Monday, November 20, 2017

Stunner-Nightfighter EP

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Stunner is a damn cool name for a heavy metal band. When it comes to the wicked fury of this four-piece group from Gainesville, Florida (which rather surprising has only been active for about a year now), Stunner is also the perfect choice as far as moniker go! That's especially true when we're talking about a up-and-coming band that lives and breaths all things heavy metal. On the group's stone cold-killer debut release, "Nightfighter EP", that translates over to a kick ass mixture of old school heavy metal (everything from Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath all the way to Gotham City and Heavy Load!) and
the modern movement that is N.W.O.T.H.M. Comprised of vocalist/drummer Daniel, guitarists Eric and Pete, and bassist Mitch, Stunner draws it's inspiration from a lot of different places and yet it all comes blazing at you with an air of originality. For a band that is still technically young, "Nightfighter EP" has the vibe  and the flow of a veteran outfit that is on fire once again! Stunner's three-track debut (which you can find by heading here) is a guitar-heavy release that hits all of the right notes and makes you want to hear what else this band is capable of. It should feel right at home next to your Avenger's music collection and your Cauldron one. Hopefully this three-track EP is just the start of better things to come. For more information on this righteous metal act be sure to check out the band's Facebook page.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Emerald-Voice for the Silent

Metal On Metal Records
2017

Dutch heavy metal band Emerald, originally known as Warrior (under which name a four-song demo was released) and not to be confused with the handful of other Emeralds out there (both active and defunct), is a four-piece group that was initially active between 1984 and 1989. During their first run the group released one LP. That album is entitled "Down Town" and it came out in 1985. It's taken the band some thirty plus years to offer up a follow-up, but as they say, it's better late than never! Having reformed in 2002 and with all four of the original musicians responsible for "Down Town" appearing on this epic comeback (vocalist Bert Kivits, guitarist Allard Ekkel, bassist Essie Zagers*, and drummer Rudy Marissen), "Voice for the Silent" is Emerald's long-anticipated sophomore release. With the additional help of co-lead guitarist Paul van Rijswijk, "Voice for the Silent" is also a nod and a wink to the old school. For anyone that loves eighties heavy metal and the better aspects of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene, "Voice of the Silent" is a real testament to the glory and power of traditional heavy metal!! Since much of the material was actually written back in the eighties, "Voice of the Silent" has the feel of a long lost classic of yesterday. Of course the analogue production goes a long ways towards making this album sound like a lost gem of the eighties. To that end, "Voice of the Silent" makes for a must-have CD if you are into heavy metal's glory days. It is a nice blend of melodic material and raise your fists in the air METAL! Lead vocalist Bert Kivits sounds as energetic and enthusiastic as he did in 1985 and (musically) Emerald is just so smooth and rock-steady when it comes to delivering the metallic goods. Available on CD and as a digital download (click here for more info), "Voice for the Silent" is geared towards anyone that just loves real, honest to goodness heavy metal. Mad thanks to Emerald** for keeping that flag waving!




*Sadly Essie Zagers passed away in 2016. This album is dedicated to his memory.

**As of this writing the group is rounded out by bassist André Wullems.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Visitör-Visitör

Tribunal/Divebomb Records
2017

Formed in 1989 and sadly no longer active, Visitör was a five-piece thrash metal band from Orange County that was comprised of Kurt Schultz (vocals), Joey Brown and Rob Skyler (guitars), E.K. Wright (bass), and Tony Stanley (drums). In 1993 the group released it's only studio album to date, "Visitör". Sandwiched in between a pair of demos, Visitör's self-titled debut was a killer example of Grade A thrash. Seeing as it was 1993 when it originally dropped (with grunge having all but destroyed the metal scene), "Visitör" had almost no chance of attaining proper recognition. Thankfully the good folks over at Tribunal/Divebomb Records saw what a travesty of justice that was. With originally copies of the CD not fetching upwards of $100.00, "Visitör" is now getting a proper re-release and that is great news for fans of bands like Annihilator, Heathen, Vio-lence, Sanctuary, Kreator, Slayer, and Realm! The 2017 version of "Visitör" has been re-mastered and it includes an unreleased bonus track from 2010 called "Masters of Nations". The CD comes with a great booklet and it makes for the perfect addition to any thrash metal fan’s collection. As a lifelong fan of all things thrash metal it is so cool to see underground albums like this one get the proper respect that they deserve.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Speedclaw-Iron Speed

speedclaw_800x800
Shadow Kingdom
2017

Hailing from Croatia, Speedclaw have knocked a six song tape with five originals and a cover of Exciter's Heavy Metal Maniac. Let's get to the positives- they have tried to travel back in time to 82-83 and play a style of metal that draws on both NWOBHM such as Saxon, Maiden, Raven and they draw from early speed metal like Exciter and Slayer. I'm all for drawing from that period and those type of bands. The vocals are pretty good and manage to compliment the music well enough. Normally if a band does an EP I hate to see a cover because it means less originals, but their Exciter cover does the  original justice. Now to the negatives. While what is  here is mostly good I just couldn't get past how basic it was at some spots. They are certainly better than other bands playing this style, but if I compare to debuts from other band s playing this style in the last decade like say Enforcer or Cauldron I'd say Speedclaw come up short. They have to potential to really be something, but just have to work on fleshing out their songs a bit more. I wish them luck in future and look forward to seeing what they do next.

Labels: , ,

Haunt-Luminous Eyes

Shadow Kingdom Records
2018

Haunt is a one-man heavy metal project from Trevor William Church (guitarist/vocalist of the California doom metal band Beastmaster). The four-song "Luminous Eyes", which was originally a self-release and is already available to download at the highlighted link, is the first studio recording from Haunt and it is a total blast from the past. It resides in the small void between 80’s classic metal and the underground part of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene and is a must-have for fans of (darkly-tinted) traditional metal. Shadow Kingdom Records plans of releasing this well-crafted EP on CD, 12" vinyl, and cassette tape at some point in the near future and a full-length album is reportedly in the works.


Current playlist

a1255889676_16

Saw Virginia's LNT play to a sparse crowd in DIY place which was a cold attic the other day, but they put on a great show.

Current listening to-
LNT-Socially Dysfunctional (their latest, but a new one is supposed to come out soon)
Darkness-Defenders of justice (had not heard this one in ages)
Saxon- Power and the glory (playing in anticipation of seeing them with Priest in a few months)
Alice Cooper- The last temptation (had not heard this since it first came out in '94)
Argus-several (one of the best doom bands going today)
Conan-Man is myth (review maybe coming soon)
Speedclaw-Iron speed (review hopefully coming soon)


Reading-various cookbooks mostly

Watching-
Castle season five
Twilight Zone the complete series
Football and hockey

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 13, 2017

Draghkar-World Unraveled

draghkar - cover

2017

This is a three track demo from California's Draghkar. This is old style death metal with a definite early-mid 90's influences all stamped all over it. Wings over Malkier is a riff-driven slugfest that smashes away with a brief, but well down slow bit in the middle. Cowering in the town of blinded eyes roars on next with more pace changes then the opener, but maintains the high intensity level. Towards the end of this one they toss some controlled bursts before the end and they were great and I almost wished they had put in the song at an earlier point. World Unraveled closes out the tape and it's likely my favorite of the three just because it's equally as heavy as the other two, but has a bit more direction. This is raw cavernous style death metal with a lot to recommend about it. The biggest downside may have been the sound quality was decent, but not great which can be expected from a demo at times. I would definitely like to hear what they can do on a  full length album.

Labels: , , ,

Pale Horseman-The Fourth Seal

Black Bow Records
2017

Falling somewhere between aggressive doom metal with a death metal kick(!) and extreme (riff-heavy and twisted!) sludge, Pale Horseman is a four-piece band from Chicago, Illinois that has been tearing up the scene since 2012. As of this writing the group is comprised of Eric Ondo (guitars & vocals), Andre Almaraz (guitars & vocals), Rich Cygan (bass), and Jason Schryver (drums). Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Comatose Studio by Dennis Pleckham (Bongripper), "The Fourth Seal" serves as the latest must-have release from this band that takes it's name (and a lot of it's lyrical content) from the Book of Revelation. All told that means Pale Horseman has four full-length albums to it's name as well as a 2016 split with The Mound Builders. For some strange reason Pale Horseman had been unsigned up until the official release of this monstrous album, but once "The Fourth Seal" drops on December 8th we should be looking at one of the next big names in all of metal! In addition to the dual guitar attack of co-vocalists Eric Ondo and Andre Almaraz, Jason Schryver's drumming sticks out as he mercilessly pounds away on his kit! A little more emphasis on Rich Cygan's bass playing would have been appreciated, but it does nothing to kill the buzz that one ends up getting from this ruthless recording. This album was my first taste of Pale Horseman and now I can't wait to see what else this Chicago outfit is capable of. You can pre-order "The Fourth Seal" by clicking here.



Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 10, 2017

War Gods Of The Deep-Robots, Rockets & Rampage

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Chicago's War Gods Of The Deep are back with EP number two. Having reviewed the group's 2016 debut
EP, "Robots, Rockets & Rampage" was a pleasant surprise when it made it's way into my email. Named after the Vincent Price movie and previously sporting a hard rock/heavy metal sound that relied a little too much on post-Black album Metallica, 2017's version of War Gods Of The Deep now comes with a healthy dose of progressive rock/metal. The (Black-era) Metallica vibe is still present, but it's not as obvious as it was before. As far as improvements go, EP number two has a better production job and the material is more focused. There is a lot to be said about the atmosphere of the War Gods Of The Deep's latest release (all of which is extremely positive!) and the overall sound of "Robots, Rockets & Rampage" could best be described as "HUGE!". In one year this hard/heavy metal band has shown a lot of growth. Let's all hope that 2018 will bring forth a full-length album from War Gods Of The Deep. With the leap in talent between EP number one and this bad ass recording, War Gods Of The Deep's first album should be absolutely epic!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Current playlist

434

Priest concert isn't until March, but that doesn't mean I can't start getting excited about it now so ...

Listening to...
Judas Priest-Stained Class, Hell bent for leather
The Xiles-No comply
The Obsessed-Several
Celtic Frost-several
Sleep- Dopesmoker (2011 re-issue)
The Ventures-Several collections
Hendrix-Axis:bold as love
Speedclaw-Iron speed

Reading...
Meat is for pussies by John Joseph

Watching...
Supergirl season one
A bunch of Twilight Zone episodes
The Broncos suck worse than they have since 2010. They need a real QB, right side of the offensive line and at least a new offensive coordinator.


***What are you listening to, reading and watching?

Labels: ,

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Obsessed-Sacred


The-Obsessed-Sacred
Relapse
2017

Hailing form my home state of Maryland, The Obsessed have existed in different versions for almost forty years, but have just a few releases because their times of existence have been few and far between. The one constant has been front man/guitarist/vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich (Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan and more). The band is back with their first studio release in 23 years. That's enough to be excited about right and then once you get this monster started playing you will really be excited. The first thing that hits me about this album it's a clinic of how to get so much out of every chord, beat or word. Not a skill every band knows that's for sure, but this album has that at it's heart and they just add on the layers as they push along. Need examples? The opener "Sodden Jackal" is a think, lumbering song that pours out thick and pulls you in right away. "It's only money" harkens back to groove laden, head bobbers with a huge dose of the early 70's.  The instrumental "Cold Blood" is a twisting, heavy crusher that has more surprises than I figured it would.  "Be the night" might just be my favorite song with it's punching riffs and swirling beats. I do have items that bothered me about the last few songs. Third from the end "Interlude" is really just a snippet that comes and goes with out doing a whole lot except feeling it doesn't quite fit. The last two tracks go in the order of "On so long" and "Crossroader blues" and both are both exceptional. However I am a big believer in there be certain tracks that should open an album and certain ones that should close it so I keep feeling like those two tracks should have switched  places so that the hazy drifter "Oh so long" could bring a proper end to this album. Minor nitpicking aside this album is a real killer

Labels: , , , , ,

The Xiles-No comply

a2401857939_16
Self-produced
2017

I recently went to this DIY place up the road from me that has shows about twice a month for the CD release party of Frederick's The Xiles. This young band just started playing shows this week and they've been busy gigging around in the area. They just released this seven song disc. After watching them deliver an energetic and tight set in front a small, but enthusiastic audience I shelled out $3 for the CD and $10 for one of their shirts. Add to that the show cost $7 and I was shocked in this day and age to see a show, get a CD and a shirt for $20. Back to the music at hand here. I'm assuming everyone in this band was born in the last 18-22 years, but their sound has more of an influence form more like thirty plus. The songs here remind me of early 80's punk rock when it mostly about attitude and bands like the Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat and the Angry Samoans just cranked this often brief yet charged up bursts. The Xiles have efforts like the title track and "Wrong Direction" that you saying yes, I can relate to or understand that either now or years ago. While "I'm fine" reminds me a touch of Suicidal Tendencies classic "Institutionalized" with a tale of someone being or at least being perceived as being unhinged. I found this album to be instantly addictive and it was car's player for a while. My only gripe might is that with seven tracks and a total running time around 20 minutes it ends too quickly and I there more. Hopefully there is more coming from this band in the near future. Facebook and band camp links are below.

https://www.facebook.com/thexilesband/
https://thexiles.bandcamp.com/releases

Labels: , , ,

Airbound-Airbound

Art of Melody Music
2017

Airbound is a AOR/melodic rock band from Italy. This self-titled album serves as the group's studio debut and it was produced by Oscar Burato and the band members themselves.  Those band members would be Tomás Borgogna Ugarteburu (lead and backing vocals), Lorenzo "Fudo" Foddai (guitars and backing vocals), Angelo "NgL" Sasso (bass and backing vocals), Alessandro Broggi (keyboards, piano, and backing vocals), and Riccardo Zappa (drums and percussion). You've also got guest performances from Davide "Dave Rox" Barbieri (Raintimes, Wheels Of Fire, Room Experience, Charming Grace), Mario Percudani (Hungryheart, Shining Line, Ted Poley, Axe), Josh Zighetti (Hungryheart, Charming Grace), and Sven Larsson (Raintimes, Street Talk, Room Experience). With all of that talent on hand you've expect nothing but a smooth ride and that's exactly what you get. Inspired by the classic AOR scene of yesterday and modern day melodic rock, "Airbound" is a very slick album that plays to the strength of lead singer Tomás Borgogna Ugarteburu. With his appealing (almost vintage like) voice up front and the enjoyable pairing of rock guitar solos & (delightful) keyboard parts, "Airbound" is a solid debut album that AOR and melodic rock fans alike can enjoy. I'm not sure how long this group has been around, but Airbound already has the feel of a veteran band. That is a real rarity these days.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Isenordal - Lughnasadh MMXVII

cover_1507302491771868

Hanged Man
2017

This is a two track demo tape from this Seattle based acoustic doom act even though they knocked out a full length effort early this year.. First up is Inevitable product of the foretold which lumbers on with a thick, rolling riff. It's accompanied by both and female vocals which frequently take over the music at times which works out in the end. The track starts out alright, but definitely becomes more interesting as it progresses. It's decent enough, but seems to end right as it starts to become interesting. Dissolution into the earth is up next (and last). This is more like it for me. I definitely feel the dark vibe in this one more and it's far heavier and quite honestly has a stronger song structure. For both tracks I listened to them with and without headphones and can say that I definitely prefer them with headphones. That doesn't always make a difference, but with this style I felt it did. Total track time is around twelve minutes so if you get a chance and like a different approach to your doom check it out.

Labels: , , , ,

Superhorror-Hit Mania Death

Logic IL Logic Records
2017

Lead by vocalist/guitarist Edward Janine Freak, Italy's Superhorror make their long-awaited return with "Hit Mania Death". It was some four years ago when I last covered this "unique" band. At the time they were known as Superhorrorfuck (link). They may have shortened their name for album number four here, but that same wild and reckless attitude that was present on "Death Becomes Us" remains. For the uninitiated that means more sleazy punk rock and glamorous hard & heavy metal with a ghoulish tint. It also translates to more politically incorrect lyrics and a well-earned "Parental Advisory" sticker! All dressed up in their white make-up and red lipstick, Superhorror are still as freaky as ever and yet they still have the ability to write catchy as hell material that will get stuck in your head long after the party is done! The big different between album number three and album number four is variety. While you are still going to hear the influence of bands/artists like Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., Lizzy Borden, Ozzy, Murderdolls, Samhain, and Wednesday 13, "Hit Mania Death" brings things like country and blues to the party. There is also more funk on display here than there was on "Death Becomes Us"! On paper that might all sound weird and a bit far-fetched, but as is the case with Guns N' Roses and Kid Rock, Superhorror makes it all work to it's advantage. With musical growth there is always the chance of things going badly. For Superhorror this growth is rewarding for not only the band members, but longtime fans as well. With four years between album number three and album number four, "Hit Mania Death" has been well-worth the wait and then some. Welcome back Superhorror. You have been missed.

Labels: , , , , ,