SPARROWS “Mark Of The Beast: Indoctrination”

SPARROWS
“Mark Of The Beast: Indoctrination”
(-)
I like USBM. Not that it is a stringent genre. All bands I’ve heard that has been labeled USBM have all been pretty different in their approach to what black metal is. Sparrows is my latest foray into this universe. I have great expectations on this. I’m excited to see how they’ve managed to take it a step further, if they have. Continue reading

STAR INSIGHT “My Time is Out”

STAR INSIGHT
“My Time Is Out”
(Inverse)
Another band that is a total blank to me. Another Finnish band to get to know. But that hasn’t been a problem earlier so I don’t see it why it’ll be a problem this time around. When it comes to music I’m pretty adventurous. I got good feelings about this being time well spent. It doesn’t make it easier when there’s no info sheet included and my memory isn’t the best. Continue reading

VRPI “Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni”

VRPI
“Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni”
(Onslaught)
I’ve had this one for some time now but haven’t gotten round to reviewing until now. Don’t know why I’ve procrastinated. Just from seeing the promo material I got a pretty great vibe about this album. If this doesn’t turn out to be a total blast’n’thrash I’ll be mightily disappointed. There are albums that are harder to get to than others. I’ve had this one on my computer for a long time now but never really gotten round to listen to and review it until now. Continue reading

Exxplorer – “A Recipe For Power”

Exxplorer – “A Recipe For Power” re-issue (Pure Steel Records)

Another cult US band back from the dead doing it big time on the true metal circuit following the release of their comeback album ” Vengeance Rides an Angry Horse” in 2011. Exxplorer are an old school heavy metal band with prog n power elements as inspired by Queensryche, Priest and even US rock bands of that time. “A Recipe For Power” was the band’s 2nd album and originally released in the mid 90s as I recollect and contains a real mish mash of hard meets heavy styles on songs like ‘Bible Black’, ‘Smelling The Roses’ and ‘Beg, Borrow And Steel’ from soulful vocals to hard Priest riffing to softer elements using acoustics and even piano – yeah, that’s how it was done back in the 90s boys n girls lol! Re issued as a vinyl-edition (400 black, 100 coloured) with a top-quality gate fold cover, “A Recipe For Power” is another underground true metal opus that has been given a new lease of life to fly in the face of conventionality! Continue reading

Reverence – “When Darkness Calls”

Reverence – “When Darkness Calls” (Razar Ice Records)

Reverence is a Detroit based old school power metal band featuring Todd Michael Hall ( Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, Harlet), Bryan Holland (Tokyo Blade, Arrest), Pete Rossi (Sanxtion,Overland), Steve “Doc Killdrums” Wacholz (founding member of Savatage, Crimson Glory), Ned Meloni (Burning Starr, Funny Money). With that in mind it hardly comes as a surprise that Reverence play blistering heavy metal at an intensity that leaves younger bands in awe and older bands with envy! Soaring, epic HM vocals with a bit of sass chucked in for good measure, motorin’ to the max rhythms and jet fueled twin guitars that chug furiously, squeak and wail orgasmically on headbangers like ‘Phantom Road’, ‘Bleed For Me’ and ‘Devil In Disguise’ – anyone who wants to know what pure heavy metal is about today (or that it even exists – Ed) check out this baby, cos it fuckin rules!!! Continue reading

Apocalypse Warhead – “Opening The Silos”

Apocalypse Warhead – “Opening The Silos” (Inverse Records)

Prepare for Armageddon! This is brutal death / thrash straight from Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” era – no wonder AW gets the thumbs up from messrs Lombardo and Hanneman!! Hailing from Finland, AW is the one man project of Tuukka Laitinen, the former guitarist of the Finnish hardcore/metal legends Rytmihäiriö. Founded in 2001, “Opening The Silos” is actually AW’s debut although it doesn’t come as a surprise when you consider that Laitinen does it all from the vox, guitars and bass as well as the drum programming, not to mention all the music and lyrics to missiles like ‘Cold Cunts Full Of Fire’, ‘Extermination Of Human Life’ and the aptly titled ‘From Hell’. Expect roaring polar bear vocals, insane Hanneman type thrash riffing and a completely out of control drum machine on this mayhemic countdown to extinction for the year! Continue reading

Stone Magnum – “Stone Magnum”

Stone Magnum – “Stone Magnum” (R.I.P. Records)

Stone Magnum are a relatively new stoner / doom band from Michigan who have an ancient sound going right back to Ozzy era Sabbath or Liebling Pentagram – albeit even more insane! Whilst the music is pretty much in that same classic style with heavy fuzz tinged and down tuned guitars, songs like ‘Grave Of Cryptic Sorrows’ and ‘Am I Really Insane’ are also graced with some excellent melodies that should garner respect from fans into Candlemass. But it’s Dean Tavernier’s vocals that truly give us something to think about: always raw, but at times in the wailing Ozzy vein whilst at others more hoarsely sinister and aggressive like on ‘Locksmith Of Misery’ such that when he morbidly drawls ‘..I am the bringer of sorrow…’ you can damn well believe that you don’t want him over for Christmas ha ha! Continue reading

The Addication – “The Addication”

The Addication – “The Addication” (Inverse Records)

Hailing from Finland, The Addication blend chopping thrash a la Puppets or Justice era Metallica with heavy doses of cool warbling melodies in an amazing concoction guaranteed to fire up the frozen wastelands of their homeland! Kenny Jones’s vocals alternate to the beat ranging from soulful to almost trippy to raw rock out as the rhythm section threatens to run amok like a mad moose – that is until the tight n heavy guitars of Hector Jimenez and founder Hank J. Newman kick in with those unbelievably catchy modern melodies like on the irresistible ‘From The Ashes’, ‘My Testament’ and ‘Last Seconds On Earth’. With this in mind The Addication possess some definite stand out qualities that should see this excellent self titled debut garner them more support and real recognition. Continue reading

Mystery Blue – “Conquer The World”

Mystery Blue – “Conquer The World” (Road Show Productions)

Sacre bleu! Mystery Blue are a French HM band from the same era as bands like H-Bomb and Satan Jokers who toured with the likes of Motorhead, Saxon and Def Leppard on the Continent in the 80s. Despite their meteoric rise they succumbed to the all too familiar internal squabbles resulting in a 6 year dormancy. Reactivated by founder guitarist Frenzy Philippon, they have slowly built up their following in the true metal market. Still very much with an 80s HM sound but now with a female vocalist in Nathalie Geyer, Mystery Blue continue in the same dogged style with high end femme vocals, crunching metallic guitars, suave melodies and driving rhythms including double bass drum runs on songs like ‘Cruel Obsession’, ‘Ticket To Hell’ and ‘Guardian Angel’. As one of the originals, the strength of Mystery Blue is that their material still sounds fresh and energetic having been enthusiastically played with a vigor and panache that few bands could equal after all these years! Continue reading

BY THE PATIENT “Premonitions”

BY THE PATIENT
“Premonitions”
(Deathbound)
Lately I’ve come upon more Danish bands than I’ve done in the last two decades. I like it. It means that the Danish metal scene isn’t as dead as it might have seen. In my youth Denmark was the closest pale to go if you wanted to see any great metal bands since most tours stopped in Copenhagen. Continue reading