Big Metal Month (September)

Mastodon returns to us with a short EP which is following their 2017 album Emperor of Sand. The difference between these two releases is Cold Dark Place is a stripped down minimal version of Mastodon with a steel pedal guitar as the primary instrument. While I have had varying views on Mastodon since basically their beginning, Cold Dark Place is an interesting diversion for the band who has had varying successes with experimentation over the course of their career.

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SEPTICFLESH – Codex Omega (2017)

Septicflesh - Codex Omega

Before we start this review. I must give thanks to Spiros Antoniou (Seth) for not only having an AMA on r/metal rather than other places on Reddit but answering most of the questions from fans including mine about the alien latex suit they wore for promo shots. the name Septicflesh carries weight in the extreme metal world for being one of the more recognizable names in the atmospheric / symphonic death genre mostly because there are only a handful of bands actually employing the style. Even if this wasn’t the…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (August)

As we seen with most of our cover images, this painting by Frank Frazetta, titled the Norseman and made in 1972, graced the cover of the inaugural volume of Flashing Swords magazine which was an anthology of sword and sorcery and other weird fiction. The first issue had stories from Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, and Poul Anderson. unlike other publications which sort of butchered the original composition,. Flashing Swords was unique in the fact that the entire Frazetta painting was given a nice black frame which allowed the picture to…

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Big Metal Month (August)

Big Metal Month was a new idea I had to keep up with some of the giant labels in heavy metal releasing new albums from well known bands. Since I have chosen to spend all of my time with dungeon synth and things no one else cares about, it is surprising to see some of metal’s biggest releases pass without notice. Big Metal Month also sounds like a comic book which comes in an oversized magazine with lots of pictures. This obviously makes me happy. Please use this column to…

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VINTERSORG – Till Fjälls, Del II (2017)

Till Fjalls, Del II

Till Fjälls (1998) was an important release for not only Sweden’s Vintersorg but also the field of folk / viking / progressive / whatever metal which would eventually blossom over the next couple of years. To this day the sounds and melodies on Till Fjälls exemplify music that is not only interesting but also immersive. Perhaps this is why, almost 20 years later, the band has decided to revisit the snow blasted landscape of their debut record with a conceptual followup.

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WINTERSUN – The Forest Seasons (2017)

Wintersun The Forest Seasons

Wintersun has had a long and tortured history. This is not to say they have not had their share of fame and praise, rather, the polarity that this Finnish melodic death band casts is long and extreme. Since the band’s well regarded self titled debut, the band has both been hyped by its fans and frustrated by its own series of production delays. Time I, originally scheduled for many years earlier, did both serve as a celebration for fans and also the platform for the eternal wait for its proposed…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (July)

Heavy Metal July

As always with this series, I enjoy highlighting art, mainly from Frank Frazetta, but also celebrating other popular works that could possibly align with the sound of traditional heavy metal. Case in point, pulp fiction. If we are going to be more specific than the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Though this writer has many works collected in his career, the name Boroughs is enshrined to two characters, John Carter and Tarzan. The later is where our picture comes from and not from Tarzan but his progeny Korak. The painting…

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Popular Metal Radar (July)

I think I am always going to be destined to write roundups or at least be drawn to them. Processing music is a daunting task and for as many things which come out every week it is difficult to keep up with them or peak people’s interest in everything. Already this site has a dungeon synth and a traditional/speed metal roundup which is delivered to a small niche and loyal audience. What is funny about spending so much time in niche pockets is often not hearing larger releases. I tried…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (June)

It is now June which mans the series of Heavy Metal 2017 has been running for half of a year. In that time we have seen some wonderful things and fought marvelous battles. More importantly I have had the opportunity to search for Frank Frazetta paintings which has allowed me to seek out the source material. This month’s image comes from the 1977 collection of Conan stores called The People of the Black Circle which was painted by…wait for it….Ken Kelly. Yes the artist know for his Manowar covers, unsurprisingly…

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EMYN MUIL – Elenion Ancalima (2017)

Well it is May and I have yet to review this which is sort of strange. Emyn Muil is not a name which is far from the lips as this Italian project has been distributed and discussed on dungeon synth forums and been sold through proper DS labels. The somewhat surprising matter is that Emyn Muil is black metal and has DS in a minor role. The somewhat unsurprising fact is that Emyn Muil bends the knee in fealty to Summoning along with his bannermen of Caladan Brood, Elffor and…

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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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