Def Leppard – “The Def Leppard EP”

Def Leppard – “The Def Leppard EP” (UMC / Mercury) The one that started it all for Def Leppard. A fledgling band at the time straight out of high school, this EP was recorded in 1978 for the princely sum of £148.50 – borrowed from vocalist Joe Elliott’s dad no less – and self-produced by the band on their own label Bludgeon-Riffola. With the sleeves being glued together by Elliott and his mum(!), the initial 1,000 pressing was distributed as a means of gaining wider exposure. At the same time, John Peel, a BBC Radio 1 DJ was fast becoming … Continue reading

Fates Warning – “Awaken the Guardian Live (Disc 1)”

Fates Warning – “Awaken the Guardian Live (Disc 1)” CD/ DVD/ Blu-ray/ Vinyl (Metal Blade Records) A cult classic since its release in 1986, “Awaken the Guardian” was the first charting success for US prog metallers Fates Warning, and with an unwaning popularity over the years, resulting in several re-issues! Although their 3rd album, it would also mark the departure of vocalist John Arch, himself destined to become a cult figure despite the band’s continuing success – the fact that he spent 17 years away from the music business only adding to his mystique!! During this time, the emergence of the … Continue reading

Life of Agony – “A Place Where There’s No More Pain”

Life of Agony – “A Place Where There’s No More Pain” (Napalm Records) Without a doubt one of the more different bands in the early 90s, not in the least for their standout debut in “River Runs Red” in 1993, Life of Agony tastefully blended hardcore punk with metal along with a fair amount of alt rock in a melancholic, downtuned sound that didn’t just reflect their hard surroundings of Brooklyn, but openly (and unusually) shared emotions of deeply personal encounters with depression, alcoholism, abuse, grief and suicide. Produced by Type O Negative’s Josh Silver, this album would set the … Continue reading

Cirith Ungol – “King of the Dead (Ultimate Edition)”

Cirith Ungol – “King of the Dead (Ultimate Edition)” CD / DVD (Metal Blade Records) Now here’s a name. Forming in California during the early 70s of molten rock that became proto metal and ultimately heavy metal, Cirith Ungol took in the whole sword n sorcery pandemic that was sweeping the nation to deliver their debut – and now cult classic – “Frost and Fire” in 1981 making them one of the few US bands that could match the onslaught of Britain’s NWOBHM. And so the legend began….continuing through this sophomore (and arguably the band’s best release) onto a 3rd … Continue reading

Mammoth Mammoth – “Mount The Mountain”

Mammoth Mammoth – “Mount The Mountain” (Napalm Records) With a reputation of being a badass bar room brawling band, Mammoth Mammoth have long been kickin’ it in AC/DC’s stride across their native Australia. Whilst countless other bands have also adopted the Young & Young blueprint, when compared to their arena conquering cousins Airbourne, Mammoth Mammoth are more honed to the dark recesses of bars and seedy clubs playing the dirty biker rock that the real Hell’s Angels listen to! As such “Mount The Mountain” is the musical equivalent of a biker run right from Ben Couzens revving guitar to Pete Bell’s growling engine … Continue reading

Mythra – “Still Burning”

Mythra – “Still Burning” (High Roller Records) Having recently witnessed this cult NWOBHM act at Hard Rock Hell in Sheffield and been duly impressed by their performance this album’s title is a pretty apt one! Clearly unwilling to rest on past glories or rehash a retro cash in, Mythra have commendably opted to bring their authentic NWOBHM style to a modern generation of metallers as well as oldsters like me who remember them back in the day. Grabbing the bull by the horns, they flew to Poland to record this album in one go with High Roller god, Bart Gabriel … Continue reading

BEAR “III”

BEAR “III” (Basick) You might have read the interview I did with BEAR by now. Here’s is their latest album. I have no prior knowledge of this Belgian lot and I can’t say that I am Basick’s greatest follower but I am willing to give anything one chance before I write it off. This starts brutal enough for me to take notice. If I were to place it in any genre I’d say that this is tech/math deathrash metal. There is something to this that appeals to despite the overly energetic letter combinations I come to think of when I … Continue reading

CONTRA “Deny Everything”

CONTRA “Deny Everything” (Robust Fellow) A long and intricate band name can be cool but is most often just a pain in the butt to remember. Like the Japanese grindcore band Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation. The name is cool as fuck but try to remember it. It ain’t that easy. CONTRA on the other hand is short and to the point. It is easy to remember. Robust Fellow is a label that I have only recently discovered but the stuff I have heard has all been top notch. CONTRA are no exceptions. This is stoner rock with a punky … Continue reading

FINAL FORTUNE “Power of the Lightning”

FINAL FORTUNE “Power of the Lightning” () German metal has played a huge part in shaping my taste in metal. Had it not been for bands like Sodom, Destruction and Kreator I would have been a sadder person. Add to that acts like (early) Helloween and the second wave of German thrash you got a record collection that is full of cool metal. FINAL FORTUNE has a lot to live up to. I am not that up to date with German glam metal but that is exactly what FINAL FORTUNE are. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; … Continue reading

HESPERION “Живим…”

HESPERION “Живим…” (Total Metal) Back in the 80s it was exotic with a band from the Soviet Union that sang in their native tongue. Still to this day it is as exotic to me to receive a record by a band that sings in a language that I have no knowledge of. Strangely enough that makes it a bit more exciting to dissect this record even though it musically won’t be that different from bans that sing in languages that I do understand. HESPERION play a progressive kind of power metal. What confuses me is that it sounds like it … Continue reading