SUMERLANDS - Dreamkiller (Review)
Written by: Blackie Skulless
More often than not, I find it difficult to unearth heavy metal crossed with AOR in recent years that doesn’t reek of old men overproducing something generic that sounds like a cover of an ‘80s song. In the rare instances where this isn’t the case, expectations go beyond being met. Sumerlands nails this latter description. Being on their second album, these Philadelphia heavy metallers have taken what their debut longed to be and made it a reality. This isn’t to say the self-titled record was bad, but Dreamkiller is where the full potential is realized.
Given what we know, you can expect lot’s of metal-oriented riffing that doesn’t really utilize dense distortions or minor keys, but holds onto the rhythmic progressions firmly enough. Shrieking solos, synth-backings, and some of the cleanest singing adds a spacey atmosphere, invoking the feeling of shedding old skin for new enlightenment. Musically, things are ultimately rather light, but the amount of layers allows it to feel full for such a short album. Being only eight tracks, every bit of space is filled to the brim, either taking a steadier approach or a galloping one.
KONQUEST - Time And Tyranny (Review)
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Last year, the Italian traditional heavy metallers Konquest brought forth their debut album The Night Goes On. Channeling a pretty heavy amount of Iron Maiden worship, it was something decently strong, but nothing out of this world. When a young act that sticks to the basics closely hits the scene, it can go one of two ways. Either the band continues with that one trick and gets fine at best, or they take it a step further and make an identity for themselves. Time And Tyranny would see them doing the latter.
So it should be obvious that the Iron Maiden influences are still worn on their sleeves, but with higher levels of originality. As a matter of fact, Konquest reflects the Paul Di’anno days more than anything, and that’s fully realized on this record. A far tighter production is added without overdoing it, the mix is at a point that literally everything can be showcased for proper digestion, and the energy is impactful even on the slower numbers. This is all pretty fantastic at its base, but if that were the only step forward, we could just about end things here with a “this is pretty damn good” and little else to say.
This year, in an attempt to cover more music that would all-too-oft slip through the very large cracks, we're trying something new and novel around these parts. Namely, we're gonna actually publish the little one-off reviews that were previously (and arbitrarily) deemed too short for publication. In that spirit, here's a mini-review of a single worth checking out.
Written by: The Administrator
Watching the growth of Legendarium over the past few years has been a real treat. Each frequent release has been better than the last, which inevitably starts to raise the question: when does upward trajectory stop? When does a plateau in quality become apparent? Not yet, that's for damn sure. The forthcoming Death's Hand In Yours--this year's second full length LP from the band in question--demonstrates Legendarium at their best. It's a varied and confident continued foray into heavy metal. Death's Hand In Yours exists as a glorious homage to the tropes and motifs of the genre at large, and for that reason alone, it presents an absolutely delightful listening experience.
But alas, I am not here today to review the album at large; that can wait. Today's praise is reserved for the mighty "Caelador, Destroyer," the latest advance single. This is a rollicking single if e'er there was, built on the spine of a churning riff and a bounding sense of momentum. The verses carry themselves with a jubilant kineticism that, for all its punkiness, reminds me of a more blatantly heavy evolution of Witch Cross. This bouncy energy is quite engaging, to say the least, and if you're able to crank this track without involuntarily bobbing your head or stomping your foot, I'm not entirely sure how to help. And, lest ye forget, no Legendarium track is complete without a ripping-yet-tasteful solo.
Bottom line? It's a damn strong single. "Caelador, Destroyer" is the kind of no-nonsense heavy metal track that exists and thrives on the basis of its own component parts. No gimmicks required. If you're predisposed to enjoy new Legendarium material, you'll inevitably like this song. If you are unfamiliar, I can only hope that this serves as the portal for further enjoyment.
Give "Caelador, Destroyer" a well-deserved listen below, and consider grabbing a copy of that sweet preorder of Death's Hand In Yours prior to release on December 9th.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.