When one thinks about the Power Metal genre, several European bands might come to mind. There are the greats like Blind Guardian, Helloween, and Rhapsody of Fire that have carried this grandiose genre for many years. Yet things are beginning to change. A fresh take on speed, symphony, and big vocals is occurring in North America and Judicator is one of the bands making it happen. They have been around for ten years and are getting ready to release their sixth full-length, The Majesty of Decay (Prosthetic Records). Even with a handful of lineup changes over the past decade, the sound that made people’s ears perk is still there. Known for writing about historical events and people, this new release is a concept album that takes on a much darker theme.
2019’s fully orchestral concept album Legacy of the Dark Lands aside, it’s been seven long years since Blind Guardian‘s last proper full-length release. Seven years, which more recently included a global pandemic and lockdown periods that for much of the music industry meant nothing but frustration and turmoil, but actually afforded the German power metal act time to concentrate on where to head nextContinue reading
Whether you want it to or not, once a nickname is acquired, it sticks. Sometimes for life. For almost as long as the band has existed itself, Californian speed metal legends Megadeth have been known by fans as Megadave. A purely affectionate nickname for sure, but one which grew out of frontman Dave Mustaine‘s often brutal and cold-blooded approach to personnel management. The singular constant in a revolving door of band members, make no mistake. Mustaine is Megadeth. Always was, always will be.
The early eighties Bay Area Thrash scene may be one of the most successful and influential metal scenes of all time. Their waves of influence are still felt today even in the far-off land of Slovenia. Continue reading
Molder ticks off a lot of my sonic checkmarks, but something isn’t quite right here. If Engrossed in Decay (Prosthetic Records) were a dish in its ingredients section you’d read that it contains Autopsy, early Death, Slayer, and a hint of vintage Carcass. Seems like a pretty appetizing meal, right? And there are several moments to sink your teeth into, but overall, I was left unsatisfied. I’ll still recommend the eatery, no doubt, but here’s to hoping that the next entre hits the spot.
Jeff Hanneman, legendary guitarist of Slayer passed away on May 2nd, 2013, nine years ago today. Ghost Cult continues to fly the flag of Slayer high, and customarily we celebrate the life of Jeff, the music he made and the stages he left scorched. His legacy as a riff maker, songwriter, soloist, and metal personality has not been dampened since his death. In the time since he passed, Ghost Cult covered Slayer just as heavily in Jeff’s life, as they released a final studio album with Jeff’s contributions (Repentless), had a legend and friend hold down his spot live (Gary Holt of Exodus), released a comic book with Jeff’s likeness, completed their final world tour ever of two years, released an incredible film/music video trilogy (The Repentless Killogy), former bandmate DaveLombardo wrote a loving tribute to his fallen friend, and we have created two career-spanning retrospectives (read them here and here) on the end of the band. From the time Jeff passed and every night on that final world tour, Slayer honored Jeff during ‘Raining Blood’ with the “still reigning” banner. As we say every year at this time: Hail Jeff and hail Slayer!
It’s hard to believe – especially for some of us Of A Certain Age – that this year sees the fortieth anniversary of legendary German thrashers Destruction. Frontman Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer might be the last man standing from the band’s original line-up (co-founder and guitarist Mike Sifringer having left last year) but the band’s fifteenth full length studio album, Diabolical (Napalm Records) still manages to recapture that old fiery attitude.
Kontact’s debut EP is rather tricky to pin down in terms of style. Voivod makes the most immediate comparison with an aesthetic immersed in similar cosmic theming and the vocals channeling Snake in a similarly manic yet almost robotic sneer. However, the guitar work draws more on Speed Metal gallops and doomy riffs than the high-pitched dissonance that would come with such an association. King Gizzard at their heaviest might also be an applicable reference point though there isn’t quite as much psychedelic fuzz wafting about.Continue reading
While Blazon Stone’s sixth full-length continues down their established path of Running Wild emulation, it’s also the first they’ve released as a full-fledged band. In contrast to past albums that had bandleader Cederick Forsberg recording most of the instruments himself with whoever was available to sing at a given time, Damnation (Stormspell Records) sees him just sticking to the guitars this time around. A completely new lineup has been assembled that includes a new singer, a new drummer, and even Crystal Viper bandmate Marta Gabriel on bass duties.
If you can rely on one thing it’s that legendary Norwegian twosome Darkthrone will continue to not give a flying fig about convention or what people think about them until the day they die. No live shows since 1996, an early decisive leap from death metal to black metal, a total lack of adherence to any kind of rule book, and a succession of albums which basically read as unadulterated love letters dedicated to the music on which they grew up. If you don’t get Darkthrone by now then you never will.