ALBUM REVIEW: Babymetal – Metal Galaxy

The new Babymetal album starts off with a funky blend of techno video game and chunky 90s metal power chords. It then whiplashes into some futuristic techno power metal thing. The effect is a dizzying display of aural assault. If you aren’t into mind-bending disparate genre mixing, then you probably won’t like Metal Galaxy (earMusic/BMD Fox Records). Continue reading

Texas Hippie Coalition – High In The Saddle

When you get an album with the band name Texas Hippie Coalition, you have a set of expectations about what it’s going to sound like. A mental image of the music pops into your brain. Texas Hippie Coalition did not disappoint with High In The Saddle (Entertainment One). True to form, it’s Texas-style southern rock with a scruffy “edge” to the lyrics and followable 4/4 beats. If you like listening to Down, Black Label Society, or Southern Train Gypsy, Texas Hippie Coalition is almost but not quite totally unlike that. High In The Saddle straddles the line of rock and roll and country and does so admirably. Continue reading

Arch / Matheos – Winter Eternal

Gobsmacking. That’s the first word that came to mind and I wasn’t even a minute into Winter Eternal (Metal Blade Records). Arch / Matheos deliver everything people like about heavy metal. The music is imbued with headbanging fury. The guitar riffage is sublime. Winter Eternal is that perfect storm of a heavy metal album. It’s a wicked mixture of classically awesome Iron Maiden, heady powerful Dream Theatre, and has the story-telling prowess of Queensryche. Listening to the album makes you go, “Grrrrrrrrrr!” Continue reading

Atlas Pain – Tales Of A Pathfinder

The calliope-like entrance to Atlas Pain’s Tales Of A Pathfinder (Scarlet Records) heralds the auspicious story that encompasses the journey of a lifetime. It’s a wonderful ride that reveals a new world and the pinnacle of the folk metal sound. In true folk metal sound, the sound is jaunty and evokes a visage of happy square dancing in a courtyard. From start to finish, Tales of a Pathfinder feels like what Hobbits and Dwarves having a party together would play for their guests. You get the sense that the mead is flowing generously and some sort of beast is being slow-cooked on a spit over an open flame.

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Yngwie Malmsteen – Blue Lightning

It’s weird hearing Yngwie Malmsteen not doing the Yngwie Malmsteen million mile per hour guitar run thing 100% of the time. Blue Lightning (Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group) is Yngwie’s bluesy take on classic Rock n’ Roll cover songs, hand-picked, played and sung by the guitar virtuoso. It’s a mindbender to hear. It’s like, Blue Lightning consists of classic tunes but Malmsteen and his eccentric guitar playing makes them seem space-age science fiction futuristic sounding. Continue reading

A New Revenge – Enemies and Lovers

Tim “Ripper” Owens and Rudy Sarzo are bangin’ in A New Revenge. The new album, Enemies and Lovers (Golden Robot Records), serves up some good old-fashioned Rock n’ Roll-cum-Heavy Metal hybrid that is sure to get played on repeat for years to come. The songs are timeless in they have a distinctly “Classics” sound already. The music is infectious and it’s easy to sing along with; so many of the songs sound wickedly familiar – just little snippets here and there of guitar work or the cadence of the lyrics. Continue reading

The Scabby Ghouls – Scabby Ghouls

There is a certain subset of people that have an inner glee at the strange and macabre. The Scabby Ghouls are most definitely these people. Scabby Ghouls have released an ode to zombies, horror, and fun. Scabby Ghouls (Out-O-Tune Records) is full of merry Halloween Punk. Short punchy songs make up the album. Thematically, Scabby Ghouls may only appeal to a niche audience, which is a shame as the song construction and musicianship are solid. Continue reading

Zebrahead – Brain Invaders

Good albums are ones that get better every time you listen to them and Zebrahead’s thirteenth full-length Brain Invaders (MFZB Records) falls into this category. Every time you spin Brain Invaders something more fun, lyrics more spot on, feelings more raised occurs. From ‘We’re Not All Alright’ to ‘All Die Young’ Zebrahead crafts catchy pop-Punk leaning tunes that are deep in their observation of society. Continue reading

Skraeckoedlan – Eorpe

Skraeckoedlan’s newest offering is entitled Eorpe (Fuzzorama) – or Earth for the non-Swedes. Eorpe is part Stoner, part psychedelic music, with much sounding like New Wave music from the eighties with modern production values.  There’s a familiarity to the tone and pacing of the music that us old fogies will enjoy, but, it’s “out there” enough for younger listeners to turn on, tune in, and drop out – the blending works as it’s a relaxing non-offensive listen. Continue reading

Skunk Anansie – 25Live@25

I must confess, writing about Skunk Anansie’s 25Live@25 (Republic of Music) is mega hard. I keep jumping up and dancing about the flat, singing loudly and off-key. I’ve been listening to Skunk Anansie since 1995 with the song ‘Selling Jesus’. They haven’t disappointed. They don’t disappoint with this live retrospective either. If you are a major Skunk-head, you are going to flat-out love this album. If you are a newbie, welcome! You are going to love this album.  Continue reading