EXMORTUS – Slave to the Sword

Exmortus

[Full disclosure: I have a relationship with Exmortus in that we have crossed paths several times on the Los Angeles and Seattle metal scenes and I have hosted them on their national travels. I feel the rating is justified but as with anything you read about here, please listen and see if you agree.] Back in the olden times of 2009, I attend a show at the Black Castle in Los Angeles. Most of the bands on that show are now signed and doing big tours, but two stood out…

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MANOWAR – Kings of Metal MMXIV

Kings of Metal MMXIV

Manowar is awesome. I have traveled cross country multiple times to see them. I consider the two Manowar concerts in 2011 at the Agora in Cleveland the best shows I have ever been to. Now the year is 2014, sorry MMXIV, and Manowar have re recorded another one of their classic albums, “Kings of Metal.” I thoroughly enjoyed the re recording of “Battle Hymns,” so I had reasonably high expectations for “Kings of Metal MMXIV” even after the so-so “The Lord of Steel.” So let us revisit the past with…

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BAL-SAGOTH – Battle Magic

Not long ago, In the not so ancient times of written/recorded music, seemingly many eras for us mere mortals, but only a single grain of sand in the hourglass of cosmic eternity, one band hath weaved the most epic of musical tapestries. Bal-Sagoth. Yet by some cruel curse, or perhaps blessing, Bal-Sagoth have remained mostly hidden within the vast vaults of metal, only to discovered by the most elite of musical archaeologists. A most treasured find to those worthy, as their musical genius is not matched by any. “Battle Magic”…

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TWILIGHT OF THE GODS – Fire On The Mountain

TWILIGHT OF THE GODS - Fire on the Mountain (2013)

“Fire Upon the Mountain” is the first album from Twilight of the Gods, a supergroup consisting of Frode Glesnes (Einherjer), Nick Barker (dude has been in a million bands), Patrik Lindgren (Thyrfing), Rune Eriksen (Aurora Noir, ex-mayhem) and Alan Averill (Primordial). They formed as a Bathory tribute band, but now are recording original music. This very awesome lineup, leads to high expectations. First off, this album is in the style of classic heavy metal, not so much “viking” metal. Every track is a mid tempo chugger, no blasts to be…

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ALCEST – Les Voyages De L’Âme

Alcest - Les Voyages De L'Âme

As the leaves and rain start to fall, less people are outside, and the general mood shifts, you know that summer in Seattle is definitely over. What better way to go celebrate/sulk then to go see Anathema on their first US tour? Well, that’s what I did, and while they were very good, the band that really impressed me was Alcest (France). I had seen the name many places, but never found the time to check it out. So after their set, I picked up a copy of their latest…

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HUNTRESS – Starbound Beast

Hollywood Metal HUNTRESS - Starbound Beast (2013)

Old school metal is coming back, with bands like Ghost and Huntress blowing up! Many are stoked, while many others are not impressed. “Starbound Beast” is the second full length album by Huntress, a throwback heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. The album title, artwork, and song titles seem promising. It is time to see if this is a worthy modern incarnation of the old school, or just another metal by numbers release. To start, the intro track “Enter the Exosphere” is really cool. I nice blend of clean…

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VREID – Welcome Farewell

VREID - Welcome Farewell (2013)

As the sound of strings coupled with grim electric guitar chords fade in, the album is inviting you into its depths. Then suddenly the album punches you in the face with the first kick ass riff of many. “Welcome Farewell” is the 6th album of Norwegian metal masterminds Vreid, and it is just as solid as every other one of their releases. Vried is a band who has never let me down, and they continue to progress and impress with every record. “Welcome Farewell” is another bold and correct step…

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SHADED EMNITY – Forsaken and Forgotten

SHADED EMNITY - Forsaken and Forgotten (2013)

Playing Underground Extreme Metal in America is tough. If you are serious about it, then chances are you are spending countless hours writing and practicing, thousands of dollars on recording, monthly rehearsal space rent, and equipment all just to play dive bars to 20 people. Still, we keep going hoping for a record deal or a booking agent to swoop you up and take you the mystical metal lands of Europe. There are many times when one may question their dreams, and think of throwing the in the towel for…

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