night Away,’ ‘Sin City’ (Not an AC/DC cover), and ‘Tokyo Nights’ among others are packed with catchy singalongs and frolicking beats. Fortunately, there’s still enough rawness to go around with the tempos often opting for total intensity, the vocals having an endearingly untrained quality and a filthy as hell bass tone. It may not be a serious gamechanger but another fun listen for fans of Enforcer and White Wizzard.
8 / 10
Significant Point – Into The Storm
Significant Point’s debut album follows in the footsteps of their countrymen in groups like Loudness and Anthem, but their approach to Speed Metal ends up feeling more German than Japanese. Songs like the opening ‘Attacker’ and ‘Riders Under The Sun’ show strong influence from Running Wild and Walls Of Jericho-era Helloween with their blazing guitar runs, flamboyant harmonies, relentless drumming, and unhinged yet melodic wails.
There’s also room for more Classic Metal leaning fun with ‘You’ve Got The Power’ and ‘Night Of The Axe’ offering some in your face optimism. The more epic touches on ‘Running Alone’ also make for another highlight of a closer. Into The Storm (Dying Victims Productions) may be rather rough and tumble for some fans, especially when it comes to the vocals, but comes strongly recommended to those who like their Power Metal with extra grit.
8 / 10
With a solo career that is now going over two decades strong, Blaze Bayley shows no signs of slowing down with his tenth full-length album. While War Within Me (Blaze Bayley Records) is an inevitable step back from the Infinite Entanglement trilogy that he released through the late 2010s, this has more to do with the sense of scale than any sort of quality concerns. If anything, the album is essentially a fun look back on everything that Blaze has accomplished thus far.