Grimgotts – Dragons Of The Ages Review

Grimgotts - Dragons of the Ages - Front coverLet’s get this out of the way right now: Yes, Grimgotts is a power metal band, yes, this album is as cheesy as the cover artwork makes you believe and yes, if you don’t like keyboards, you should avoid this record. Alright, now that the garage sound black metal elitists are gone, the European power metal enthusiasts can savour this English band’s second full-length record which they offer us to tickle our palate. That’s right, there’s not too many class power metal acts left to sweep the lands from the UK’s shores; Power Quest would be the one closest to Grimgotts melodic sound off the top of my head. But, to be honest, the lads named after Harry Potter lore sound much more Scandinavian anyway, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the band’s members happened to be the Twilight Force guys’ cousins. Continue reading “Grimgotts – Dragons Of The Ages Review”

Stormlord – Far Review

37222222222222222222222226847I remember listening to Mare Nostrum, Italian symphonic black metal band Stormlord‘s fourth album, in 2009 and being blown away by how one band could combine such extreme metal with such great melodies and atmospheres.Of course, this type of mixture is something Dimmu Borgir have been brewing up as early as 1994, but there’s just a kind of dramatic aspect that Italian bands are great at portraying, be it black metal, death metal or power metal. Precisely, Stormlord strike a balance between those genres with a focus on atmospheric black metal; not in a Summoning kind of way, but leaning heavy on keyboards and solemn melodies to facilitate the new album’s lyrical contents concerning, as always, ancient Roman myths, but also fictional topics like Conan. Continue reading “Stormlord – Far Review”

Spacelord – Indecipher Review

a1741241995_10Recent years have seen the resurgence of ’70s classic rock and metal styles across all sorts of heavy music genres, from mainstream appeal to stranger, more underground sounds, some in the form of Led Zeppelin, some more Blue Öyster Cult or Black Sabbath. Even I, someone whose interest in musical traditions finds its limit in ’80s hair metal, must admit that albeit far from groundbreaking, young bands like Greta Van Fleet have made the music many would call classics, bad or good, and about which most don’t care anymore, more accessible again. Interestingly enough, Buffalo foursome Spacelord avoid affiliation with any kind of trend; and instead of building an altar of worship to just one band, the four lads brew their own kind of mixture out of Led Zeppelin‘s energy and Alice In Chain‘s darker guitar sounds plus their own quirky influence befitting the outlandishly alien retro sci-fi art and concepts. Continue reading “Spacelord – Indecipher Review”

Atlas Pain – Tales Of A Pathfinder Review

sdf1Oh, the glory days of pagan metal, remember when Ensiferum released Victory Songs? When Equilibrium let loose their epic masterpiece Sagas? When Turisas were at the height of their songwriting? What would you give to go back to those days? As it turns out, you don’t have to give a lot, all it takes is Atlas Pain‘s new album Tales Of A Pathfinder. Somehow, the freezing winds of the northern sea reached the north of Italy where four men are looking to revive the faltering genre mixture between folk, epic and viking metal with an album that sounds taken straight out of 2008. Conceptually, Atlas Pain do not concern themselves with bloody battle stories but rather tales of times and people in a steampunk cladding. Continue reading “Atlas Pain – Tales Of A Pathfinder Review”

Sinbreed – IV Review

la07-sinbreed-IV-artwork(1)With 2010’s When Worlds CollideSinbreed made a huge impact on European power metal as one of the progenitors of modern power metal sound we know these days characterized by a focus on prioritizing aggressive drum and guitar sound, along with often lower register power singers as displayed by bands who got famous even beyond the circle of power metal fans like Sabaton. In 2018, Sinbreed continue this path just like they did on their three previous albums, there’s just one major difference: one of the most unique voices of the genre has left the band; Herbie Langhans was replaced by Nick Holleman, probably known best for his job at Vicious Rumors – who his by far not a bad singer, but many will agree that Herbie is on a similar level of distinction as Sabaton‘s Joakim Brodén. How does Sinbreed‘s aggressive power metal fare with another singer? Continue reading “Sinbreed – IV Review”

Mob Rules – Beast Reborn Review

305540Beast Reborn? German heavy metal outfit Mob Rules surely hasn’t been gone long enough to warrant a whole relaunch; as such the new album’s title is more of a reinforcement than a comeback promise. After all, the band’s previous album was released in 2016 and received phenomenally by both press and fans. Rightly so, as Mob Rules evolved and matured their sound greatly over their now 20+ years career. With their first few albums the Germans started out as a rather traditional power metal constellation in the vein of Helloween with melodious guitar leads and heavy keyboard influences. Continue reading “Mob Rules – Beast Reborn Review”

Powerwolf – The Sacrament Of Sin Review

907264Powerwolf return to bring sex to the church of power metal. So much sex! Was I too ignorant or too innocent to see this on their past albums? Sure, tracks like “Resurrection By Erection” from their 2009 masterpiece Bible Of The Beast were very much on the nose, but this time around the Germans conceal their innuendos in smart allegories which will bring the same dirty smirk to your face as the one probably found on this album’s “Stossgebet”‘s priest’s visage. Continue reading “Powerwolf – The Sacrament Of Sin Review”

Cryonic Temple – Deliverance Review

419434I was pretty hyped about Into The Glorious Battle in 2017, after all it was Cryonic Temple‘s first album after an absence of 9 years, and 12 years after their last good album. The Swedish power metal force has been around for a few years in the early ’00s, putting out three immaculate melodic power metal records back to back, ultimately failing in 2008 with a turn towards a modern sound and a change of vocalists. Into The Glorious Battle made this slip undone, featuring a whole lot of classic power metal tracks and the energy we were used to from classics such as 2005’s In Thy Power. In retrospect, the album surely could have been better in parts, and original vocalist Glen Metal’s voice still is sorely missed, but overall it was a way for Cryonic Temple of getting back on track. Continue reading “Cryonic Temple – Deliverance Review”

Derdian – DNA Review

derdian-dnaItaly’s Derdian are one of the few remaining bands of the ’00s European melodic power metal hype which spawned hundreds of bands aiming for an extremely melodic, symphonic and heroic sound in the vein of what Rhapsody started in the late 1990s. While some bands gave the formula a shot of their own ideas and influences, Derdian have been and still are honing the original idea of dramatic, melodic power metal refined by fellow Italians Rhapsody especially during their first three albums. There aren’t many of the initial masters of this style around anymore, with Rhapsody spread across two bands now, both deviating greatly from the band’s original sound, and even Kaledon, another Italian evangelist of heroic power metal, abandoning their trademark sounds for grittier experiments on their latest record. Continue reading “Derdian – DNA Review”

Nils Patrik Johansson – Evil Deluxe Review

32222499_10156518361739756_4436752219504640000_nIt’s hard to record a bad album when you’re one of the most unique and sovereign voices in heavy metal. This is true for fellow Swedish vocal valiant Jørn as much as it is for Nils Patrik Johansson, releasing his first album with his eponymous solo band. While Jørn Lande’s powerful voice can’t fail expectations, his songwriting sure can. Lucky for him, his voice carried some of his rather monotonous solo albums in the same vein that Nils Patrik Johansson’s voice made his band Astral Doors‘ albums around 2010, even though lacking in songwriting, still enjoyable to listen to. With consecutive releases, Astral Doors recovered to old strength and NPJ proved to be exploding with creativity, fueling both Astral Doors and all-star band Civil War. Having left Civil War in 2016 to spend more time with his family, NPJ is still commited to the metal scene with Astral Doors, writing material for a follow-up to his band Lion‘s Share‘s 2009 album Dark Hours and now releasing his solo album. Hej Nils, while you’re being creative, how about you gather with Wuthering Height‘s Erik Ravn again? Those were some sweet records. Continue reading “Nils Patrik Johansson – Evil Deluxe Review”