ALBUM REVIEW: Helion Prime – Question Everything – Saibot Reigns

Helion Prime’s third album features yet another lead singer shuffle as live vocalist Mary Zimmer (ex-Luna Mortis/White Empress) makes her studio debut, but their sci-fi Power Metal vision remains undeterred. Following the underwhelmed reception to 2018’s Terror Of The Cybernetic Monster, the band seems to aim for a vibe similar to their 2016 self-titled debut. The song structures are similarly streamlined, and the vocals have a consistently poppy character prone to anthemic layering and the occasional Melodeath scream. Guitarists Jason Ashcraft and Chad Anderson’s polished chugs and sweeping leads serve as the grand equalizer.  Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Pallbearer – Forgotten Days

When listening to Forgotten Days (Nuclear Blast), Pallbearer’s fourth full-length, it’s hard to remember a time when they were ever this riff-driven. The title track sets an immediate precedent with its beginning feedback transitioning into pummeling yet catchy verses, a surprisingly hooky chorus, and a softer bridge that manages to keep the momentum going. ‘The Quicksand Of Existing’ and ‘Vengeance Ruination’ serve up even more heaviness in the album’s second half with the former’s straightforward chugs standing out. Considering past jabs I’ve made about Pallbearer being one of the most riff-adverse groups in Doom Metal, it’s a very refreshing change of pace.

Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Spirit Adrift – Enlightened In Eternity

Spirit Adrift could’ve followed the more accessible bent of 2019’s Divided In Darkness with more of the same but chose to mix things up to an even greater degree with their fourth full-length album. The tug o’ war between Doom and Traditional Metal that has defined their style has turned in the latter’s favor with more songs taking on upbeat tempos. The lyrics have also undergone a noticeable attitude adjustment with a decidedly optimistic outlook and an emphasis on metaphysical galactic imagery. There are enough common denominators to help Enlightened In Eternity (20 Buck Spin/Century Media) fit in with their established trajectory, but it may be their most drastic sound shift thus far.

Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: High Spirits – Hard To Stop 

 

High Spirits’ endearing sincerity has always been a shining contrast to the often-sour realms of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, and that feelgood brightness is needed now more than ever. While it’s been four years since the release of their last album, 2016’s Motivator, the Chicago project’s fourth full-length doesn’t skip a beat and their established blend of AOR and Classic Metal is well intact. You always know what you’re getting but it’s presented with far too much enthusiasm to ever feel stale.

Continue reading

White Wizzard Gives an Update on Their New Album

Ghost Cult previously broke the news that Trad Heavy Metal White Wizzard have reunited and are working on new music. Now the band has offered some more information about their upcoming comeback album and Kickstarter campaign to launch the pre-orders to support the album. Check out the update below and get pumped for some new music soon from this vital band. Continue reading

White Wizzard Reunites, New Music and Kickstarter Coming Soon

Some bands make it big and then burn out fast. Traditional Heavy Metal White Wizzard was that band until yesterday when they reunited, less than one year after breaking up. The announcement was made in an interview with founder and bassist Jon Leon via Loudwire. last year. The band released four full-length albums that worship old school traditional metal, but never-ending lineup changes plagued the band, among other issues. Now, they’ve reunited, and have recruited former members from across different points of the band’s career. There will be a new album at some point too. Leon was quoted: “In the history of White Wizzard, it has always been an evolving entity. There has been one singer that has sang twice as many shows than any singer in the band, and to probably 10x the amount of people”. The new lineup is Leon, joined by Mikey Dean Gremio  – vocals James J. LaRue – guitar, Will Wallner – guitar, and Devin Lebsack – drums. Continue reading

High Reeper – Higher Reeper

One of my more favorite quotable lines of recent memory comes from Avengers: Infinity War. Spoiler alert for those who have not seen it, or lived under a rock. When Thor meets the Guardians of the Galaxy, ends up on their ship The Milano, and engages in some snappy banter,, this is the thing tickling my funny bone. When Thor exclaims they need to proceed to Nidavellir, and when posed with the reply that’s a made-up word, he replies “All words are made up.” This is not only funny but it’s true! And it made me think about what else, music. Specifically how all sub-genres are made up and in context to all the music we hear. One year after their sizzling debut, it’s time to enjoy this bitching brand new and totally badass High Reeper album, Higher Reeper (Heavy Psych Sounds). Continue reading

Horna – Hengen Tulet

a0640354477_10

By now we all know what to expect from Finnish sinistras Horna, right? Frozen wastelands due in no small part to a raw, hissing production? Frenetic blastbeats?? Scything tremolo riffs that slice you to pieces??? You’d be bang on, of course.

There’s something a little different, however, within ninth full-length Hengen tulet (World Terror Committee): the Crust groove during the mid-section of opener ‘Amadriada’, for starters, having a ‘B-movie’ Shock ‘n’ Roll feel about it. Spellgoth’s vocal, usually rich with emphysemic qualities that tear my own breath away, here seems much spikier: just as hostile as we’ve come to know, but given a tinnier edge which evokes images of burst larynxes. The ensuing ‘Ajan Päättyessä’ is at times furious, a Punk edge evident in verses with drums high in the mix, the staggering pace of the chorus only met by the sheer conflagration of every element exploding in nefarious union.

Whilst everything here paints those familiarly spectral sketches of icy Scandinavian fjords in the black of night, variation exists in spades: the brooding, almost Doom-like pace of ‘Nekromantia’ is a sinister delight; Spellgoth’s steadily growing, ramshackle roar terrifying the senses. The Trad sections of ‘Tämä Maalima Odottaa’, meanwhile, break up periods of utter bludgeon where careering rhythm threatens to crash into a wall but never does. That ‘on the brink’ accuracy links with lightning drama during the at times mournful, bleak ‘Ikuisuuden Kynnyksellä’: early segments of wonderfully controlled yet flashing speed infuse with shimmering leads toward a second movement of fearful melancholy, and it’s in moments like these where Horna displays true songcraft.

There are dull moments, such as the plodding ‘Sodan Roihu’ and the tempo-changing but largely uninspired ‘Saatanalle’. There’s also a danger that true darkhearts may find the overall product a little jaded but the album’s high points such as the despondent, doleful crush of ‘Hurmos’ with its amazingly powerful, rasped vocal, and the bloodthirsty, ravaging yet intriguing closer ‘Profeettasi’, more than overshadow this threat.

 

6.5/10.0

 

PAUL QUINN