Forever Still – “Breathe In Colours”

Forever Still – “Breathe In Colours” (Nuclear Blast) Every now and then an ‘alt’ metal band comes along that really knocks the socks off you – and in this case it might be Forever Still from Denmark. While not a great producer of metal bands at least in terms of volume, this tiny European country does have its names in King Diamond as well as being home to the internationally acclaimed Roskilde Festival. It’s to this legacy that Forever Still add their weight, blending in emo, goth and nu metal into this brilliant sophomore. Formed in 2010 by front woman Maja… Continue reading

Rage Of Light – “Imploder”

Rage Of Light – “Imploder” (Napalm Records) Melody binds to violence. No kidding, it’s been a while since I’ve heard such a bombastic contrast of symphonic melody and death metal brutality meaning that “Imploder” should come with earplugs – along with a box of kleenex tissues! The vision of Jonathan Pellet (gruff vocals, keyboards, synth & drums programming) to combine metal and trance, the foundations of Rage Of Light began over a decade ago before the recruitment of main clean / gruff vocalist Melissa Bonny (Evenmore, Warkings & Ad Infinitium) and Noé Schüpbach (Nodafreth) on all guitars in 2016 with… Continue reading

Bloodbound – “Rise Of The Dragon Empire”

Bloodbound – “Rise Of The Dragon Empire” (AFM Records) Absolutely amazing! Consistently releasing albums since they were formed in 2004, this Swedish band have released 7 prior LPs and played concerts in 25 countries, touring with the likes of Hammerfall, Sabaton and UDO. The brainchild of former Street Talk members Fredrik Bergh (keyboards) and Tomas Olsson (lead guitar), Bloodbound has also included Michael Bormann (Jaded Heart), Urban breed (Tad Morose) and Pelle Åkerlind (Morgana Lefay) in its ranks at various points in its career. Now comes “Rise Of The Dragon Empire” and it’s a complete winner with unbelievable songs throughout,… Continue reading

Battle Beast – “No More Hollywood Endings”

Battle Beast – “No More Hollywood Endings” (Nuclear Blast) Steadily following from its 2015 predecessor, this 5th release from Finnish heavy / power metallers shows they have firmly found their feet both musically as well as a band. With the addition of lead guitarist Joona Björkroth, Battle Beast have at last brushed off the last traces of longtime guitarist and main songwriter Anton Kabanen, although his pop rock metal is still evident in some of the 11 tracks here. However, with all the band now contributing to the song writing, there’s more of a variety with symphonic rock, ballads, stadium… Continue reading

TNT – “Encore Live in Milano”

TNT – “Encore Live in Milano” CD / DVD / Blu-Ray (Frontiers Music) Formed in 1982, TNT are Norway’s first ‘heavy metal’ band, releasing 12 studio LPs and selling around 5 million albums worldwide. While they do have their heavy moments, I’d describe TNT more as a melodic hard rock band, certainly by today’s standards, but that probably matters little to their legion of longtime fans! Since 2015, the band have been on a rollacoaster ride with American vocalist Tony Harnell, whose departures and re-appearances both for logistical reasons and other disagreements finally culminated in a new vocalist, Baol Bardot… Continue reading

Usurper – “Lords Of The Permafrost”

Usurper – “Lords Of The Permafrost” (Soulseller Records) Prepare for decimation – Usurper are back!!! Much to the lamentation of some, while to other roars of euphoria, Chicago’s kings of the underground have returned with their 6th album in “Lords Of The Permafrost”. Still with founders Rick Scythe (guitars) and Joe Warlord (drums), Usurper were formed back in 1992, when extreme metal combining black, thrash, death and heavy metal hadn’t been invented in name, although the style was certainly being fashioned as manifested by the band’s early work, primitive and visceral as it was. Despite folding in 2005 after releasing… Continue reading

Iron Griffin – “Curse Of The Sky”

Iron Griffin – “Curse Of The Sky” (Gates Of Hell Records) Well, if you thought that multi-instrumentalist Oskari Räsänen (who’s also the drummer for Mausoleum Gate) was onto something with his one man heavy metal band when he released his EP two years ago , then prepare yourselves for the wonders of this full blown affair! Taking stock and now expanded to include the astounding vocals of Maija Tiljander, “Curse Of The Sky” is 7 stirring numbers of epic proportions influenced by 70s proto metal, folk and hard rock and rooted in fantasy, swords and sorcery with some medieval twists.… Continue reading

Hell Fire – “Mania”

Hell Fire – “Mania” (RidingEasy Records) Hell Fire began when bassist Herman Bandala moved to San Francisco from Tijuana in the hope of forming a heavy metal band. Since then that dream has become a reality, with Hell Fire on an unstoppable roll following their debut and now onto their 3rd release in “Mania”! The lure of this band is simple: catchy songs played with conviction and most of all, an authentic heavy metal sound that goes right back to the 80s. That’s right, despite being based in the home of (Bay Area) thrash metal, Hell Fire actually go  back… Continue reading

Backyard Babies – “Sliver & Gold”

Backyard Babies – “Sliver & Gold” (Century Media / M-Theory Audio) Winners of 2 Swedish Grammy Awards, touring the world with Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Motorhead, Social Distortion, Velvet Revolver, Alice Cooper and renowned throughout Scandinavia since the 90s for their rock n roll, be it sleaze, punk, glam, whatever – get ready for yet another sleigh ride with Nicke, Dregen, Johan and Peder!!!! With plenty of heart breaking soul to match the fire on the 10 outstanding rockers gracing this 8th release, “Sliver & Gold” was produced by renowned Chips Kiesbye (The Hellacopters, Graveyard, Michael Monroe) and oozes the… Continue reading

Fallujah – “Undying Light”

Fallujah – “Undying Light” (Nuclear Blast) With the departure of co founding vocalist Alex Hofmann in 2017, many wondered where progressive death metal band Fallujah would go to next. Well, in short, they’ve continued to progress! Wasting no time to recruit longtime friend Anthony Palermo, the changes are immediately noticeable from Hofmann’s growl, with Palermo instead preferring screaming to the sound sandpaper on his larynx!! Equally, gone is rhythm guitarist Brian James although co founder lead guitarist Scott Carstairs remains. So what’s the end result? Well, for a start the rhythm section of bassist Rob Morey and Andrew Baird on drums have really… Continue reading