ALBUM REVIEW: White Magician – Dealers In Divinity

Consisting entirely of musicians from the eccentric Demon Bitch with equally esoteric pseudonyms, Detroit’s White Magician settles firmly into the world of heavy Occult Rock on their first full-length album. “The Agents Of Fortune”-esque cover art is enough to indicate that any comparisons to Blue Öyster Cult are likely intentional; the band exercises a similarly freerolling attitude with an ominous undercurrent. But while Dealers Of Divinity (Cruz Del Sur Music) gambles on a well-trod formula, the group seems to have a couple of aces up their sleeves.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Wytch Hazel – III: Pentecost

With Wytch Hazel having established their style right from their 2011 formation, each of their releases has mostly been a matter of fine-tuning and making tweaks to their Hard Rock vision. The band’s third full-length album is no exception as it delivers its signature blend of Celtic melodies and spiritual lyrics with brazen positivity. Past efforts have been enjoyable in their own right but III: Pentecost (Bad Omen Records) may be the strongest execution of the formula so far.  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.

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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.

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EP REVIEW: Turkey Vulture – Time To Pay 

Time To Pay (Self-Released)  is the new EP from Connecticut’s Turkey Vulture, a duo consisting of Jessie May (guitar, vocals, bass, cello) and Jim Clegg (drums, artwork). The EP is a force of incredible energy that nods to a deceptively diverse set of influences. This is punk; this is doom metal; this is stoner rock. Above all, it emanates a refreshingly raw and gloriously unpolished power. Continue reading

EP REVIEW: Midnight Dice – Hypnotized – Underground Power Records

Coming off a self-titled demo in 2019, Midnight Dice’s first EP, Hypnotized (Underground Power Records/Hoove Child Records), sees the Chicagoans continuing to build their momentum. Comparisons to the musicians’ previous band Satan’s Hallow remain inevitable as Hypnotized rides on a similarly anthemic Classic Metal style. However, there are also developments that show the band beginning to carve out a more distinct identity. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Greyhawk – Keepers Of The Flame

The first full-length album from Seattle’s Greyhawk is a particularly interesting iteration of the NWOTHM scene. A focus on hooky songwriting with an epic tone makes for easy comparisons to such contemporaries as Visigoth and Traveler as the production carries a polished sheen similar to the likes of Haunt or Idle Hands. While these factors would initially suggest that the band is just another notch in a long line of derivatives, they find a lot of ways to set themselves apart on Keepers Of The Flame (Fighter Records).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Burning Witches – Dance With The Devil

Formed only five years ago, Swiss act Burning Witches are already set to release album number three. Their first full-length record since the departure of original singer Seraina Telli in June last year, Dance with the Devil (Nuclear Blast) features her replacement Laura Guldemond on vocal duties and the five-piece haven’t missed a beat. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Victor Smolski’s Almanac – Rush Of Death

Speed and heavy metal tend to go hand in hand, so it comes as no surprise that Almanac guitarist Victor Smolski (formerly of German legends Rage) also has a sideline in motor racing. A runner-up in the Supercars division of German Rallycross in 2018/19, Smolski has taken his love of burning rubber and hit the accelerator on the band’s latest album Rush of Death (Nuclear Blast Records). Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Demons & Wizards – III

It’s hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since power metal supergroup Demons and Wizards released their last album. A collaborative effort between Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian and Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth, the two frontmen finally found the time amid their busy schedules to work together once again, returning to the project so widely anticipated by their legion of devoted fans. Continue reading