Metal Picks of 2019 – January to June

Six months gone and 2019 is already chock-full of quality metal and hard rock releases, many of which are destined to appear on end of year lists all over the Internet. My personal contender for album of the year came out very early in the year, but with six months yet to go I’d love for something awesome to come along and knock the crown off that head. After all, few experiences in life are greater than being lifted up and blown away by new music. Without further ado, here’s…

Read More

Mid Year Heavy Review: Smoulder

For the past few years, I have organized a quarterly top 10 for Reddit’s r/metal which consists of people voting for new records and tabulating positions. We do it quarterly to show movements among new albums and highlight records that stay strong throughout the year. We just had our Top 5 which yielded a large cache of new heavy and power metal. While the presence of heavy and speed among an internet forum could be due to the active participants, one could suggest the influence of traditional metal to be…

Read More

Mid Year Heavy Review: VULTURES VENGEANCE

For the past few years, I have organized a quarterly top 10 for Reddit’s r/metal which consists of people voting for new records and tabulating positions. We do it quarterly to show movements among new albums and highlight records that stay strong throughout the year. We just had our Top 5 which yielded a large cache of new heavy and power metal. While the presence of heavy and speed among an internet forum could be due to the active participants, one could suggest the influence of traditional metal to be…

Read More

Spirit Adrift – Divided By Darkness

Spirit Adrift has been around for a while — if you count the later half of the 2010’s as a while. This Arizona based doom band has been making records since 2016 and saw recognition for their 2017 record Curse of Conception. I think I remember that record. To be honest, Divided by Darkness was the first time I was introduced to the band ans fully saw the world they were offering. While some bands sell themselves on the promise of a genre fulfilled, Spirit Adrift chooses to use genres…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More