RAGE OF ANGELS “Dreamworld”

(Escape Music)
RAGE OF ANGELS??? I don’t remember getting sent this one. But then I get sent a lot of stuff and some slips my mind. But that only makes it so much more fun discovering it all over again. This might just prove to be a massive blast of great music. When I hear albums like this I am transported back to the late 80s/early 90s when I was deeply into this kind of hardrock Continue reading

REQUIEM “Within Darkened Disorder”

“Within Darkened Disorder”
I don’t think this is the REQUIEM I think it is. I remember a Belgian band by the same name from the 90s but seeing as it is a great name for a metal band more than one bands have come up with the great idea to use it as a band name. This is a Swiss death metal band that re-releases a 2010 album in a re-mastered format. Being their sixth album they are still new to me. Continue reading

SHANNON “Circus Of Lost Souls”

“Circus Of Lost Souls”
(Mad Association)
OK, I might have hoped for a female solo artist by the name of SHANNON and not a bunch of French dudes but as this is what it is I just have to deal with that. I do expect this to be some very uplifting hardrock. Wouldn’t mind if it is borderline heavy metal. And borderline it might be but for most parts is stays in the right side of hardrock. Continue reading

VARGSHEIM “Erleuchtung”

I’ll admit it. I didn’t get this whole mix of metal and rock’n’roll we saw years ago. I thought it was crap for most of the time. A bad attempt at creating a new trend. I have no idea how mixing folk metal and rock’n’roll will work but I fear the worst kind of stomping your feet and swinging your hips kind of stuff. Continue reading

ZEPHYRA “Kämpaglöd”

Another Swedish act that I had no idea existed before I got sent the latest 6 track record. I try to make it my mission to know about every Swedish band out there but I fail miserably time after time. So much that I soon will give up trying and just admit that there are too many Swedish bands to keep up with them. Continue reading

Hatebreed – “The Divinity Of Purpose”

Hatebreed – “The Divinity Of Purpose” (Nuclear Blast)

When I co promoted these guys back in 1999 for a show, I knew they were destined to take metalcore (or crossover as it was then known) to a new level. Since then, Hatebreed have been bludgeoning and bruisin’ their way across the globe and are a regular festival favorite – their intense moshpit at last year’s Hellfest would attest to that brutality! And that’s just the way it is on this album – old school stomp core that’s right in your face brimming with unbridled HATE. Jamie Jasta’s vocals are still as aggressive and backed up by some cool Biohazard-esque gang shout outs while the chopping mugging guitars of Frank Novinec and Wayne Lozinak – complete with some cheeky Slayer licks – just crank and shank you on songs like ‘Dead Man Breathing’, ‘Nothing Scars Me’ and ‘Before The Fight Ends You’. Backed by Beattie n Byrne’s thug heavy rhythms and a big sound production, this album confirms that Hatebreed’s purpose is to set every arena afire – and they are undisputed gods at that. Continue reading

Dio – “Dream Evil”

Dio – “Dream Evil” 2CD Deluxe (UMC / Mercury)

It’s been just over two and a half years since the passing of Ronnie James Dio, but his legend continues! “Dream Evil” was Dio’s 4th album and released in 1987, featuring newcomers Craig Goldy and Claude Schnell on guitars and keyboards respectively. This deluxe package essentially features the original album – untouched as far as I can tell – complemented by a bonus CD crammed with a coupla singles but more importantly, most of the 1987 Monsters Of Rock set totaling some 11 tracks that span the very best of Dio’s career from the blazing ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ to a crowd chundering ‘Long Live Rock N Roll’ and a simply ripping ‘Neon Nights’ amongst others! If you were at this Castle Donnington show or even the one in ’83 you’ll know what I mean – the man was simply amazing! As far as I can tell the only track missing is ‘Children Of The Sea’, which is of course on the “Dio At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987” album. But if you don’t have that then this is a worthy enough purchase, complete with Wendy Dio endorsed booklet to remember one of rock’s great legends by! Continue reading

Saxon – “Sacrifice”

Saxon – “Sacrifice” 2CD (UDR Records)

‘..less tricks, more power..’ quipped Biff Byford when asked about this 20th album in Saxon’s prestigious history. I’d certainly agree with that as even the title might be a misnomer cos it’s wi’ nowt taken out easily the band’s heaviest album for yonks! “Sacrifice” brings back the raw power of the classic NWOBHM years and commendably crafts them into the epic metal style now more commonly associated with the band. Despite producing the album with Andy Sneap at home in Yorkshire, Biff’s vocals have taken a less up front approach in favour of bringing Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt’s raging twin guitars more to the fore on songs like ‘Guardians Of The Tomb’, ‘Stand Up And Fight’ and ‘Wheels Of Terror’. With Nibbs Carter hammering his bass and Nigel Glockler still faithfully and masterfully pounding those drums (and certainly plenty of cymbal work) this is classic Saxon bar none! If the power of “Sacrifice” wasn’t enough of a shocker then the perfectionist feel to the album, reflecting the experience of Saxon’s 38 year career could no more be better demonstrated by the bonus material made up of re-recorded and acoustic versions of amongst others ‘Requiem’, ‘Frozen Rainbow’ and ‘Just Let Me Rock’ – all given the same top notch treatment and in my opinion a new lease of life. This is how true bonus tracks should be: as value adding extras and not fillers to carry a mediocre album. Only just into the year and out of the blue these bold as brass veterans return with this superb release – and I’m still trying to work out where the ‘sacrifice’ is lol! Continue reading

Coma – “Don’t Set Your Dogs On Me”

Coma – “Don’t Set Your Dogs On Me” (Edel/earMUSIC)

Coma are the biggest commercial rock band in Poland, having sold platinum albums, won numerous awards and played 100s of shows over the last few years. Despite their bleak name, which emanates from their hard early beginnings in the late 90s from the abandoned city of Lodz, Coma play a surprisingly energized and uplifting modern rock mixing the trippy vocals of Eddie Vedder and at times an aggressive jumped up beat akin to Rage Against The Machine! Elsewhere, they mix it up Linkin Park style with moving soft passages and deep melodies on songs like ‘When The Music Is A Flame’, ‘Lion’ and ‘Always Summer’. There’s certainly plenty of appealing variety here and it’s executed well enough to befit their gargantuan stature – not bad coming from a band that was initially passed over by every Polish label – and now with growing popularity in France and Germany are largely being seen as a ‘recession proof’ inspiration that talented dreamers can rise outta the ashes of economic bleakness to make it to the big time! Continue reading

Psychopunch – “Smakk Valley”

Psychopunch – “Smakk Valley” (Steamhammer / SPV)

High energy punk rock n roll from Sweden! I first heard these guys at the turn of the century when they released their kick ass “Bursting Out Of Chuckys Town” and this is their 10th album in their productive 14 year career no less. Mixing together elements of early Dropkick Murphys, The Clash, Johnny Thunders and Hanoi Rocks, rough Joe Strummer like vocals meet crooning harmonies on catchy, boppy singalong songs like ‘Back Of My Car’, ‘Emelie’ and ‘Kick In The Head’. Driven by energy shakin’ guitars that probably still hum even when they’re off, there’s no lacking in the delivery of these powerful melodies amidst a raw rock n roll sound played straight from a rocker’s heart. If you’ve never heard Psychopunch before then grab a copy of this red marble vinyl limited edition gate fold and feel the blood of rock n roll pulsating thru your veins! Continue reading