ESSENZA “Devil’s Breath”

“Devil’s Breath”
When I get an album from an Italian band that is described as alternrock I take notice, and not because it excites me uncontrollably. There is something very alarming when you try to dress up things in clothes that don’t fit the situation. Calling something for what it isn’t do not make it any better. Essenza are as alternrock as I am short. Continue reading

EXMORTIS “Darkened Path Revealed”

“Darkened Path Revealed”
(Necroharmonic Records)
I have no idea how many bands that I’ve lent an ear or two to over the years. Some I don’t even remember any more, others have stayed with me for no apparent reason other than that they must have made an impression. Exmortis I hadn’t lent an ear to for decades before I was contacted about interviewing them. Continue reading


I am not ashamed to say that I didn’t care for Necronomicon back in the 80s. I thought of them as second rate German thrash metal. Why bother with them when I got Assassin, Darkness or Exhumed. Not to mention Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. So I discarded with them and directed my attention at others. Continue reading

RE-ARMED “Worldwide Hypnotize”

“Worldwide Hypnotize”
Lately it feels like the world has been invaded by a new wave of thrash metal bands. Everywhere I turn I step on a new thrash metal band. Not that I’m complaining. I like a really good thrash metal album. I still play my old Forbidden albums while I bang my head uncontrollable. Continue reading


“Power Dive”
If you know me you know that I like female-fronted bands. Voices Of Destiny are a new hopeful band with an album out. Hopeful that they’ll have what it takes to stand out in an ever-increasing market. As if female-fronted bands is a genre all its own. To me what matters isn’t if there is a woman singing but if the music is any good. I don’t care if this is thought of to be the next Edenbridge or if it is supposed to compete with Nightwish. Continue reading

Battle Beast – “Steel”

Battle Beast – “Steel” (Nuclear Blast)

The winners of Wacken Open Air’s 2010 Metal Battle (and not for being the ugliest band in the world – well, that’s what it sez on their Facebook site LOL), things have moved incredibly fast since for this young Finnish band who play contemporary heavy metal influenced by Priest, Accept and Manowar – as well as those 2 inch action figures courtesy of Japanese anime series “Berserk! But what really sets apart BB from the pack are the soaring, powerful femme rock vocals of Nitte Valo, who really sets racy songs like ‘Savage And Saint’, ‘Show Me How To Die’ and ‘Justice And Metal’ on fire! Against this backdrop come thundering in the rest of the band like blizzard beasts and the material takes an epic, almost operatic feel in its magnanimity of incredible solos, hammond organ harmonies and catchy melodies. Lordi may have been tongue in cheek, but BB are just cheeky, so much so in fact, that you find it hard to resist them!

Wolfen – “Chapter IV”

Wolfen – “Chapter IV” (Pure Legend Records)

WOLFEN are METAL. It proudly sez so on their site and this 4th album in their 15 year long career pretty much attests to that. Based in Cologne, these guys have toured with the likes of Annihilator, Kreator, In Flames, Hatesphere, Tankard and many, many more which is probably why they’re not that well known outside their native Germany, simply cos they’re popular enough there. Still, things might change with “Chapter IV” as it’s a damn fine contemporary heavy metal album drawing inspiration from the greats like Maiden and Metallica as well as those they’ve toured with. Offering the full range of material from chopping thrashers like ‘Nefilim’ to fast Metalli-bangers like ‘Unbroken’, this meat n potatoes metal with no frills, choirs or keyboards, only the strength of the musicianship and quality of songs. Truer words couldn’t be spoken on the powerful ballard of ‘Birmingham 6’ – as moving as the injustice of the true to life court case involving six men, wrongfully convicted for an IRA bombing in the 70s. I’m not sure how a band from Germany could relate to this but they clearly have, and in a very deep way, as reflected by the emotional vocals and the charged atmosphere especially in the chorus of ‘…freed at last, after 16 years, freed at last, to the joy of tears….’. Mightily impressive and as such, Wolfen have proving beyond all reasonable doubt that they are ready for the next step into the big league.

Stahlmann – “Quecksilber”

Stahlmann – “Quecksilber” (AFM Records)

If industrial / dance beats sung with a distinct Germanic baritone voice is your thang, then look no further than Stahlmann. Even the name sounds like the deal! Representing the next wave of ‘Neue Deutsche Härte’ pioneered by the likes of Kraftwerk, Die Krupps and Rammstein, it’s a style based on an underlying philosophy all too familiar to Stahlmann: ‘…we follow the mechanics of everyday life and run commands as if we were robots. Only at night, we awake to life and immerse ourselves in a world that is going on in the clubs…’. To that extent, Stahlmann have gone for a more danceable feel this time round to bring some soul into the machine, creating a more accessible and palatable experience with less overwhelming and bludgeoning beats, as well as a better mix of all the instruments including metallic guitar on the Theatre Of Tragedy like ‘Diener’, the futuristic neo of ‘Tanzmaschine’ and the dark, anthemic rock of ‘Am Grundle’. It pretty much works, although this is still by no means club material – not unless its some underground goth / alt fetish club in Berlin or the Slimelight in London LOL!