ALBUM REVIEWS ROUND-UP: ft. No Devotion – Sumerlands – Smith, Kotzen – Snow Coats – Voyager


 

No Devotion – No Oblivion (Equal Vision)

With an understated class that is a prevalent trait that underpins the second album from No Devotion, a collective featuring Geoff Rickly (Thursday) and Lee Gaze and Stu Richardson (ex-lostprophets), ‘Starlings’ is the gentle breath of life that ushers the album in; lush swathes of synths underpinning an emotive and earnest chorus that could have been taken from the Deftones more reflective moments. Rickly sets a stall out espousing vulnerable confidence and exceptional quality from the outset, before second track ‘No Oblivion’ shows the other side of the bands arsenal with synth motifs dancing around guitars and quasi-industrial beats, and nods to Nine Inch Nails in one of the more abrasive tunes. Continue reading


PODCAST: Episode #170: Niklas Stalvind of Wolf – The Ghost Cult Interview


Ghost Cult caught up Niklas Stalvind of Wolf for a new interview on the podcast! Niklas discussed their new album Shadowland, out now via Century Media Records. Niklas discussed the making of the new album, his creative process, the entire history of the band, how he got started in music, how he manages his work-life balance, and much more! Continue reading


GIVEAWAY: Win Vinyl or CD’s of The New Album from Sleepless – “Host Desecration”


Portland Progressive Trad Metal band Sleepless just released their new album – Host Desecration on the Metal Warrior Records label. The album is chock full of crunching riffs, shifty time signatures, great grooves, and killer vocals! Ghost Cult is teaming up with the band to give away two (2) CD’s or a vinyl (1) to three lucky winners! The vinyl is due out in June! Enter on our post on Instagram! US residents only. Details to win here:

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HEAVY METAL ALBUM REVIEWS ROUND-UP: Maule, Eliminator, Ashes of Ares, and Planeswalker


Maule – Maule (Gates of Hell)

What you see is certainly what you get when it comes to Maule‘s self-titled debut. The Vancouver quartet secures themselves in the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal style, echoing the twin guitars, clanky bass, and street aesthetic of groups like White Wizzard, Traveler, and Pounder. The playing is tight, the pacing is energetic, and one can even detect hints of heavier influence with the vocals’ more thrash-leaning demeanor.Continue reading


EP REVIEWS ROUND-UP: Mortuary Drape, Greyhawk, and Solicitor


 

Mortuary Drape – Wisdom – Vibration – Repent (Peaceville)

When looking at Mortuary Drape’s latest EP, the thing that immediately draws one’s attention is the cover of Mercyful Fate’s ‘Nightmare Be Thy Name.’ In addition to being the only cover to show up on one of Drape’s proper studio releases, it’s a deep cut from one of Fate’s more overlooked efforts. Thankfully it’s ultimately a solid rendition; the obligatory King Diamond falsetto emulations make it an inherent outlier, but the added grit and ominous guitar acrobatics ensure it isn’t out of step with the EP’s original tracks.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Wolftooth – Blood And Iron


 

It would be a stretch to call Wolftooth’s third full-length a Doom Metal album, but Blood And Iron (Napalm Records) is a rather methodical listen by their standards. The songs run noticeably longer than their first two efforts, especially when compared to the compact anthems on Valhalla, with the seven-minute runtimes on the opening ‘Ahab’ and the title track being their lengthiest to date. The pacing also seems slightly more lumbering as the faster sequences have a sort of hesitation behind them and the hooks are decidedly more subtle.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Seven Sisters – Shadow of a Fallen Star, Pt. 1


In contrast to the mythical themes that defined their first two albums, Seven Sisters’ third full-length presents itself with a more otherworldly sci-fi aesthetic. However, the music on Shadow Of A Fallen Star, Pt. 1 (Cherry Red Records) ultimately sustains the classy approach to Heavy Metal seen on its predecessors. Comparisons could be made to groups like Iron Maiden, Aria, and Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath with some helpings of Power Metal in the vein of Hammerfall and old school Kamelot.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Scarecrow – Scarecrow II


As with their 2019 full-length debut, Scarecrow’s second full-length album sees the Russian quartet deepen their commitment to a distinctly off-the-cuff, kitchen sink Occult Metal. Scarecrow II (Wise Blood Records) sits on the arcane line between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal best demonstrated by groups like Seventies-era Scorpions and Judas Priest. There are menacing riffs and banshee vocals galore indicative of Classic Metal but also experimental eccentricities that play like holdovers from the Psych Rock era.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Lavaborne – Black Winged Gods


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.

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