I haven’t been to a show downstairs at The Middle East since 2014 when Septicflesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse tour together for the Conquerors of the World Tour, so needless to say, this was both an exciting and nostalgic night. Dragon plated shoulder armor, Dungeons and Dragons lore discussions, and a theory about a giant tortoise God that will take over the universe alongside Cthulhu fill the air with anticipation for the first band to take the stage.
Featuring members of Wayfarer and Blood Incantation, Stormkeep plays Melodic Black Metal with a particularly epic flair. Their first full-length album, Tales of Othertime (Van Records), reflects great deal of influence from such groups as Dissection, Emperor, and Old Man’s Child. The production is claustrophobically atmospheric without getting too raw, the guitar sweeps are flamboyantly choppy, the vocals put in the expected rasps with the occasional cleans shining through, and the keyboards reinforce the theatrical aura without completely dominating the proceedings.
The songwriting also plays a fun game of contrasts with the six tracks consisting of four lengthy runs supplemented by a couple Dungeon Synth instrumentals. ‘The Citadel’ is a particularly striking example of the latter at work, putting in the sort of medieval swells and lonely trickles that would do Summoning proud, while ‘A Journey Through Storms’ makes for the most triumphant showing of the more orthodox Black Metal excursions. The album is very of its influences but with Stormkeep executing these tropes with such sincere fervor, the enthusiasm is contagious.
8 / 10
Wraith – Undo The Chains
Indiana’s Wraith has always been an enjoyable addition to the post-Midnight/Toxic Holocaust school of Blackened Thrash bands riding a gritty formula that is often simple but hard to truly screw up. Their third album, Undo The Chains (Redefining Darkness Records), shakes up the formula with some extra dynamics. Though still featuring a familiar mix of grimy riffs and filthy vocals, the band plays around with tempos more than before.
This is most apparent with the slow grind of the midway highlight ‘Time Wins’ though other tracks like ‘Gatemaster’ and ‘Cloaked In Black’ put in more mid-tempo chugs. Of course, there’s still plenty of fast hearty Thrash to go around and they even snuck a bit of Punk into ‘Born To Die’ and ‘Disgusting.’ Wraith albums always make fun listening for fans of the genre, but Undo The Chains is easily their best rounded effort.
8 / 10
Morgul Blade – Fell Sorcery Abounds
Morgul Blade’s first full-length is driven by a sound best described as Blackened Heavy Metal. The guitar leads and riffing patterns are driven by a dark Mercyful Fate-esque overcast with some tinges of Power Metal-inspired triumph while the vocals are in a near constant tug-o-war between baritone bellows and legible screeches. The production maintains a distant yet coherently grandiose haze all the while and there’s even a couple dedicated spots for some Synth layers to shine.
With these varying elements in a state of integrating and pulling apart, this would raise concerns that Fell Sorcery Abounds (No Remorse Records) is an incohesive listen. While ‘The Morgul Blade’ and ‘A Last Waltz of Gevaudan’ open on the album’s grimmest notes, things soon settle into an ominously anthemic air that comes through the most strongly on ‘In The Grip Of The Dark Lord,’ the Grim Reaper-esque ‘Sons Of The Night,’ and ‘The Five Will Ride at Dawn.’ I must admit the album might’ve benefitted from a consistently more upbeat pace, but this is a fun listen that lays down a neat template to develop even further.
8 / 10
The Night Eternal – Moonlit Cross
Coming off their 2019 self-titled EP, The Night Eternal’s first full-length does a lot to conjure the memory of In Solitude. Their Gothic tendencies are somewhat understated in comparison, but the combination of yelping baritone vocals and dark Mercyful Fate-inspired guitar acrobatics results in a similar blend of Doomy Traditional Metal. The first half is solid enough with ‘Son Of Sin’ putting in a particularly nifty Maiden-esque series of gallops.
The second half is where Moonlit Cross (Van Records) really picks up; ‘Shadow’s Servants’ is an enjoyable mid-tempo rocker and the rhythms on ‘Prison Of Flesh’ boast some forward momentum along with some extra conviction in the vocals that carries over nicely into ‘Closeness In Suspension’ and the closing title track. A rearranged track order might’ve made for an even more cohesive listen, but this is ultimately a fun niche effort.
8 / 10
Tower – Shock To The System
It’s been five years since TOWER released their self-titled debut, but their second album picks up where its predecessor left off. Shock To The System (Cruz Del Sur Music) continues to straddle the line between Hard Rock and Classic Metal with gritty rhythms, flailing twin guitars, and unhinged vocals ala Savage Master and Solicitor.
There’s been some solid developments in the songwriting as tracks like ‘Prince of Darkness,’ ‘Lay Down The Law’ and ‘In Dreams’ benefit from more fleshed out structures while ‘On The Line’ and the closing ‘Powder Key’ make for some hard-hitting rough and tumble Speed Metal. It’s a simple but effective execution that should sit well with old school Heavy Metal fans.
2021 has not been a good year for Power Metal. Whether that is genre-leaders Gloryhammer undertaking significant acts of self-sabotage and unforgivable prickery, or just the product itself – only Beast In Black‘s Eurovision bops came anywhere near denting our Album of the Year chart, causing a light scratch in the outer realms, with perhaps a dead cat bouncing Rhapsody of Fire with any legitimate claim to unfair treatment.Continue reading →
New Orleans Thrash Legends Exhorder will begin their long-awaited US Headlining Tour tonight in Brooklyn with Take Offense, Extinction A.D., and Plague Years tonight. The band will perform all of their classic 1990 album Slaughter In The Vatican in full along with other hits. The band is working on a new album for relase in 2022 as well!
Ghost Cult returns to Gimme Metal hosts today as our chief, Keefy, hosts our very own “Guest DJ special!” Celebrating 9 years of www.ghostcultmag.com, He’ll bring you a two-hour show of killer tunes today, Tuesday, November 9th at 11 AM EST with our own curated playlist of awesome metal tracks from across Death Metal, Stoner Doom, Prog, Thrash, Viking, Dark Folk, Black Metal, and more! Bands on our playlist include Creeping Death, Vreid, Matriarchs, Suffocation, Melvins, and more! Sign up for FREE with the app or online, tune in and let’s goooooo! Continue reading →
Ghost Cult is honored to once again join the ranks of past, present and future Gimme Metal hosts this week as our chief, Keefy, hosts our very own “Guest DJ special!” Celebrating 9 years of www.ghostcultmag.com, He’ll bring you a two-hour show of killer tunes this Tuesday, November 9th at 11 AM EST with our own curated playlist of awesome metal tracks from across Death Metal, Stoner Doom, Prog, Thrash, Viking, Dark Folk, Black Metal, and more! Sign up for FREE with the app or online, tune in and let’s goooooo! Continue reading →
South Shore of Massachucetts-based Death / Thrash metal band Cetragore has released theri debut EP “Chancellors of Death”. Recorded from August to September 2021, the EP shows off their penchant for crushing riffs and killer grooves. The impressive young band ranges from Old-school Death Metal to thrash influences and will find fans from bands such as Obituary, Immolation, and Jungle Rot, as well as more modern sounds. Stream the EP here!
The last few years have been very good for Trad Metal bands and their fans. Be it the maturing of the old school heavy metallers, or the young hipstery bizarro mustachio, vest metal crew that have formed a new age fanbase, it’s been heartwarming to see a horde of fans support so many worthy bands of late. One that has gotten on my radar the last few years is Lavaborne; mid-western warriors who eschew the vanilla tropes of the style in favor of originality, top songcraft, and true Trad reverence.
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.
If you are missing some new Thrash Metal then I would gladly invite you to give the new album from Bay Area Thrashers Infex a listen. I came into this review with no idea at all who Infexwas, but now I know! This album is in a word, thrashtastic. I love to write about a band that’s all about riffage and crafting around said riff. This album took me back to when I was playing in a “Threath band” (thrash/death metal), a term coined by my former singer.