Virgin Steele – “Age Of Consent”

Virgin Steele – “Age Of Consent” REMASTER (Steamhammer / SPV)

Originally released in the late 80s, this was ‘barbarian romantic’ metallers Virgin Steele 4th album although described by vocalist Dave DeFeis as ‘…the one that got away..it was sent out without any promotion or fanfare (and) many people were completely unaware of its existence…’. Given that, DeFeis has gone outta the way this time round to do this album justice by firstly re-mastering all the songs resplendent in two formats: double digipak incl. new booklet with rare photos and new liner notes by David DeFeis; Double digipak incl. new booklet with rare photos and new liner notes by David DeFeis. Continue reading

The 11th Hour – “Lacrima Mortis”

The 11th Hour – “Lacrima Mortis” (Napalm Records)

The 11th Hour is a Dutch/Swedish collaboration between 2 death metal veterans Ed Warby, known mainly for his work as the drummer for Gorefest and Hail of Bullets, and Rogga Johansson, the man behind countless bands such as Paganizer, Ribspreader and The Grotesquery. Together, they made 2009’s doom release of the year in “Burden of Grief”, a bleak concept album about the last days of a man dying from a lung disease. Laden with funeral doom, a morbid sound and contrasted by some of the most beautifully melancholic melodies ever, it was hauntingly captivating. Continue reading

Wolfsbane – “Wolfsbane Save The World”

Wolfsbane – “Wolfsbane Save The World” (www.wolfsbanehms.com)

Famed thru singer Blaze Bayley after he joined Maiden back in the 90s, Wolfsbane had a short if illustrious life of 3 albums before finally impoding in 1994. Now, 17 years on, Blaze has rejoined the original line up and this self produced album of ‘don’t give a fuckery’ is the result – and a fine effort it is too! Engineered by guitarist Jase Edwards, the first real challenge after so long must’ve been of recapturing the band’s classic sound of traditional British rock mixed in with a healthy dose of Brit eccentricity. Continue reading

Anvil – “Strength Of Steel” / “Pound For Pound” / “Worth The Weight”

Anvil – “Strength Of Steel” / “Pound For Pound” / “Worth The Weight” REISSUES (Steamhammer / SPV)

By now this Canadian band need no introduction: having cried welfare thru their 2008 rockumentary “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil” – the highest grossing rock documentary in UK rock history I might add – these guys found a new lease of life and things certainly look rosy with their latest album “Juggernaut Of Justice”. Capitalizing upon this have been the inevitable cash ins and with a mega compilation already being released by Sony, SPV have made a prudent move to re-release (in gate fold colored vinyl no less) Anvil’s 4th, 5th and 6th studio albums. With songs featured in the rockumentary like ‘Toe Jam’ and ‘Mad Dog’, these were crucial albums in what should’ve been Anvil’s career development. Continue reading

Metal For Cancer – “Let’s Unite In Rock”

Metal For Cancer – “Let’s Unite In Rock” (www.metalforcancer.com)

No, it’s not some kinda sick joke: the Metal For Cancer Dragon Slayer All Star Project was founded by Australian based Neo Classical and Power metal musician Richard Ofsoski, after the passing of his wife due to cancer. Being by Cheryl’s side every step of the way and witnessing the battle had a profound effect on Richard, who was determined to do something, and so MFC became his crusade. Harnessing support from Swedish musician Henrik Flyman of Evil Masquerade, the two produced the track ‘Let’s Unite In Rock’, which is very Dio sounding – and what better inspiration could one want, given his association with a similar charitable cause – Hear ‘n’ Aid – in the 80s. With 100% of the proceeds going to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, MFC have produced an excellent song, for a worthy cause, and inspired by a legend. Continue reading

Take The Seven – “Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious”

Take The Seven – “Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious” (www.taketheseven.com)

Kicking off the new year in thankfully mellow style comes this promising band from the heart of England. Essentially playing soft punk pop, the real clincher of TTS are their unashamed melodies and harmonies on tracks like ‘Through The Crossfire’, ‘History Is Written By The Victors’ and ‘Duchess’. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that they are almost AOR, especially in the guitarwork, reminding me a lot of late 80s US bands like Tyketto in those passionate melodies. Despite the heavy sounding titles of their songs, there seems to be an unpretentious, easy going nature to the band in matching their music so TTS offer a lotta promise in the making. Continue reading

AZAGHAL “Nemesis”

AZAGHAL
“Nemesis”
(Moribund)
I have an on/off relationship with Azaghal. There was a time in when I tried following all their releases but somehow I got sidetracked and lost touch with the band. Now it is time to reacquaint with the band. “Nemsis” sounds like the albums I remember from the first time around. This is black metal the very raw and extreme way. More Dark Funeral than Darkthrone but done the Finnish way. Continue reading

BESTIA ARCANA “To Anabainon ek tes Abyssu”

BESTIA ARCANA
“To Anabainon ek tes Abyssu”
(Daemon Worship)
I find it hard to slump together a whole continent’s black metal as one unit with no greater variants on the pallet. USBM seem to be a common denominator in describing a whole country’s collected black metal but within it lies a myriad of sub-genres all its own. Bestia Arcana might be a part of the USBM but trust me that is not the only truth. Bestia Arcana are cold and harsh, like a winter’s night in deepest Alaska. There’s nothing nice about “To Anabainon ek tes Abyssu”, no fancy keyboard arrangements or beautiful female vocals. Continue reading

BLOOD MORTIZED “Bestial”

BLOOD MORTIZED
“Bestial”
(Chaos Records)
Being a Swede I feel a certain pride and joy whenever I come upon a new record by a Swedish band. Especially when a band comes along that makes me think of the Swedish death metal scene of the late 80s/early 90s. A very vibrant and interesting time. Blood Mortized makes me think of early Entombed, Grave and Unleashed all meshed together as one. Continue reading

CALIBER666 “Blood Fueled Chaos”

CALIBER666
“Blood Fueled Chaos”
(Ibex Moon)
Caliber666 are totally new to me. Judging by the promo pictures I’d say they are Swedish. But I’m not too sure and it really doesn’t matter the truth be told. As long as the music is good I don’t care where you come from. Caliber666 are death metal the way Centinex was death metal. Nothing fancy, just deep growls and down-tuned guitars. This is darkness embodied. Continue reading