Artillery – “Legions”

Artillery – “Legions” (Metal Blade Records) If you’re a fan of Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning” era then don’t look back cos this one’s for you! Formed in Mr Ulrich’s homeland of Denmark back in ’82, Artillery became respected thrashers as the underground scene took off, releasing albums such as “Fear Of Tomorrow” and “Terror Squad”, both of which retain their status as cult classics to this day. Continue reading

Rhapsody Of Fire – “Dark Wings Of Steel”

Rhapsody Of Fire – “Dark Wings Of Steel” (AFM Records) Holy crap, has Luca Turilli returned to the band? Well, you could be fooled into thinking that as new guitarist Roberto De Micheli was not only a schoolmate of Luca’s, but was actually brought in by him! And so the Rhapsody Of Fire saga continues, albeit in separate directions on “Dark Wings Of Steel” compared to the earlier film score metal pioneered by Turilli. Continue reading

Betzefer – “The Devil Went Down To The Holy Land”

Betzefer – “The Devil Went Down To The Holy Land” (Steamhammer / SPV) Betzefer are Israel’s biggest metal band, well known in Europe having toured heavily over the years alongside bands like Fear Factory, Sepultura and Lamb Of God as well as playing festivals like Ozzfest and With Full Force. The band’s sound is centered around heavy groove riffing and hoarse aggro vocals very much like Down or even White Zombie, although ugly aggression is not the theme here but rather a cool rolling beat. Continue reading

Fate – “If Not For The Devil”

Fate – “If Not For The Devil” (Avenue Of Allies) Going all the way back to the mid 80s, Fate were formed by non other than Hank Shermann after Mercyful Fate’s break up. In complete contrast, Fate were an AOR band but went on to release 4 albums before their own split and hiatus for over a decade. Continue reading

Black Messiah – “Heimweh”

Black Messiah – “Heimweh” (AFM Records) Also known in their native Germany as the ‘Ruhr Vikings’, these guys have been going since the mid 90s when they first started as a black metal band, formed by classically trained bassist / vocalist Zagan. Under his vision, Black Messiah has evolved over the years into a must see live band, now playing pagan metal although retaining some blackened vestiges whilst incorporating folk instrumentation! Continue reading

Satan’s Wrath – interview with Tas Danazoglou!

With fire. With blood. With Satan. And seriously tongue in cheek!! Here comes Satan’s Wrath from Greece, bringing back all the cringe worthy memories of the 80s – Shan Siva dusts off his bullet belt as he swears to the new dark lord on the streets, Tas Danazoglou! 1. Congratulations on your new album “Aeons of Satan’s Reign”, it reminded me a lot of the bands I grew up with like Possessed, Venom and early Slayer so was that your intention as opposed to being part of the current black metal scene? Tas: yes these are our influences and of… Continue reading

Saxon – “Unplugged and Strung Up”

Saxon “Unplugged and Strung Up” (UDR Music) Bold as brass Barnsley rockers Saxon have returned, this time with an ambitious package of orchestral versions and re-recordings of their classic numbers. If this were the average band I’d say that were a gamble. But given this is Saxon, the guys who told famed promoter Harvey Goldsmith where to go, you can be sure they wouldn’t take a punt on anything that could damage their 37 year legacy! True to their reputation, they have taken some of their more epic and softer material over the years and rather than hide it away… Continue reading

Tad Morose – “Revenant” (Despotz)

Tad Morose “Revenant” (Despotz) The return of the kings! Back in the early 90s, these Swedes were massive, seen as the next big thing with their mixture of heavy n prog melody such that many saw them as Metallica meets Dream Theater. Despite this, there were numerous line up changes although the band managed to survive thru thick n thin. Even when the steam was running out by 2003 they managed to release a respectable album in “Modus Vivendi”. Thereafter began the sleep of the decade. With only founder guitarist Christer ‘Krunt’ Andersson left and drummer Peter Morén from the… Continue reading

Operadyse – “Pandemonium”

Operadyse “Pandemonium” (Sonic Attack / SPV) I was wondering when the French would come out with a band to match Rhapsody Of Fire and Operadyse have answered in fine style! Although not quite as classical or operatic as the Italians, Operadyse also take a fair amount from Brazil’s Angra with their soft folk melodies and galloping speed. Still, there’s enough ‘film score’ (i.e. atmospheric keyboards, choirs) in their metal to have those preferring bombastic epics like ‘Keeper Of The Flame’ and ‘Celestial Sword’ heartily beating our chests! For a band with little history and experience this is a stupendous effort… Continue reading

Day of Execution – “Pointless Cause”

  EP (Mulligore Production) Death metal from Bulgaria! These guys formed in 2005 under the dubious name of Reichsradio when they were a death / grind band but after watching “The Green Mile” changed their name to Day of Execution and became a full on death metal band. Mixing old and new schools there’s enough of a mixture of SFU pig squeals to guttural vocals from mainman Svetoslav Vasilev to keep the chundering tempo going on brutal songs like ‘Lust For Gore’, ‘Wormfeast’ and ‘The Greatest Pleasure’. The guitar work mixes diddly dee fretboarding with roaring riffola whilst chucking in… Continue reading