Written by: Blackie Skulless
Wolf was a blip on the NWOBHM radar that came and went before they really had a shot at any kind of fame. The discography includes one demo in ‘82 and a full-length in ‘84, and that's all she wrote. The latter is what I’m here to discuss, because it’s an incredible gem that was not only overlooked, but also could have been huge if the spotlight was kinder to it. Edge Of The World is the name, and it falls on the warmer edge of the NWOBHM spectrum.
I say “warmer” simply because of its calmer delivery and overly welcoming vocals. The first thing that comes to mind is Def Leppard’s On Through The Night, but with guitars that are way undercooked. Melody dominates the entire disc, with concise vocals that latch themselves onto a vibrant scale of rhythms. I wouldn’t say that there’s much in the vein of mean riffs, but the production gives them a firm ground to reflect back the solid leads. This certainly allows for loads of bounciness, much like the faster but steady picking behind the chorus of “Shock Treatment.”
Written by: Lord Hsrah
It’s time for German heavy metal today, after a long time to be honest, and Elmsfire are here to present their latest offering, Wings of Reckoning. Dusseldorf based quartet Elmsfire have been around since a bit more than two decades and have had their own share of multiple lineup changes over the years, but that hasn't let this machine stop from churning out records, as Wings of Reckoning is their sixth. Frequent lineup shifts saw fellow compatriot band Van Canto singer, Ross Thompson, get enlisted to take care of vocal duties. The only constant that's been in the band is the main core, the heart of the whole group, the guitar duo of Germano and Doro, who not only team up for guitar duties but also split bass duties for the album.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Stryper have made a name for themselves over the decades, and in later years actually took on an even more metallic sound than their earlier glammy roots. That said, the last record God Damn Evil was a huge let-down to me, the first by Michael Sweet and co. that I flat out disliked (“Take It To The Cross” and “Sorry” being the worst offenders). Michael’s latest solo effort Ten from last year was pretty solid, however, and actually gave me better hopes. This brings us to Even The Devil Believes, which is a rather mixed bag.
On one hand, I’m absolutely thrilled that they’ve made a step up from before, despite not reaching the magnitude of Fallen. You can basically sort every song here into one of three categories: sturdy, strong, and rubbish. This also means that the flow is a bit awkward, but easy enough to work with. By “sturdy,” I’m mostly talking about the songs that are exactly what you saw coming. Opener “Blood From Above” is a well-written, heavy banger with strong falsettos thrown in, all polished with a clear production. Truth be told, this approach makes up at least half of the album, which is fine albeit somewhat samey.
Hey! We're a record label now!
SLEEPING VILLAGE RECORD’s inaugural release is a compilation of 10 previously released underground stoner doom tracks, curated--as always--by a highfalutin peasantry. Sleeping Village Caravan of Doom (Vol. 1) is an exhibition of like-minded tracks that balance sludgy heft with an earthy stoner atmosphere. These are songs that would feel at home in the midst of a bog or mire, and we’ve brought them together, drenched in murk and algae, for your gloomy enjoyment.
Rather than simply throwing as many artists as possible into the doomy stew, this compilation seeks to bring together and showcase 10 uniquely stellar bands that compliment each other sonically and aesthetically. While the runtime clocks in at a hefty hour and a half, the roster remains slim so that each band has appropriate time to shine.
Sleeping Village Caravan of Doom (Vol. 1) will be released digitally and available for NYOP on October 2nd, with a preorder going live TODAY for the measly sum of $1. All proceeds from this project will be split evenly between the bands and the label, with any of the Sleeping Village’s cut going to fund further compilations (or a possible physical release!)
TRACKLIST as follows:
Fostermother - Destroyers
Dizygote - Children of Talos
Doomfall - Why Fear the Godless
earthdiver - Blood Moon
Green Hog Band - Machine
Old Horn Tooth - Old Horn Tooth
Stonus - Mania
Jointhugger - I Am No One
Black Road - Radiation
Bog Wizard - Swamp Golem
Huge thanks to the Sleeping Village’s resident Volt Thrower for the assistance and much-needed wisdom in putting this together! Thank you also to the bands, who all deserve your love and affection, and lastly to you, who made the launch of this endeavor from the Sleeping Village’s fertile ground a possibility. Enjoy!
Check out our bandcamp!
Written by: Blackie Skulless
It’s always fun going back and covering albums that never got close to the spotlight, but deserve loads of it. It’s especially fun when all of the promos you’ve gotten in the inbox have been boring as hell, so you’re forced to dig up some old fossils. Enter Saint, a Christian heavy metal act hailing from Salem, Oregon in the ‘80s. They only had two records before splitting and reforming a decade later. Too Late For Living was their second, and most important record dropping in 1988.
Standing out immediately is how close Saint comes to sounding like Judas Priest. Simple rhythm patterns that hook the ear covered in dual guitar attacks make up the base structure, as hoarse but concise vocals with chant-like choruses lift things to new heights. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? What’s even better is how incredibly this thing is produced, particularly with the way the guitar passages have a hint of echo, and stand apart from each other. There’s then room for drums to click harder as well.
Back in April, we ran a very abbreviated review of this album. However, given its prominence--and the prominence of the legacy act in question--it feels deserving of a full writeup. Enjoy! - Ed.
Written by: Beaston Lane
Testament has dealt with many ups and downs throughout the course of their 30-plus year career, but their 13th release continues a hot streak that began with 2008’s comeback record, The Formation of Damnation. Once again, the band showcases their mastery of all things thrash metal, exploring their usual mystical, mythological, and dystopian themes. Longtime fans of Testament will find much to enjoy on this record, but it certainly won’t extend an olive branch to those on the fence.
Regarded as one of the finest thrash metal bands since their 1987 debut, The Legacy, Testament’s exceptional career eventually hit an impasse. After 1992’s The Ritual, the band descended into turmoil, with constantly changing personnel on the three following albums and palpable stylistic shifts. In 2001, Chuck Billy was diagnosed with cancer, effectively putting the band on hiatus until his recovery. Since Testament’s original lineup reunited in 2005, they have joined the ranks of Overkill as one of the most consistent bands in thrash metal, putting out solid records about every four years since 2008. That pattern doesn’t falter in 2020.
Written by: Loveloth
Avast ye dirty landlubbers and hear me tale! Name's Tentaclebeard, cap'n Tentaclebeard, and allow me to blow yer breeches away with this mighty tale of adventure, loot, friendship, and grog--many barrels of it. During me long, scurvy-ridden life I met plenty of folk but naught compare to this group of swashbucklers. Three moons ago, me crew and aye careened near a wee island rumoured to have treasure. 'Twas a hot, dry day, like most in these cursed lands but aye'll never forget the moment we weighed anchor. On the beach, five odd-lookin' lads scurried along after burying something shiny in the sands. Didn't take long before the buggers were caught for me crew is an experienced lot but so were these lads it be turnin' out. Calm as that Tortugan one-eyed drunkard these scurvy dogs were. Even me trusty parrot squawked in anger but even with ol' Bertha yellin' the fivetet remain'd cool, cool as the northern winds up in... arrrr ye get the point. Where was aye?
Aye, 'twas a...blimey, get me some grog laddie, have ye no respect for old sea dogs like yarr's truly? What kind of wenches owns this bilge-sucking tavern anyway, bunch of landlubbers, don't even get me drinks...arrrgh, back to me tale.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Chemicide are an interesting bunch of Costa Rican thrashers. They grew on me a lot because I thought their first album Episodes Of Insanity was incredibly boring and generic. But as they progressed, they got better. Inequality is their third effort, which dropped last year, and I see this as the band finding their sound. They capitalized on blending this aggressive attitude on world injustices and corruption, which made for an awesome outcome.
Part of this growth was figuring out how to utilize repetition for stronger bridges and setting the mood. “Conditioned Liberty” utilizes this with looping solos, pressing harder kicks and lashes to follow that. On the smoother side of things, we also get songs like “Altered Reality” that drive the repetitive licks into a rhythm-dense tune. That then allows room for more vocal clarity, which has such a nasty snarl. This song in particular has a rather steady backbone, so it’s a neat contrast.
Written by: Shane Thirteen
I tend to not read reviews of bands or artists I'm going to review because I don't want the influence of someone else's ideas to be in my head when I'm trying to think of how I feel about a project. That being said, I have no idea what other people are writing about War Cloud. What I can say is that if the words "AMAZING" or "Fucking Fantastic" haven't been used to define them, then that is a low-down dirty shame.
War Cloud hits on so many levels for me. I can take a snap and sink back in my chair and ease into that place in my mind that puts me back into teenage fantasies of being a riff-monster rock star. The guy who lays down the riff that changes the world. To me, War Cloud's Earhammer Sessions is the beginning of my rock and roll fantasy. I'm old. I mean like, I fucking remember the 70's kind of old. This album evokes that old school rock and roll spirit. It takes me back to the days of true rock and roll domination.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Woah man, the usual rate for Haunt dropping releases is one full-length per year, with a complimentary EP to go along with it. But 2020 is different, and considering the amount of shit this year has offered humanity, it’s nice when things are different for the better. Frontman Trevor Church dropped Haunt’s third album Mind Freeze at the beginning of the year--an album of the year contender for sure. But instead of an EP to follow, we get a second full-length under the name Flashback.
Unsurprisingly, this is the cleanest effort the band has dropped to date, especially considering the vocals taking more of the forefront than ever before. I chalk that up to the concise and clear delivery. Additionally, we’re met with a far warmer feeling to contrast the previous record, fitting the summer time feelings, rather than the winter ones of the previous effort. It’s probably safe to say that this is also where Haunt were reaching for more of a pop-metal aesthetic, especially with “Electrified.” The chorus is catchy as hell and somewhat watered down, though it isn’t bad by any stretch of the word. You just can’t ignore the prettier nature and simplistic build.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!