ALESTORM – No Grave But The Sea

I feel what I am about to say relates and maybe the same as the band Gloryhammer, which is unsurprisingly related to Alestorm. Alestorm, for those not in the know, is a folk metal metal that sings about pirates and adventure almost exclusively. The band is particularly popular with folk metal fans, people who expect a sense of theatrics to be apart of metal, and also those who believe metal is too serious and love a good laugh. It is because of this that the bands popularity is at odds…

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WHITE WARD – Futility Report (2017)

Oh man, people really like sax. White Ward is sort of a new band from the Netherlands who is making quite a name for themselves based on the combination of saxophone within the template of post black. I really wish there was more to say about that but honestly the use of the unorthodox instrument is causing tremors of excitement in people leading to phrases like “black jazz” even though the actual jazz elements are few and far between. Regardless we have masterfully produced record which is supported by Debemur…

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DRAGONFORCE – Reaching Into Infinity (2017)

Dragonforce - Reaching Into Infinity

There is little to be said about Dragonforce in 2017. I actually wrote about the band’s last album with as much cynicism as apology for a band that reached a level of popularity that was unexpected and ultimately damning. As the band prepares to release their seventh record nearing the 15th year of being an entity, this British outfit continues to do what they have been known for — making really fast power clean metal in an age where that may not be the coolest or even most nerdy thing…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (May)

I feel both relieved and strange about the fact that the majority of this list comes from one source. NWOTHM Full Albums has been a primary source to the influx of new traditional and speed metal throughout the year. I have been culling the 2017 albums, EPs, and demos which has been constantly updating the world with rad music. Perhaps in the future we will have multiple sources for this type of music but for now it seems to be relegated to a few killer outlets. Before that however, some…

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AYREON – The Source (2017)

Ayreon is not a name with universal appeal. Despite a cult like fan base and general recognition in prominent European cities, Ayreon has been celebrated and praised by progressive metal fans much to the bafflement of everyone else. If you were not familar, Ayreon is a Dutch project centered around creator and ringleader Arjen Anthony Lucassen and about a billion guests on each record. 2013’s The Theory of Everyone saw 9 guest vocalists and 11 guest musicians from high profile progressive and power metal luminaries. Ayreon records are usually involved…

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SHORES OF NULL – Black Drapes for Tomorrow (2017)

Shores of Null is a relativity new band from the shores of Italy. Okay, I know Rome isn’t exactly on the shores but I thought it a good way to open a review. Shores of Null, in their relative newness, offer a combination of music still largely unexplored. Black / doom is something that I have particularly enjoyed from lesser known bands mainly because each time an act employs the sound, the result sounds different from one another. Take Black Drapes for Tomorrow which takes the baritone smoothness of Type…

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ULVER – The Assassination of Julius Caesar (2017)

If you are in anyway familiar with Ulver, you are quite aware this band has left the realms of metal decades before this date. Actually it has been close to 20 years since this Norwegian collective has done anything remotely close to metal. Now comes the question, why do they keep getting invitations to metal parties (metaphorically speaking) and reviewed by metal websites (like this). I have little to offer in way of an answer other than Ulver is a group of vampires weaving some mind spell on all of…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (April)

I think it is going to come to the point where my choices for Frazetta paintings are going to delve into the racy selections. Before we go full nudity with images how about we slip into adult artwork with this wonderful 1967 painting called Apparition. From the limited amount of records on Frazetta paintings, I can not find any magazine or book cover that this painting is attached. This does not mean this painting wasn’t used for something, rather, any connection is lost. What we do have though is a…

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PALLBEARER – Heartless (2017)

I actually hope sometimes the bands never read the reviews I write. I feel more comfortable knowing I can be critical, honest, and gushing without looking like a super dork or an asshole. Pallbearer’s 2012 Sorrow and Extinction was a big album for me as it hit at a time when I was done with stoner doom / sludge but not finished with doom that didn’t sound like a bong rip. Pallbearer’s success with traditional doom was contrasted with the fact they pretty much did the same thing as Warning…

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PILLORIAN – Obsidian Arc (2017)

Pillorian

Man, it must be difficult to be in a band that is going to be dogged and compared to your previous band. As you will probably eventually read, Pillorian is the continuation of music from John Haughm, founding member of Agalloch. Pillorian is the new venture from Haughm following the recent disbanding of Agalloch and Obsidian Arc being a support group for old fans who are still dealing with the news. It must be difficult being in a band with the guy from Agalloch especially when you are the drummer…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (March)

Well here we are in the deep of March and by the looks of it we are not slowing down with any new material being released. Something that I noticed that is different than searching for black metal or dungeon synth each month is the need to diversify tags. While the other two could be found with one tag, all of this new material came through the various tags of “speed metal,” “NWOTHM,” “NWOBHM,” “traditional,” “doom,” and he all confusing “heavy.” I believe it is this diversity or even nebulous…

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WIEGEDOOD – De Doden Hebben Het Goed II (2017)

Sometimes bands work their way up to known recognition and other times they come out of left field. Sometimes it is a mix of both. Wiegedood is not new as 2017 is seeing their second album release after a marginally well received debut. The interesting thing about this year is the continuation of themes and names as Wiegedood has decided to do a second installment of their debut with De Doden Hebben Het Goed II. The gloom patrol rounds the bend for a second night out.

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WITHERFALL – Nocturnes and Requiems (2017)

Since starting the HEAVY METAL 2017 article, I have been keeping an eye out for new speed, traditional, and gruff power metal. Witherfall is not within that realm despite being an unsigned power/progressive/heavy act from Los Angeles. I know it feels weird to delineate between the two but soon you will see the difference. Witherfall has had no sort of introduction before their full length and comes with zero announcements or hype. Despite some of these odds to find a home or fanbase, Nocturnes and Requiems is a fantastic record…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (February)

Heavy Metal - February

This is the second sailing of Heavy Metal 2017. My intention was to keep up with all of the new heavy, speed, power, and partial doom that is experiencing not a revival but renewed interest. Had this genre of music not lie on the far side of known, I believe it would be more popular, in fact gaining a legion of new followers who do not understand some of the more extreme waltzes of heavy metal. Clean, direct, and packed with optimism much of this music would find its way…

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