Satan’s Host – “CELEBRATION: For The Love Of Satan – 25th anniversary album”

Satan’s Host – “CELEBRATION: For The Love Of Satan – 25th anniversary album” (Moribund Records)

Holy Fuck!! This must be one of the cult bands of all cult bands of all time LOL! Formed in 1977, Denver’s Satan’s Host featured none other than Jag Panzer’s Harry ‘Tyrant’ Conklin, although he was then known as “Leviathan Thisiren” – although that’s nothing compared to the rest of the band of Patrick Evil and “Evil Hobbit” Lopez LOL!! With equally cheesy song titles and OTT satan lyrics of ‘Metal From Hell’, ‘Satanic Grimoire’ and ‘Witches Return’ and a primitive diddly dee style of riffing not dissimilar to early Slayer, it might be easy to dismiss this. However, back then their debut “Metal From Hell” was a cult classic! And so it is in commemorating the 25th anniversary of this album that Conklin has once again rejoined his bandmates to produce 2 new songs as well as re-record songs from each and every album spanning the career of the band! With artwork from Joe Petagno (Motorhead), it’s a superb release not in the least because Conklin’s voice is still amazing after all these years, so with the modern technology available, it’s like the older material has truly been reborn as if Satan were indeed hosting it! Continue reading

Iron Saviour – “The Landing”

Iron Saviour
“The Landing”
(AFM Records)

Formed back in the mid 90s by Helloween’s Kai Hansen and Blind Guardian’s Thomen Stauch together with multi instrumentalist producer / engineer Piet Sielck, the latter of whom still remains as the only original member, gallantly forging on with the concept of a sentient spaceship (the ‘Iron Saviour’) and it’s Atlantean quest. “The Landing” is the band’s 7th album and besides hoping that the poor vessel is near journey’s end, continues the tradition of fast melodic power metal as showcased by the brilliant ‘Starlight’. In many ways the sound remains true to Helloween or Gamma Ray, although on ‘Moment In Time’ the melodies are so overpoweringly passionate they could’ve been penned by Freedom Call, whilst on ‘Faster Than All’, the band give Riot a serious run for their money in the road racin’ sweepstakes of melodic speed metal! All in all an excellent album exemplifying the German melodic power metal genre at its best. Continue reading

From The Depth – “Back To Life”

From The Depth
“Back To Life”
(Rising Records)

What an amazing little debut this! Formed only 3 years ago, this top notch Italian power metal have made big strides and I have no doubt will continue to do so given their excellent music. Playing very much along the lines of Children Of Bodom with heavy, catchy guitar and keyboard melodies on songs like ‘Our Music Our Souls’, ‘You Just Have To Fly’, and ‘Nothing To You’ I was immediately hooked in by their passion and performance – despite their name they offer the most uplifting feeling! Elsewhere like on instruments like ‘Lack Of Emotion’ they show the full range of their musical dexterity but frankly I think its just a waste given they could just put more of their bloody good songs in there instead LOL. Continue reading

Stormzone – “Zero To Rage”

“Zero To Rage”
(Steamhammer / SPV)

With such NWOBHM legends as Jess Cox and Neal Kay chucking their hats in with this Irish band, not to mention having Sweet Savage’s drummer ‘Basher’ Bates, Stormzone are unsurprisingly already a cult act in the ‘true’ metal division having played Headbangers Open Air and Wacken! Fronted by vocalist ‘Harv’ Harbinson, who’s done his time in Fastway and the aforementioned Sweet Savage, and backed by what sounds like a hardy crew of Irish rock veterans, Stormzone sound true their name, playing epic metal effortlessly blending meat with melodies on powerful tracks like ‘Last Man Fighting’, ‘Cuchulainn’s Story’ and ‘This Is Our Victory’. I’m not surprised they’ve been snapped up by SPV cos they sound like they’ve been at it for years (and they have!) and it’s no understatement when Neal Kay says they are the band ‘…I have been waiting for 30 plus years!!!..’ – and people, he means since Maiden!!! Continue reading

Firebrand Super Rock – “Firebrand Super Rock”

Firebrand Super Rock
“Firebrand Super Rock”
(Rising Records)

Yeah, no kidding, the big lassie fronting this Scottish band looks and sounds like she could floor any of the dudes in her band LOL! Formed ‘ claim back metal for people that just want to punch their fists in the air and have a good time..’, I’d haveta say that on the strength of songs like ‘Hells Mouth’, ‘Cleansed By Fire’ and ‘Wheel Of Pain’ that FSR kick serious ass! Like an ultra heavy version of The All-fucking-Mighty, FSR give it all to ya in a straight, no nonsense style of metal without aspiring to be doom, evil, pretty etc etc. Thumping drums, loads of dirty reverb guitar and Laura Donelly’s chest bursting vocals conspire to produce 10 tracks of pure headbanging bliss with little room for posing, while at the same time being generically appealing to a wide range of metalheadz judging by the fact they’ve toured with Electric Wizard, Slayer and Mastodon. Continue reading

Fastway – “Eat Dog Eat”

“Eat Dog Eat”
(Steamhammer / SPV)

Fast Eddie!?!? Man, was I looking forward to anything that this guy puts out. Eddie Clarke is the legendary guitarist who defined Motorhead’s classic albums – and then some! Known as ‘fast’ cos of his speed intake (as well as output), Eddie went to form Fastway with UFO’s infamous bassist, Pete Way in the late 80s. But that was pretty much it for the next 21 years until now when the murmurs of a new album started to surface from SPV. Man was I stoked! The album cover had me slavering just like the black beast on it. And then I realized it had Tony Jepson on it….ok, mebbe the man has a dark side but Little Angels – WTF!? So what we have on songs like ‘Dead And Gone’, ‘Sick As A Dog’ and the aptly titled ‘Loving Fool’ are 10 tracks that are more mellow and funky a la Zepp than original Fastway which was more hard rock n roll. Still, it sorta works largely thanks to the pedigree of Eddie Clarke’s solid guitar work. I really don’t know why he didn’t up and do a Dave Mustaine by coming back with a meaner version of Motorhead cos he could have but at least he still left me wiv enough braincells to remember those ear shattering gigs of the 70s / 80s. Continue reading

Betraeus – “Towards The Sun”

“Towards The Sun” EP
(Siege Of Amida)

Oh wow, British band Betraeus certainly have one of the most polarized sounds around. On the one hand, they have melded post prog modernist rock a la Opeth with dervish Sepultura riffs and deth vocals like on the powerful track to this EP. The brutality goes into full swing by Metallica like chundering riffs on ‘Frustrate Recluse’. The flip side is the tranquility of the acoustic ‘Blossom Into The Void’ complete with delicate harmony vocals. Rounding off the EP are 2 live tracks from the band’s Bloodstock appearance and a radio edit of the title track. Personally I think the band offer enough in terms of their heavier material but if the mellower stuff only serves to enhance their rep then more power to them! Continue reading

Widow – “Life’s Blood”

“Life’s Blood”
(Pure Steel Records)

These guys are from North Carolina, yet play a distinct early 80s style of true metal that has its roots in Europe be it through early Iron Maiden, Scorpions and a hint of Judas Priest. There’s also a strong neo classical element and as such they have already been christened by the likes of Metal Hammer as one of the leaders of the ‘New Wave of Traditional Metal’. Well, original it ain’t but true it certainly is when listening to songs like ‘I Scream for Ice Queen’, ‘Take Hold of the Night’ and ‘Lady Twilight’ that excellently combine melody with heavy in perfect harmony. I haveta say it’s surprisingly refreshing to hear this from a US band as most of the purveyors of this retro style are typically European. However, Widow are clearly making their mark having performed countless shows including Kansas City Power Metal Festival, Rocklahoma and have traveled to Germany for the Sword Brothers Festival IX in 2010, so be prepared to hear more from these guys! Continue reading

Magnum – “Evolution”

Magnum – “Evolution” (Steamhammer / SPV)

No, don’t worry, Britain’s famed pomp rockers haven’t gone rap – but it’s not exactly a new album either! “Evolution” is a collection of re-recorded and re-mixed tracks from the band’s SPV releases harking back to 2002. I’m not sure why messrs Clarkin & co opted to do this but I guess being Magnum they’ve tried to offer something different than the standard compilation? So on ‘Brand New Morning’ you have re-recorded bass, guitar & some vocals remixed, on ‘Out Of The Shadows’ (from “Princess Alice & The Broken Arrow”) re-recorded drums, bass and guitar, and a completely re-recorded version of ‘The Fall’ and so forth. Magnum collectors will need little incentive to lap this up, and it will no doubt appeal to anyone curious about the band but with a limited budget to plough into the band’s 40 year career. Continue reading

Our Famous Dead – “I Am Human”

Our Famous Dead
“I Am Human” EP

Not very much goes on in Cumbria. It’s the most sparsely populated part of England so if you’re young and looking for excitement, I guess there’s only 2 choices: move or become creative! Well, vocalist / founder AJ certainly got a big dose of the latter and ended up creating one of the most impressive EPs this year combining electronica,punk and pop. Opening blaster ‘Rate My Hate’ is RATM, old school hardcore and electronica, while ‘Untitled’ combines punk pop with hardcore in an amazingly catchy groove. ‘Great And Inevitable’ is a 50:50 electronica / pop upbeat track enhanced by emo pop vox and wailing wall choruses whilst closer ‘Untitled Part 2’ is electronic rock all the way until the RATM screams ring in. Like I said, it’s an amazing effort combining several styles in a harmonious, well thought out blend that surely deserves to get them outta Cumbria LOL! Continue reading