AMON AMARTH – Berserker

Amon Amarth Berserker

At some points, one can admire a band like Amon Amarth. Not only has the band retained a core lineup but they have found a sound and niche that will always be understandable to veteran fans and new listeners. Amon Amarth exists for a reason and that reason seems to work with many people. It is not difficult to see why as the band’s mixture of gruff vocals and understandable lyrics center around an expected subject material and is a heavy metal band for people who want to listen to…

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TWISTED TOWER DIRE – Wars In The Unknown

Getting into Twisted Tower Dire maybe more complicated than most people are willing to venture. This of course doesn’t matter if you have already been into the band prior to 2019 or never hearing anything from this band except for this record. Twisted Tower Dire has had a long history of contemporary power metal with members weaving in and out of bands like October 31, Walpyrgus, While Heaven Wept and even the maligned Arghoslent. If those first three bands ring any bells, it is a good indication on where Twisted…

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Witchlords – Demons in the Dark

The debut album by Belgian outfit Witchlords is more or less tailor-made for a Hollywood Metal review. Boasting a steely-thewed barbarian battling an undead warlock on the cover, the stage is set for some fighting fantasy metal, which is exactly what you get. And then some. I don’t know what is behind this corner Just do it, roll the dice Double red skull What does that even mean? These words kick off the album opener and title track Demons in the Dark, a fast-paced Maiden-esque ode to dungeon crawling that…

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WARRIOR PATH – Warrior Path

When I read Greek power metal band Warrior Path featured vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos from Beast In Black, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed since I did not know who Beast in Black was and it was being used as a selling point for Warrior Path. I was also embarrassed as Beast in Black was a Nuclear Blast release with an impressive traction before realizing that band also had a recent release in 2019 so I feel like less of a pretender. The reason I am talking so much about this…

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RHAPSODY OF FIRE – The Eighth Mountain

rhapsody of fire the eigth mountain

Walking into the 12th studio album from Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire can be done in two ways. the first, and perhaps easiest is to enjoy the sound of triumphant power metal centered around the beginning of a new narrative. The second, and perhaps more interesting, is to step back and take int he dramatic history of a band that started with an almost different set of members and two narratives and over 20 years ago. We will, of course, choose the second road as the saga…

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Watchtower IX

This month’s Tim White image is a gorgeous image depicting two figures reveling in their apparent solitude among lush alien foliage. The cover was used on 1992’s Exile by Michael P. Kube-McDowell though the synopsis “The surviving witnesses to an alien encounter have been sentenced to exile for two decades, and now one man is ready to listen to their forbidden memories” does not feel like it fits the cover image. Regardless, Kube-McDowell’s Trigon Disunity trilogy recieved much praise in the 1980’s as well as a 1990’s trilogy of Star…

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SAOR – Forgotten Paths

Even though Andy Marshall began his Saor project in 2013, it was not until 2014, with the record Aura, that I feel it really caught the interest of the greater public. This project combined the very familiar structures of atmospheric black metal with an almost reverent devotion to folk and atmosphere. Aura’s wild and meditative cover encapsulated the music which was also both wild and meditative. With the release of 2016’s Guardians on Northern Silence and now the release of a new record on AvantGarde, this once semi obscure black…

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Rotting Christ – The Heretics

To begin this review, I think it is safe to stay in the current era of Rotting Christ. To discuss their entire history would require a longer article as well as a more in depth knowledge about the band none of which I can supply. I am certainly knowledgable about the bands current albums as well as watershed albums such as Thy Mighty Contract which is not only regarded as a classic in the black metal scene but in development of the hellenic sound which typifies certain Greek acts. If…

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AVANTASIA – Moonglow

avantasia moonglow

At this moment, I have written two reviews on Avantasia and their records since 2013. This will be number 3 which means I have spent 6 years embraced in the loving arms of this power metal ensemble. Compared to some of the other music which catches my interest, Avantasia is incredibly wholesome and reminds me of the best times I have had with other bombastic heavy metal and hard rock. Just the fact that the opening track “Ghost in the Moon” has shades of Bat Out Of Hell era Meat…

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ANCIENT BARDS – Origine (The Black Crystal Sword Saga Pt 2)

Ancient Bards - Origine

I feel my attraction to Ancient Bards comes in part with my love for Rhapsody and all of its iterations. I also feel Ancient Bards has perhaps endured the comparison to fellow Italian symphonic power metal band once or twice. Let us make this one more for old times sake. Origine is the followup, conceptually, to the Ancient Bard’s 2010 debut The Alliance of the Kings – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Pt.1. I mean, we could probably throw in their 2008 demo entitled “Trailer of the Black Crystal Sword…

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Temple of Mystery Records – Trapped Under Ice Vol. 1

Trapped Under Ice

When it comes to metal, Canada has a distinguished legacy and a thriving contemporary scene. From Voivod, Anvil, Exciter, and Annihilator to some of my personal favorites like 3 Inches of Blood, Unleash the Archers, Striker, The Order of Chaos, and Blood Ceremony, Canada has been sending heads banging for decades. Now Temple of Mystery Records shines a light on some of the lesser known ranks of the Great White North metal legions. Trapped Under Ice Vol. 1 is a compilation boasting ten tracks from a diverse roster of underground…

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Watchtower VIII

Watchtower VIII

This month’s image…along with the entire 2019 set of article will come from Tim White. White was born in the UK and spend most of the 70’s make dozens of illustrations for well known and obscure publications, from the cover of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King to the cover of UFO UK. Tim White has a career of fantastic paintings from the awe inspiring to the ridiculously awesome. I am also spending the first installment catching up with things that I either missed from last year or am not just…

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Heavy Metal 2019: Upcoming Releases

avantasia moonglow

As we say goodbye to the year 2018 and hopefully now amass our actual lists of 2018, it is time to rush ahead and look at all of the awesome albums set to be released in the early part of 2019. This list does not constitute all of the albums but it does amass the popular release which everyone will most likely be discussing. Use this list as a bookmark or reason to go through back catalogs in preparation for the new work. Heavy metal never sleeps and neither should…

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Stoner Roundup at the New Year Corral

Happy New Year to one and all, and welcome to the flipside. Dragging anchor today? No problem, I’ve got your back. Stoner metal, as the name would suggest, is the perfect soundtrack to a day spent in bed nursing a hangover, and 2018 saw no shortage of sun-baked desert riffage. A few made my Top 25 list, but many more were deserving of some shine. Time to remedy that. So order some takeout and soothe your aching noggin with some fuzzed-out grooves that you may have missed out on last…

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