Anette Olzon – “Shine”

Anette Olzon – “Shine” (earMusic) This is the long awaited solo debut from ex Nightwish singer Anette Olzon who departed the band in less than amicable terms as seems to be the trend with these Finns! Right off I will say that “Shine” is not a metal album in any sense and this is undoubtedly intentional given how much distance Olzon obviously wants to put between herself and her former band. Still as a soft femme rock album I found it both deep and alluring both in terms of Anette’s voice as well as the somewhat heartfelt music. Singing since… Continue reading

Oslo Ess – “Alle Hjerter Deler Seg”

Oslo Ess – “Alle Hjerter Deler Seg” (Indie Recordings) Since we last heard them on their second studio album “Verden på nakken, venner i ryggen” in 2012, it seems that nothing can stop these Norwegian punks having released 5 radio-hits, set a national record in playing the most shows in a year (200), been nominated for a Norwegian Grammy and hit #1 on the national sales charts! Now a national name in their home country, this 3rd album takes Oslo Ess back to their punk roots, with the tracks being made up of new material as well as tracks from… Continue reading

Jackson Firebird – “Cock Rockin'”

Jackson Firebird – “Cock Rockin’” (Napalm Records) Mildura is about a remote enough country town in outback Australia. Sorta place with one bar, tumbleweed, a river fulla crocs and a zillion flies. It’s also home to Brendan Harvey (Guitar & Vocals) and Dale Hudak (Drums, Bottle Bin & Vocals) aka Jackson Firebird, named after Brendan’s first ‘bogan’ guitar. There’s certainly plenty to laugh at (or wince if you’re an Aussie – Ed) from the whole white trash, hicks ville look – and Harvey n Hudak don’t seem any wiser to care – to the cheesy 70s album cover, not to… Continue reading

Sinbreed – “Shadows”

Sinbreed – “Shadows” (AFM Records) Blistering power metal from Germany! Formed in 2005 by guitarist / keyboardist Flo Laurin, who managed to attract some names in the Euro metal scene from keyboardists Morten Sandager (Pretty Maids) and Joost van den Broek (After Forever) to singer Thomas Rettke (ex-Heaven’s Gate), Sinbreed created their acclaimed debut “When Worlds Collide“ in 2010. This time around Laurin is joined by Blind Guardian members Marcus Siepen and Frederik Ehmke and Seventh Heaven vocalist Herbie Langhans, whose rough diamond vocals perfectly complement the high octane riffola from the dual guitarists as well as the galloping power… Continue reading

The Graviators – “Motherload”

The Graviators – “Motherload” (Napalm Records) Hail to gravity, the most powerful force in the universe! With their homage to the mighty G, Sweden’s The Graviators unleash their heaviest opus to date, threatening to send all into a 70s stoner / doom black hole for eternity!! Niklas Sjöberg gives the might O(zzy) a serious run for his money in the vocal dept although the mood of songs like the Viking-esque ‘Leif’s Least Breath – Dance Of The Valkyrie’, the trippy ‘Bed of Bitches’ and the epic 13 minute closer ‘Druid’s Ritual’ also takes inspiration from the likes of Hawkwind especially… Continue reading

Magnum – “Escape From The Shadow Garden”

Magnum – “Escape From The Shadow Garden” (Steamhammer / SPV) Hot off the heels of their 2012 release “On The 13th Day” comes the 18th album from Birmingham’s pomp rockers Magnum! By now almost a British institution, these guys formed in the early 70s until they rose to fame in 1985 with their hit album “On A Storyteller’s Night”. Well, If you’re wondering if there’s more than a resemblance of that album’s cover to this one, then there isn’t as they’re both done by Rodney Matthews! If that hasn’t got you itching then ‘The Hat’ has clearly been working hard… Continue reading

Toseland – “Renegade”

Toseland – “Renegade” (52 Music) This is something else! If you’re wondering if vocalist James Toseland looks familiar then he is indeed the legendary former World Superbike Champion – twice! Now retired following an accident, he’s turned his attention to his childhood talent of being a pianist, as well as a singer songwriter and  “Renegade” is the brilliant outcome! Following a chance meeting with Little Angel’s Tony Jepson (whom he’d never heard of!), the seeds were sown for what has turned out to be one of the top hard rock albums this year – if not THE one!!!! Honestly, this… Continue reading

Dread Sovereign – “All Hell’s Martyrs”

Dread Sovereign – “All Hell’s Martyrs” (Ván Records) With the unmistakeable name of Nemtheanga being one part of the triumvirate making up the awesome Dread Sovereign, you know that Irish metal is once again in our midst led in the powerful persona of Alan Averill. Here he almost returns to his roots of Primordial, strapping on the bass and altering his vocal style to that of a demented wailing monk to accompany Dread’s raw, old school black doom style that reaches right into your guts and slowly rips out them right out in front of your face! Evil, hewn bass with heaps… Continue reading

Nux Vomica – “Nux Vomica”

Nux Vomica – “Nux Vomica” (Relapse Records) With their roots in Baltimore’s d-beat punk scene back in 2003 and formed from the ashes of the doom / crust Wake Up On Fire, Nux Vomica (which coincidentally is the name of the strychnine tree) were made up of Chris Control, Tim Messing, and Just Dave. Relocating to Portland in 2006, the band adopted a more – dare I say it – art element to their crust punk incorporating post hardcore, black and melodic metal into their already fused style. Clearly too much for some, who liked their earlier more straightforward sound,… Continue reading

Nocturnal Breed – “Napalm Nights”

Nocturnal Breed – “Napalm Nights” (Agonia Records) Ultra Speed Cult from Norway!!! Featuring members and ex members of Gehenna, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir and probably a zillion other bands comes the utter chaos of Nocturnal Breed (not forgetting their strippers – Ed). Formed by S.A Destroyer back in the mid 90s, these guys mix US n Euro thrash with a fair amount of snake rattle n roll a la Motorhead giving them a vicious beat like on ‘The Bitch of Buchenwald‘ also featuring Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone) on guest vocals no less! Elsewhere, like on ‘Flamethrower Ridge’ and ‘Under The Whip’ it’s a… Continue reading